Restaurant Reviews

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Seasons 52 Scores Seasons 52 Scores
Its butter-deficient, low-calorie cuisine sounds like Paula Deen's private hell
, September 30, 2010
Seasons 52 is the latest ambitious, gimmicky, out-of-state chain to open in OC after True Food Kitchen. Where True Food aligned itself with a... More >>
Zait and Zaatar Goes Beyond the Falafel
[Hole In the Wall] A new Middle Eastern culinary reality has entered Orange County
, September 30, 2010
Forget falafels and hummus, beef shawarma and baklava: A new Middle Eastern culinary reality has entered Orange County. Proof? The entrepreneurs... More >>
Felix Is Doggie-Bag Heaven Felix Is Doggie-Bag Heaven
Orange's Felix Continental Cafe piles on the Cuban specialties
, September 23, 2010
Felix Continental Cafe got a face-lift: They removed the light bulbs that bordered the old street marquee for something a little more tasteful.... More >>
Albatros Is the Best Mexican Restaurant In South County
[Hole In the Wall] This Lake Forest Cal-Mex eatery is worth waiting in line for
, September 23, 2010
The lines! I’ve never experienced lines for an OC Mexican hole-in-the-wall as long as those at Albatros in Lake Forest come lunchtime—stretching... More >>
Myung In Wins Pillow Fight Myung In Wins Pillow Fight
Korean food-court stall produces superior rendition of the steamed bun
, September 16, 2010
You may have eaten bao, the pillowy white Chinese buns usually found three to a basket at dim sum. You may have even ventured to Buena Park’s... More >>
Rick's Atomic Cafe: Office-Park Oasis
[Hole In the Wall] Cooked-to-order bliss under the roar of the John Wayne jets
, September 16, 2010
When you go to visit Rick’s Atomic Cafe, make sure to print out directions: Not only is this dive in a big office park, but the office park is... More >>
Listen for the Ecco Listen for the Ecco
New Italian eatery elevates the Camp from gearhead's hangout to foodie nexus
, September 09, 2010
I waited nearly a year for Ecco to open at the Camp in Costa Mesa. It’s not that I was necessarily looking forward to another Italian restaurant,... More >>
Puffy the Magic Taco
[Hole In the Wall] Arturo's Puffy Tacos may be in Whittier, but La Habra loves it all the same
, September 09, 2010
A couple of weeks ago, I visited Austin to help judge the city’s annual hot-sauce festival. I spent only two days there, yet I ate enough of the... More >>
True Food Kitchen Stays True to Its (Pretentious) Name True Food Kitchen Stays True to Its (Pretentious) Name
The chefs at this Newport Beach eatery let the ingredients speak, and they do so in volumes
, September 02, 2010
I admit it: I had a chip on my shoulder going into True Food Kitchen. What a presumptuous name! Reading the marketing material announcing the... More >>
Tacos Jerez Represents
[Hole In the Wall] Zacatecan specialties make their way onto the menu of this new Huntington Beach eatery
, September 02, 2010
I’ve only had two true culinary dreams in my years covering eateries: the return of Colombian restaurants to OC and a non-birria Zacatecan dive.... More >>
To Find Ngu Binh To Find Ngu Binh
You'll have to go all the Hue
, August 26, 2010
Like the guy at the bottom of a human pyramid, you’ll find Ngu Binh squished into the lower floor of a multilevel building full of Vietnamese... More >>
Double Up at Apollo Burgers
[Hole in the Wall] Another local answer to Five Guys
, August 26, 2010
The big culinary story in Orange County the past couple of weeks has been the debut of Five Guys Burgers and Fries, an East Coast favorite... More >>
'Cue It Up at Beachwood BBQ 'Cue It Up at Beachwood BBQ
Debates over barbecue style aside, this Seal Beach spot has all the right stuff for stuffing yourself
, August 19, 2010
There is no endeavor more futile than debating barbecue. The folks at Beachwood BBQ know this as well as anyone. Recognizing how touchy the... More >>
Home Cooking at Taqueria Zamora
[Hole In the Wall] Is this the most Mexican restaurant in OC?
, August 19, 2010
There’s a certain type of Mexican restaurant that attracts an almost exclusively Mexican audience—not the much-debated “authentic” Mexican dive... More >>
The Feast Days of Summer The Feast Days of Summer
And Winter and Fall and Spring! Where to eat, drink and be merry during the most important holidays
, August 12, 2010
Every day is a holiday for someone somewhere in this world—did you know, for instance, that Aug. 12, the day this issue hits newsstands and the... More >>
Ahab-Approved Ahab-Approved
Huntington Beach's Fish Camp would be beloved by Melville's star
, August 12, 2010
At my count, there are now four seafood restaurants where PCH cuts through Sunset Beach. Here, in a neighborhood largely ignored by the tourist... More >>
Russian Gourmet's Dumplings of the Czars
[Hole In the Wall] Go to the Lake Forest grocer/eatery for the the pelmenis, stay for the cookies
, August 12, 2010
“Can I get the pelmeni?” I asked a gentleman at Russian Gourmet, the second Russo-centric eatery in the county.“You can,” he replied, “but it’s... More >>
Huitlacoche at the Ritz-Freakin'-Carlton? Huitlacoche at the Ritz-Freakin'-Carlton?
Raya chef Richard Sandoval dares to go there
, August 05, 2010
The views are exhilarating: That much you should already know about Raya, the new restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. To get a more... More >>
Oh Those Donuts Are Glazed to Perfection
[Hole In the Wall] The Costa Mesa institution stands as a calorie-busting exception
, August 05, 2010
Lost in the foodie hubbub over cupcake this and pan dulce that is the doughnut: the unassuming, fat-producing pastry of 3 a.m. fryings and black... More >>
Hotel California Hotel California
Garden Grove's TusCA is a notch above the typical hotel restaurant
, July 29, 2010
Sometimes, buzz about a new restaurant spreads organically by word of mouth. Other times, it’s manufactured by savvy PR people. If you’ve heard... More >>
Hog Heaven At BBQ World
[Hole In the Wall] Comforting Little Saigon butchery offers meat, meat, meat, meat, meat
, July 29, 2010
As Little Saigon refurbishes itself—as new, hip, non-Vietnamese restaurants run by the second generation open and landlords spruce up tired... More >>
Your Essential OC Happy Hour Guide Your Essential OC Happy Hour Guide
Where to go for the best deals and drinks
, July 22, 2010
Hmm. The happy hours feature on our food blog is called “Drunk After Work,” and the print headline of this list of OC’s most alluring weekday... More >>
We've Got an App for That
, July 22, 2010
Technology has improved nearly every aspect of our life, and now, at long last, it has been applied to mankind’s greatest venture: the search for... More >>
Mother's Market Explains It All Mother's Market Explains It All
Baffled by soyrizo and seitan? Not anymore!
, July 22, 2010
Founded in 1978 by people “who practiced yoga together”—which might just be another way of saying “hippies”—this Costa Mesa natural-foods market... More >>
Cooling Off At Mariscos Mocorito
[Hole In the Wall] Orange's new Sinaloan dive helps you attain an aguachile summer
, July 22, 2010
What is it with great Mexican seafood restaurants picking horrible locations in Orange? The second location of Ostionería Bahía continues to live... More >>
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Eureka! It's a Burger Discovery Eureka! It's a Burger Discovery

