OCFoodList’s Top 30 Restaurants in Orange County

OCFoodList’s Top 30 Restaurants in Orange County!

OCFoodList brings you the top restaurants in Orange County. This list comes in no particular order and includes Fast Casual, Hole in the wall, Gastropub, Sushi, Fine Dining, you name it.  Our main criteria for making the list by far is flavor; Who doesn’t want mouth watering, unforgettable, slap your mama because its so delicious food, but we are also keeping in mind creativity, service, environment and concept.  Included are also OCFoodList’s recommendations of what to order.  By all means we haven’t been to every restaurant in Orange County so let us know if we missed anything or what your thoughts are.  We want to thank all the restaurants on our list and also honorable mentions, thank you for serving Orange County and sharing your delicious creations.  Make sure to visit these restaurants and tell them  OCFoodList sent you.  Love, Peace and Chicken Grease!

Key: $ – 5-10, $$ – 10 – 20, $$$ – 20 – 45 $$$$ – 45-up (per person)

 

  1. Din Tai Fung $$ – Costa Mesa – Din Tai Fung is acclaimed for their Soup Dumplings worldwide. They have been named as a Top 10 restaurant in the world by New York Times and their restaurants have received a Michelin Star.  Enough about the accolades, Din Tai Fung has some remarkably good Xia Long Bao (Steamed Soup Dumplings) but they also have delicious Wontons in Spicy Sauce and Noodles with Sesame Sauce.  Rumor has it they take reservations now…finally!

http://dintaifungusa.com/

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  1. The Playground $$ – Santa Ana – Their menu changes everyday providing maple glazed pork chops, The Playground Burger, Sticky Toffee Pudding and an extensive craft bear selection. They also offer their take on regional dishes including Thai Khao Soi Noodles and Japanese Ramen Noodles which can cause cravings, days after. The Playground originally started as a Food Truck, and look how far they have come #StartedFromTheBottomNowWe Here

http://playgrounddtsa.com/

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  1. Ohshima Japanese Cuisine $$$ – Orange – Best sushi in Orange County for taste and price value, hands down.  Omakase is amazing and fish selection from around the world is unparalleled in OC. Most Sushi restaurants have a board with their daily specials that include about 10 fresh fish of the day, Ohshima has a list of about 30 fresh fish listing the country of origin from around the world. Make sure to make reservations because this is a small restaurant and it can get packed on any day.  Did I mention you can only call to make a reservation from 5:00-5:30 each day, good luck.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/ohshima-japanese-cuisine-orange-3

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  1. Ritter’s Steam Kettle Cooking $$ – Santa Ana and Huntington Beach – New Orleans cooking doesn’t get any better than this in Orange County. You have to try their House Special Pan Roast and Maple Bacon wrapped Shrimp.  Sit at the counter to view the steam kettles in action.

http://rittersskc.com/

 

  1. Le Diplomate $ – Irvine – Le Dip is a Small French sandwich shop located in the UCI Center. They serve fresh French bread, Vietnamese and French Sandwiches and Smoothies. Try the amazing Garlic Chicken Sandwich, but pretty much every sandwich is on point.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/le-diplomate-cafe-irvine

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  1. Cucina Alessa $$$ – Huntington Beach and Newport Beach – Cucina Alessa has some killer pasta, a offers a great dining experience at every location. Ask for the Charcuterie plate (off the menu) from your server and the Tortellini with Braised Short Ribs and Walnut Porcini Cream Sauce might be the best tasting pasta in Orange County.

http://cucinaalessarestaurants.com/

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  1. Gabbi’s Mexican Food – $$ – Orange – When you want a nice Mexican sit down restaurant sometimes it can be hard to find among all the fast casual Mexican offerings, Gabbi’s fills that void. Gabbi Patrick takes her twist on traditional Mexican recipes integrating Modern Gastronomy. Try the Enchiladas Suizas and Puerco Poc-Chuc.

