Restaurant Reviews

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Pandor Artisan Boulangerie & Café Is the Bread Winner Pandor Artisan Boulangerie & Café Is the Bread Winner
This Newport Beach bakery brings out obscure French pastries and tried-and-true favorites
, August 30, 2012
Have you ever heard of a Tropézienne? It's the missing link between sandwich and dessert. On first glance, it looks like a flat, unfrosted... More >>
Danger Dawgs: Bacon-Wrapped Bueno
[Hole In the Wall] Kathy Hernandez runs this Costa Mesa cart solo
, August 30, 2012
Kathy Hernandez is a slight woman, the kind of gal you figure sits behind a desk for a living and spends weekends getting pedicures. Yet she... More >>
The Mein Event: OC's Best Noodles The Mein Event: OC's Best Noodles
Noodles, noodles everywhere, from pho to pad Thai and everything else
, August 23, 2012
When doing a cover story about noodles, the first thing you need to do is get rid of all the bad headlines that quickly pop into your... More >>
Feast On Urban Kitchen Grill & Wine Bar's Suburban Splendor Feast On Urban Kitchen Grill & Wine Bar's Suburban Splendor
Head for this indie among Foothill Ranch's land of chains
, August 23, 2012
There are still some of us in OC who can't locate Foothill Ranch on a map, or we think there's nothing there besides row after row of squat... More >>
Eggroll King: Love, Chinese-American Style
[Hole In the Wall] Check out the orange chicken at this Huntington Beach strip-mall gem
, August 23, 2012
Despite this county's bounty of regional Chinese restaurants, at which eaters can gorge on Mongolian hot pots, preserved eggs, beef dishes packed... More >>
The Corner Is HB's New Hot Spot The Corner Is HB's New Hot Spot
Former Kimera Chef and French Laundry alum Chris Grodach opens his own restaurant
, August 16, 2012
If you walked into the Corner cold, you'd swear the place was a dive bar. It's barely lit or decorated, and it reeks of spilled beer and alcohol.... More >>
Mariscos El Pescador: A Snail's Grace
[Hole In the Wall] This Santa Ana lonchera is the only place in OC that sells the spectacular sea snail
, August 16, 2012
The lonchera version of a clustertruck occurs every day on the corner of Bishop and Main streets in Santa Ana, where a parade of Mexican food... More >>
Juliette Kitchen and Bar: A New Tradition Juliette Kitchen and Bar: A New Tradition
Former Filling Station owners John Hughes and Hyun-Sook (Juliette) Chung take over where Pascal Olhats left off
, August 09, 2012
Not long after Pascal Olhats closed his 24-year-old flagship restaurant, Tradition, news came that another Frenchman, Christophe Eme of LA's... More >>
Van's Restaurant Is Off the Wall
[Hole In the Wall] This Little Saigon classic makes the best bánh xeo around—just prepare to get messy
, August 09, 2012
Van's Restaurant is the Vietnamese version of a greasy-spoon diner, the type of place parents would force their kids to go and now take their... More >>
Izakaya Ku Plays With Fire Izakaya Ku Plays With Fire
This Fountain Valley restaurant resorts to pyrotechnics in a crowded market of Japanese pubs along Brookhurst Street
, August 02, 2012
According to Izakaya Ku's menu, the mackerel dish would be seared tableside. But I didn't expect the waiter to show up with a hand-held... More >>
Mangi Con Amore Is a Fellini Fantasy Come True
[Hole In the Wall] This Laguna Niguel restaurant makes great Italian food in an office park
, August 02, 2012
Mangi Con Amore looks, feels and sounds as though it's an imposter. A checkercloth-style Italian restaurant in Laguna Niguel. Owner Stella... More >>
Lola Gaspar: The Santa Ana Redemption Lola Gaspar: The Santa Ana Redemption
The downtown hipster haven finally grows up and becomes the restaurant we hoped it'd be
, July 26, 2012
Gustavo Arellano first wrote about Lola Gaspar four years ago, when our food blog was still young and the restaurant had just opened. He weaved a... More >>
KoKo Chicken and BBQ Is a Better KFC
[Hole In the Wall] This Buena Park Korean pub makes the best fried chicken in Orange County
, July 26, 2012
Slowly but surely, Orange County is learning the superiority of Korean ways. We've already assimilated kalbi tacos; the Korean spas, where old... More >>
Roe Your Boat to Roe Restaurant Roe Your Boat to Roe Restaurant
McKenna's former chef opens a new seafood restaurant on Belmont Shore
, July 19, 2012
Though it's called Roe Restaurant & Fish Market, don't expect much on the restaurant front because that part isn't quite ready. For now, what... More >>
Savori Is the Next Burger Generation
[Hole In the Wall] This Fountain Valley restaurant shows what happens when Vietnamese kids get into the burger business
, July 19, 2012