If I told you that you can have a burger and beer at Eureka! (their exclamation point, not mine), the new restaurant in Huntington Beach's Bella Terra, that'd be enough,… More >>

Sahuayo Primo Offers Pig By the Pound

They sit there at Sahuayo Primo in SanTana all the time: golden sheets or strips of chicharrones, fried morning, noon and night, slowly baking under hot lamps. The stacks of… More >>

Wei Shian: A Noodle By Any Other Name Wei Shian: A Noodle By Any Other Name

If you happen to find yourself slurping braised beef noodle soup in Irvine, you're likely in a Taiwanese restaurant. The big names in town—A & J, Lao Dong, Chef Hung—are… More >>

Burrito Madness at Paul's Famous Burgers

California is America's burrito empire, from the Mission cylindrical god of San Francisco to San Diego's California burrito to the Inland Empire's garbage burrito, which I described to a friend… More >>

Samurai Burrito: The Subway of Sushi Samurai Burrito: The Subway of Sushi

Do you turn up your nose at those sushi bar Know-Nothings who would make a thick, creamy sludge out of their soy sauce and wasabi? Do you know what brand… More >>

Ellie's Table At North Beach: A Line of Good

Don't mind the sign near the entrance of Ellie's Table At North Beach that says, "Line Starts Here." Actually, scratch that: If there is a line, follow it. But in… More >>