http://www.gabbipatrick.com/gabbis-mexican-kitchen/

 

  1. Houston’s $$$- Irvine – Houston’s is considered an American Steakhouse but it is so much more.  This place is great for a business lunch, happy hour or large gathering. Hawaiian Ribeye and Smoke Salmon Appetizer are amazing but their French Dip, Prime Rib, Sushi and Salads are all exceptional as well.

http://www.hillstone.com/houstons/

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  1. Taco Maria $$$$ – Costa Mesa – Taco Maria has been receiving accolade after accolade; Best New Chef 2015, Best Restaurant 2015 and #2 on Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants List just to name a few. They have a great Prix Fixe Menu as well as A la carte options.

http://www.tacomaria.com/

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  1. Marche Moderne $$$ – Costa Mesa – Marche Moderne offers high End French Dining that isn’t too pretentious.  Their 3 course lunch for $25.00 is a great value.  This place made me fall in love with Roasted Bone Marrow and they have an amazing Roasted Spanish Octopus.

http://www.marchemoderne.net/

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  1. Garlic & Chives $$ – Garden Grove – If you want high quality food for a fraction of the price you got to give Garlic & Chives a try. It is a hidden gem offering Vietnamese fusion and providing flavors that will be new to seasoned foodies. They have some interesting dishes ranging from Fried Salmon Belly, Pomelo Salad and Garlic Noodles with Prawns.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/garlic-and-chives-garden-grove-2

 

  1. Broadway By Amar Santana $$$$ – Laguna Beach – Be ready for a great fine dining experience, every dish I have tried there was tantalizing.  Zagat also rated them best service of any restaurant in Orange County. Amar Santana also recently was the runner up on the hit TV show Top Chef, in my opinion he should have definitely won.

http://www.broadwaybyamarsantana.com/

 

  1. Sabroso! Mexican Grill – $ Garden Grove – Sabrosa! is a traditional Mexican restaurant offering Soups, Salads, Tacos, Burritos, Tortas and Seafood. They were featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. They have an interesting Sabroso Bean Dip that you cannot stop eating as well as delicious Fish and Shrimp Tacos.

http://sabrosomexgrill.com/

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  1. Ramen Yamadaya $$ – Costa Mesa – A bowl of hot steaming noodles is great comfort food and Ramen Yamadaya offers a wide variety of great Ramen, Gyoza, Fried Rice and Chicken Karaage. Order their Yamadaya Ramen with Yamadaya topping and you won’t leave disappointed.  Don’t forget to ask for extra Garlic on the side.

http://ramen-yamadaya.com/

Ippudo

  1. Rance’s Chicago Pizza $$ – Costa Mesa – You don’t have to go all the way to Chicago to get deep dish pizza.  Order their Best Seller and add Pepperoni.  Make sure to order ahead or call it in because it takes 40 minutes to bake these dense pies.

http://www.rancespizza.com/

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  1. Brodard Restaurant $$ – Garden Grove – Brodards has the best Pork Spring Rolls outside of Vietnam with an amazing dipping sauce.  The Nem Nuong Cuon (Grilled Pork Spring Roll) is a must but also try their Bo Luc Lac (Shaken Beef) and Spicy Thai Pho for an interesting twist on Pho.

http://www.brodard.net/Home/

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  1. North Italia $$ – Irvine – North Italia servers handmade Northern Italian food from scratch daily. It is the new hot spot in South OC. The Truffle Garlic Bread is amazing and you can’t go wrong with their pastas including Bolognese, Short Rib Radiatori and Strozzapreti.