Starting this Monday on our Stick a Fork In It blog, Edwin, Dave, Shuji and I will conduct our Game of Burgers, a 32-burger free-for-all in which... More >>
Mare Culinary Lounge Is the Pixar of OC Italian Mare Culinary Lounge Is the Pixar of OC Italian
Alessandro Pirozzi has his fourth smash in a row with this Laguna Beach hotspot
, July 12, 2012
I knew I was in for a good meal at Mare Culinary Lounge in Laguna Beach, but I didn't expect to find one of the best dishes I've ever had. The... More >>
MaDee Thai Kitchen Is the Lou Gehrig of Thai Cooking
[Hole In the Wall] This Costa Mesa restaurant stays with the safe to be great
, July 12, 2012
Of all the categories of ethnic restaurants, Thai eateries tend to be the most beautifully decorated: Every one seems to host paintings of... More >>
Woo-hoo for Wahoo's Fish Taco! Woo-hoo for Wahoo's Fish Taco!
OC's homegrown empire opens its latest, largest location in Huntington Beach
, July 05, 2012
There's a certain cynicism that a restaurant invites when it grows up and starts franchising. It's almost as if having street cred and being a... More >>
Potzol den Cano Has Querétaro Power
[Hole In the Wall] This Santa Ana restaurant is the first outpost of a Mexican chain devoted to pozole—but there's much more
, July 05, 2012
Ever heard of Querétaro? It has next-to-no name recognition in Orange County, unlike so many of the other Mexican states: no mass migration to... More >>
Sit Like a Shogun at Honda-Ya Sit Like a Shogun at Honda-Ya
The Tustin haunt brings its formidable brand and izakaya food to Fullerton
, June 28, 2012
The first Disneyland fans to walk into Disney World when it opened in 1971 might have had the same feeling I had eating at the new Honda-Ya in... More >>
Al-Omda Lets You Eat Like an Egyptian
[Hole In the Wall] This Garden Grove restaurant is just the second place in OC to serve Egyptian food
, June 28, 2012
Anyone who thinks the cuisine of the Middle East is uniformly healthy—the freshness of tabbouleh, the lightness of hummus and babaghanoush, the... More >>
Mongolian Hot Pot Counting Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot Counting Sheep
The Little Sheep chain introduces the Chinese fad to Irvine
, June 21, 2012
I can't imagine a more Chinese way to eat right now in OC than dipping your chopsticks into a Mongolian hot pot at Little Sheep in Irvine. This... More >>
Canton Restaurant Likes it Hot
[Hole In the Wall] This Little Saigon classic specializes in scalding porridges and sizzling fish
, June 21, 2012
Everything at Canton Restaurant is hot in one way or another, literally or figuratively—and both in almost all cases. One of the dac biets (house... More >>
Slapfish Truck Stops Here Slapfish Truck Stops Here
The former luxe lonchera goes brick-and-mortar but is just as great
, June 14, 2012
Have you had an oyster from Carlsbad Aquafarms yet? Grown not more than an hour's drive from OC, in the briny Pacific coastal waters of the town... More >>
Ole Spain Delishop Is Beyond Spanish Rice
[Hole In the Wall] This Santa Ana strip-mall delight offers Spanish dishes and sausages—and the cheese!
, June 14, 2012
Santa Ana is rightfully known as one of the most Latino big cities in the United States, the type of place where a simple request for Mexican... More >>
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Little La Lune: Over the Moon Little La Lune: Over the Moon

Little La Lune is located on an unpretty part of Pacific Coast Highway, in a strip mall with less than 10 parking spots—and they're all taken. But stay in your… More >>

Il Barone Bottega: Third Wave Italian

Il Barone, in that section of Newport Beach near John Wayne Airport that's basically a laid-back Irvine, is great old-school Italian, the kind of place you take the in-laws to… More >>

O'Neill's Breakfast of Champagne O'Neill's Breakfast of Champagne

"Would you like a mimosa or champagne?" the server asks as you're seated at O'Neill's Bar & Grill inside the Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo. "A mimosa, please," you… More >>

Front Porch Pops: Just Lick 'Em

So . . . I'm getting married soon. I've picked some of my favorite businesses to help out with the catering—Taco Maria's Carlos Salgado and Roland Rubalcava to do aguachile… More >>

Santa Ana Revival at the North Left Santa Ana Revival at the North Left

The North Left is what replaced the Crosby, which closed abruptly earlier this year in the wake of a tragic beating death that occurred outside its doors. But for all… More >>

Tamarindo Truck: Maestro de Meats

Tamarindo Truck doesn't need this review. It's already a popular luxe lonchera, finding a loyal following with its twists on Mexican food using organic produce and meats. I've delayed reviewing… More >>