Ten Essential OG, Non-Hipster Santa Ana Restaurants

You really can't miss this truck.
You really can't miss this truck.
The Mexican-in-Chief

We know. You toast at Little Sparrow, you quaff at Good Beer, you sip at Eqeko, you gorge at the Playground. Downtown SanTana makes for one hell of an upscale pub crawl, but sometimes it feels like the beardos in their selvedge denim and Red Wings that have never seen a construction site from inside the fence are taking over.

Well, here's your guide to the top ten eleven O.G., non-hipster spots, and since we're talking Santa Ana, we're mostly talking Mexican. This is just the tip of the iceberg--we could do a whole month's worth of Best Of Best Of Best Of! on O.G.S.A. alone.

1. Alebrije's Cubbon between Main and Sycamore, Santa Ana; 714-655-3253

THE taco acorazado!EXPAND
THE taco acorazado!
Dave Lieberman

We've been lauding Alebrije's for so long one of our reviews is printed on the side of the truck, next to an OC Register review from the time when their food reviews didn't concentrate on French fries. We've been beating the drum of the taco acorazado, the best $4 lunch in the county, since Gustavo first reviewed it in 2009. But there's much more at this outpost of Chilangolandia (Mexico City, northern version); try the picaditas or the quesadilla con hongos.

2. Las Brisas de Apatzingán 1524 S. Flower St., Santa Ana; 714-545-5584

Pozole verde awaits inside...
Pozole verde awaits inside...
OC Weekly

Pozole. You can get other michoacano specialities here, like sweet-corn huchepos, but no, everyone comes here for the pozole, three kinds. Pozole rojo is the red pozole you're used to; pozole güero (white), and pozole verde, which is the best of the three. Sure, it's in a crusty parking lot, and the building needs updating, but the food is what draws everyone here.

3. La Cemita Poblana 519 S. Main, Santa Ana; 714-664-0892

Now that's a sandwich.
Now that's a sandwich.
Dave Lieberman

Every time I go to La Cemita Poblana, I order the same thing: cemita de milanesa de res, con chipotle y quesillo, sin pápalo. And every time without fail, one of the other customers stares and asks where I learned about cemitas. Well, one bite of the huge, sesame seed-studded sandwich and you'll understand; creamy avocado; salty, milky cheese; spicy, smoky chile chipotle; crunchy fried steak. It blows Subway's $6 sandwiches straight out of the water.

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