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http://www.northitaliarestaurant.com/

  1. The Smoking Ribs $$ -Garden Grove – When you think of BBQ, Kansas, Texas and Tennessee come to mind but not Garden Grove. This place offers juicy, tender and flavorful BBQ at reasonable prices and you don’t need a plane ticket to the Midwest.  When you see the grill master is Vietnamese it can be surprising but Kenny Tran definitely knows what he is doing with these smoked meats.  Their Pork Ribs are my go to but the Beef Ribs and Angus Beef Short Rib hold their own along with their offerings of sides like Twice Baked Potato and Mac & Cheese.

http://thesmokingribs.com/

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  1. Peter’s Gourmade Grill $$ – Tustin – Peter’s used to be located in a Gas station, then they moved to a bigger location and then they expanded.  Peter offers one of the best burgers in OC, the ABC Burger (Avocado, Bacon and Cheese) and the Gyro Fries can rival Mexican Carne Asada Fries. Legend has it if you look on their wall in the dining room they have a framed article by OCFoodList.

http://www.gourmadegrill.com/Welcome.html

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  1. 85 Degrees Bakery Cafe $ – Irvine, Garden Grove, Buena Park and Fullerton – is a self serve bakery serving baked goods, pastries, breads, cakes and drinks.  Be ready to wait in line but grab as much Taro Bread, Ink Stick, Garlic Bread, Blueberry Cream Cheese, Mochi Tarts, Brioche, Sea Salt Coffee and Peach Green Tea as you can. Keep checking back because their master bakers are coming up with new creations all the time.

http://www.85cafe.us/

  1. San Shi Go $$$$ – Newport Beach – Make sure to go to the Newport Beach location.  High end Sushi and their Omakase is one of a kind featuring both sushi and cooked dishes with beautiful presentation. Parking is scarce on the Peninsula so plan ahead.

http://www.okidoki345.com/locator/345-newportbeach/

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  1. Kaju Tofu Restaurant $ – Garden Grove – Soon Doo Boo (Soft Tofu Soup) and Kalbi are the name of the game here.  Soon Do Boo is Korean comfort food that has been warming bellies for over 20 years at Kaju. Choose any type of Soon Doo Boo to your liking but try their new Galbi Soon Doo Boo and did I mention unlimited Ban Chan (small appetizers).

http://www.kajutofugardengrove.com/

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  1. Pizzeria Mozza $$$- Newport Beach – Mario Battali and Nancy Silverton’s Pizza restaurant (Mario is an iron chef need I say more).  They have unique pizza toppings including Squash Blossoms, Speck, Goat Cheese, Mozzarella Di Bufala. Fennel Sausage  and Fried Eggs.  They also offer Antipasti, Charcuterie and Pasta.

http://newportbeach.pizzeriamozza.com/

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  1. Pueblo $$$ – Costa Mesa – Pueblo offers Tapa style dining which is pretty much the best way to eat. They offer Spanish style small plates with their own twist. Their must try dishes are the Squid Ink Paella and Montadito de Costilla – Short Rib Crudo.  It is a great spot for a date or to eat with a group of friends on their patio.

http://www.pueblotapas.com/

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  1. Annapoorna $$ – Irvine – Annapoorna offers Indian food at its finest.  Their Chicken Tikka Masala and Garlic Naan are ridiculous. The Lunch buffet is an awesome value for $10. I still can’t find a better Tikka Masala in Orange County.

http://miannapoorna.com/

 

  1. Mama D’s Italian Kitchen $$ – Great food and awesome service sum up Mama D’s. You will remember how friendly their staff is after visiting. Their Pink sauce if off the hook and you can order it with any pasta.  Make sure to come early because it can get crowded.  Yelp rated Mama D’s best “Italian Restaurant in America.”

http://www.mamadsnewport.com/

 

  1. Kareem’s Restaurant $ Anaheim – Is a family owned restaurant that has been passed down a generation to none other than Kareem himself. You can taste the love in their food and their Falafel and Hummus is unmatched. They also offer a Falafel mix which is also sold in nearby stores.

https://kareemsfalafel.wordpress.com/

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  1. Nick’s Laguna Beach $$ – Laguna Beach – A solid restaurant serving American classics where everything they serve is a standout dish.  Memorable dishes are the Fried Bacon Deviled Eggs, Prime Rib Dip, Nick’s Rib Eye Melt, Asparagus Fries, Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Warm Butter Cake.

