¡Ask a Comida Critic! Great Italian in Northern OC?

From a couple of weeks ago:

This is going to sound like a ridiculously stupid (and simple)
question but I'm yearning to find a good, authentic, and possibly cheap
Italian restaurant in north Orange County (near or in Fullerton). Can
the Mexican help me where the Yelp Gods have failed?

Firstly, Yelp has no gods–only crazy kids. Fullerton, of course, has the birthday-trap Angelo's
and Vinci's,
a fun place to eat if you're a kid but with high
prices and middling entrees. Roman
is better, but too trendy–and the last time we recommended
the place, I received a phone call from a woman claiming she was the
mother of the founders of the place and that they had ripped off her recipes. CRAZY…


I've always enjoyed Renaissance Bistro in Brea–toothsome pastas with flourishes thrown in, nothing too fancy or pricey but not that cheap, either–but that owes more to nostalgia of too many failed second dates than anything. My advice is to head to Anaheim, Orange County's dining capital, and partake of the city's old Italian-American guard. The Sal behind Sal's Bit of Italy isn't there anymore, and old-timers claim the quality has gone downhill since, but how can you go wrong with massive pies? Your yen for big subs and groceries finds satisfaction at Cortina's, nearing its 50th anniversary. And Luigi's D'Italia has not only advertised in the St. Boniface Catholic Church weekend bulletin my entire life, their tremendous spaghetti plates has fed many a Mexican family for days.

I still maintain, though, that one of the county's best Italian-American restaurants is Rufino's Ristorante Italiano–on the edge of Little Arabia, across the street from Sri Lankan, Peruvian, Chinese, and Mexican restaurants, where a husband-and-wife team has tended fort for decades, and the portions are as large and luscious as the zaboombas on the portrait of Sophia Loren hanging on the wall. Other cities in northern Orange County also have good Italian restaurants–Cypress, in particular, for some bizarre reason given it's, you know, Cypress–but you wanted proximity to Fullerton, gentle reader, and ya got it!

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