http://nicksrestaurants.com/nicks-laguna-beach/

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  1. Shinobu Shabu $$ – Westminster – Shinobu Shabu offers Japanese hot pot consisting of meat and vegetables cooked tableside. They have high quality protein options including Beef Ribeye, Beef Shortrib, Pork Tenderloin, Chicken, Salmon and Shrimp. It is the only Shabu Shabu restaurant that can accommodate parties of 6 or more easily on a large table, since most Shabu restaurants only offer bar seating.  They also offer a Signature Asian Funnel Cake.

http://www.shinobushabu.com/

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  1. Cali Poke $ – Irvine – Poke is all the rage nowadays and Cali Poke offers some of the best in the business. All things considered Cali Poke offers a wide selection of fresh fish, great toppings at no additional fee, great sauces and reasonable prices. I always said I could eat Poke everyday and now I actually do.

http://cali-poke.com/

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Honorable Mentions:

 

Chicken Maison $ – Santa Ana – Provides healthy Mediterranean Cuisine and their Spicy Lemon Garlic Rotisserie Chicken can’t be beat.  Don’t forget to ask for extra Garlic Sauce.

http://www.chickenmaison.com/

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Mo Ran Gak $$ – Garden Grove – High Quality Korean BBQ including combination plates with Shorts Ribs, Rib Eye Steak and Brisket.  They offer a Spicy Buckwheat Noodle soup that is so refreshing while eating Korean BBQ, it is a must try.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/mo-ran-gak-restaurant-garden-grove

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Uroko Café $ – Costa Mesa – Great Poke, great sauces, great prices, its all great.  Plus they have a huge dining area so there is never a problem finding a table during the lunch or dinner rush.

http://www.urokocafe.com

The ARC Restaurant Food & Libations $$ – Costa Mesa – Serves rustic dishes on cast iron skillets and wooden platters.  They offer a mouth busting burger along with other entrées and sharable options.

http://www.arcrestaurant.com/

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The Halal Guys $ – Costa Mesa – You got to give The Halal Guys props for bringing their food over from NYC finally.  Chicken, Gyro and Rice slathered in White Sauce enough said.

http://thehalalguys.com/

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Bosscat Kitchen and Libations $$ – Newport Beach – Southern food, great brunch and wide selection of whiskeys.  Come here for a cocktail or order the Bosscat Burger to satisfy that hamburger craving.

http://www.bosscatkitchen.com/

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Subculture Extraordinary Sandwiches $ – Huntington Beach – Dutch Crunch bread is amazing here along with their wide variety of sandwiches with Pow Sauce.

http://www.subculturehb.com/

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Hamamori Restaurant & Sushi $$$ – Costa Mesa – Sit at the sushi bar and order their Omakase to  experience unique Sushi the Hammamori way.  Some interesting sushi include Uni with truffle, Toro with Truffle, Toro with Uni, Salmon with salmon roe and Tuna with Balsamic Vinaigrette.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/hamamori-restaurant-and-sushi-bar-costa-mesa

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Kareem’s Restaurant – Anaheim, CA – Best Falafel in Orange County

Kareem’s Restaurant – Anaheim, CA – Best Falafel in Orange County

Kareem’s Restaurant is a family owned restaurant that has been passed down a generation to Kareem herself.  This is a restaurant where you can taste the love in their food.  They provide great service and you feel like part of the family.  Kareem’s is famous for their Falafel.  I must admit I haven’t been the hugest Falafel fan.  Usually Falafel I have tried is dry and grainy.  Not these, Kareem’s Falafels are moist and full of flavor and taste great dipped in their Tahini.  Kareem’s offers the best Falafel that I have had hands down.  They also have a ridiculously good Hummus and Fatoush Salad.  They also offer a Falafel mix which is sold in nearby stores.  Check out Kareem’s Restaurant for Falafel and Hummus heaven.  Love, peace and Falafel Grease!

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Falafel Plate with Hummus

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Chicken Kabob Plate with Hummus

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Fatoush Salad

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Dog Haus – Great Burgers, Hot Dogs and Sausages

Dog Haus – Multiple Locations – Great Burgers, Hot Dogs and Sausages

Dog Haus is a new Hot Dog, Sausage and Burger chain that has been popping up across Southern California.  I dig it and it’ s a great restaurant with nice atmosphere and delicious food. One thing that sets them apart is all their items are on Kings Hawaiian rolls. That sweetness of the Kings Hawaiian bread with the saltiness and acidity of their sauces sets their food off. They specialize in Hot Dogs and Sausages but their burgers are on point as well.  They have a FreiBurger with White Cheddar, Fried Egg, Haus Slaw and French Fries that is to die for. I would highly recommend trying this burger. Also their tater tots are close too perfection, they are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside providing great texture. You can get the Tater tots with Chili Cheese and don’t forget to ask for a side of Buttermilk Ranch. Dog Haus has seasonal specials too, like the Turducken Sausage (Turkey, Duck and Chicken), so be on the lookout for those. The trick at a restaurant with so many choices is to know what to order. I recommend the FreiBurger, Holy Aioli Burger and Chili Cheese Tater Tots. Check this place out for affordable delicious food and they also offer Craft Beers.  I am going to be gaining a lot of calories at this place.  Love, Peace and Chili Cheese Tator Tot Grease!
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The Hangover Burger with Fried Egg, Chili and White Cheddar Cheese
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Turducken Sausage (Turkey, Duck and Chicken)
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Chili Cheese Tater Tots
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Ave Maria Burger with Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions and White Cheddar Cheese
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Cheese Tater Tots
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The FreiBurger with French Fries, Fried Egg, Coleslaw and White American Cheese
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Hot Dog Slider
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Top 10 Shabu Shabu/Hot Pot Restaurants in Orange County

Top 10 Shabu Shabu/Hot Pot Restaurants in Orange County

Shabu Shabu is a Japanese dish featuring thinly sliced meats and vegetables dipped in a boiling broth.  These types of restaurants have been all the rage these days offering many types of variations and varieties.  This includes different types of meats and seafood, broths and dipping sauces as well as noodle soup or porridge after finishing the main meal.  I grew up eating home cooked Shabu Shabu and when I had Shabu Shabu in restaurants it didn’t really compare.  I felt there was no reason to eat Shabu Shabu at a restaurant if the home cooked meal was of better quality.  Now with so many Shabu Shabu restaurants popping up and the quality significantly improving people of all ages and origins can enjoy it.  Shabu Shabu restaurants are offering different styles and variations so everyone can have their own favorite.  Here are the top 10 Shabu Shabu restaurants in Orange County.

  1. Shinobu Shabu Shabu $$ – Westminster, CA – Shinobu Shabu offers great quality meat and great service. Besides the superb cuts of meat and friendly service they have several things that make them shine above other Shabu Shabu restaurants. If you want to eat at a Shabu Shabu restaurant in a big group that is sometimes difficult and you cannot interact with your whole party because a lot of Shabu Shabu restaurants offer only a bar style setting.  Shinobu offers a bar as well as tables to accommodate for large parties and allows for a better social setting.  Shinobu also offers a decent amount of Beer and Sake.  Also save room for dessert and try their very own Asian Funnel Cake, Black Sesame Ice Cream or Mochi Ice Cream.

http://www.shinobushabu.com/

Shinobu Shabu

  1. Shabu Shabu Bar $$ – Santa Ana, CA – Shabu Shabu Bar offers the best quality meats including Wagyu, Kobe, Prime and Ribeye Beef as well as Kurobuta Berkshire Pork and Jidori Wild Chicken. They have delicious Goma Sauce where you crush your own sesame seeds and Ponzu Sauce. Also don’t forget to check in on Yelp because they usually have an offer available.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/shabu-shabu-bar-santa-ana-3

  1. Little Sheep $$ – Irvine, CA – Little Sheep is Mongolian Hot Pot. They have a unique aromatic broth using fresh ingredients such as Goji Berries, Black Cardamom, Ginseng and other herbs which vary greatly from the normal Shabu Shabu broth. They also offer some delectable handmade noodles that shine above any of the other noodles offered from other Shabu Shabu restaurants.  They have a multitude of items to choose from ala carte that you can add to your meal including Fish balls with Fish Roe inside, Kumbocha and Lotus Root to name a few.  They also offer a sauce bar to create your own sauce to your taste.  Little Sheep has a lunch combo special for 9.95 which is a steal for all the items included and compared to other lunch combos that usually start at 14.95.

http://www.littlesheephotpot.com/

Little Sheep Combo Special

Little Sheep’s Lunch Combo

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Little Sheeps Yin and Yang Broth

  1. Paper Pot Shabu $$ – Diamond Bar, CA – Paper Pot Shabu offers a unique way to hold their broth, it’s actually in a real paper pot and they use conduction heating to boil the broth. Paper pot is not their only gimmick they offer high quality ingredients as well. They offer a Bulgogi Shabu Shabu which is Korean marinated beef that was divine.  Paper Pot’s Wow combo is also interesting which includes Sausage, Wontons, Rice Cake, Fish Cake and Ramen.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/paper-pot-shabu-diamond-bar

Paperpot Shabu

Paperpot Shabu Bulgogi

PaperPot Shabu’s Bulgogi

  1. SWSH Shabu Shabu $$ – Irvine, CA – SWSH gets its name by the sound it makes when you “swish” your meat through the broth with your chopsticks. SWSH’s interior has a modern contemporary look including both tables and bar seating. They also have an extensive Sake menu.  Make sure to leave room for dessert because SWSH offers a Green Tea White Chocolate Fondue with fresh Fruit and Cake.

http://www.swshshabu.com/

  1. Boiling Point $$ – Irvine and Garden Grove, CA – Boiling Point is Taiwanese Style Hot Pot and it’s a little different than other Shabu Shabu or other Hot Pot Restaurants because they serve all the ingredients already inside the bowl already cooking when they bring it out. So your pot comes heaping with the combo of meat and veggies that you order. They offer combos such as House Special, Seafood and Tofu, Korean Bean Paste, Beef, Pomelo Flavor, Taiwanese Spicy, Japanese Miso, Thai and Curry Fish Ball.  These combos include interesting ingredients such as Fermented Tofu, Clam, Quail Egg, Pork Blood Cake, Pork Intestine, Octopus, Cuttlefish Ring, Fuzhou Fish Ball, Lobster Fish Ball, Pork Belly, Pear, Fried Tofu Skin and Lotus Root.  They also offer a Snow Flake Ice Dessert, Macaron Ice Cream  and a variety of Milk Teas, Sodas and Slushies.

http://www.bpgroupusa.com/Company.html

  1. Tabu Shabu $$ – Costa Mesa, CA – Tabu Shabu offers Snake River Farms and Meyers Farms Beef. Most Shabu Shabu restaurants offer a soup at the end of your meal that the server will make for you with your noodles. Tabu Shabu takes it to another level with their savory egg porridge.  Tabu Shabu also offers low carb or paleo on request if needed.

http://tabushabu.com/

Tabu Shabu

Tabu Shabu Egg Porrige

Tabu Shabu’s Egg Porridge

8 .Mokkoji $$ – Irvine, CA – Mokkoji has some unique offerings including a option for Beef Belly which I haven’t seen offered at Shabu Shabu before, get ready for some fatty meat.  You can add on a Porridge option at the end including a Squid Ink Porridge.  They have both Goma and Ponzu sauces and their Ponzu is a very good tangy citrus ponzu.  On their tofu Mokkoji is branded on which provides great presentation for their Shabu Shabu.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/mokkoji-shabu-shabu-bar-irvine

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  1. East West Shabu Shabu $$ – Garden Grove, CA -East West Shabu Shabu was one of the OG’s to the Shabu Shabu game. They started before most Shabu Shabu restaurants in OC and on this list. They have always provided solid meats and sauces at a reasonable price.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/east-west-shabu-shabu-garden-grove

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  1. California Shabu-Shabu/Cal Shabu $$ -Fountain Valley and Costa Mesa, CA – Cal Shabu is another one of the original Shabu Shabu restaurants in Orange County with 2 different locations. They have some unique artwork on their walls at their Costa Mesa location and Salmon roses have been spotted at their Fountain Valley location. They have affordable lunch specials and the option of two item combinations.

http://www.californiashabushabu.com/

California Shabu Shabu

 

Fideo by Mick – Irvine, CA – Great noodles with many versatile flavors

Fideo by Mick – Irvine, CA – Great Noodles with many flavors

Many of you have probably been to or have heard of Mick’s Karma Bar. It has been consistently rated as one of the top burgers in Orange County. Well Mick decided to open another restaurant called Fideo by Mick offering what…bowls of noodles. Burgers to noodles you ask, how does that translate. Well it translates into delicious ‘noodly’ ‘brothy’ goodness. Stop by and try the different options including Phuket Beef, Braised Pork Belly , Curried Chicken, Lamb Ragu and Salsa Verde (Pork). All noodles are specially made for his restaurant offering a thicker wider ramen noodle then you have probably experienced. I was skeptical but the noodles, broth and ingredients work. The broth is very favorable and the noodles are of high quality and go well with the fragrant ingredients. Also if you aren’t feeling noodles you can substitute rice as well.  They have some creative drinks that are amazing including a Strawberry Basil Lemonade and Passionfruit Mint Lemonade.  Make sure to stop by and don’t be surprised if Mick himself comes to your table to chat.   Love, Peace and Phuket Beef Grease!

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Passionfruit Mint Lemonade

Passionfruit Mint Lemondade

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Premium Fish Sauce

Pork Belly Appetizer complimentary

Pork Belly compliments of Mick

Phuket Beef

Phuket Beef

Curried Chicken

Curried Chicken

Chili Verde

Chili Verde

Chili Verde I think

 

Braised Pork Belly

Braised Pork Belly

lamb Ragu I think

Lamb Ragu

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Thuyen Vien – Anaheim, CA – Healthy Vegetarian Vietnamese Food that tastes delicious.

Thuyen Vien – Anaheim, CA – Healthy Vegetarian Vietnamese Food that tastes delicious.

Healthy Vegetarian food that tastes delicious? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Not when you go to Thuyen Vien. Now let’s face it, if it was up to me I would eat Sushi, Prime Rib and Carne Asada Fries everyday. But I can’t because I have a mortgage and bills to pay and I want to weigh under 300 pounds. So when I’m looking to eat a healthy meal that is reasonable on the pocket book I turn to places like Thuyen Vien. They offer delicious food at reasonable prices that are healthy alternatives instead of a burger and fries. The trick at Thueyn Vien is knowing what to order because they have a pretty extensive menu. I’ll tell you what to get and don’t bother with the other items. Their Thai Pumpkin Curry, Garlic Chicken and Bun Bo Hue Royal Noodle Soup are the business.  They will make you forget you are eating vegetarian food.  The Pho and Egg rolls are also decent as well.  Make sure to check them out as a staple to eat healthy throughout the week at a great price.  Love, Peace and Garlic Chicken grease!

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Pho with Beef

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Bun Bo Hue Royal Noodle Soup – Awesome fragrant dish

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Pumpkin Thai Curry – Very Delicious

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Veggies

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Fried Tofu

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Bo Luc Lac – Shaken Beef

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Thailand Fried Rice

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Kung Pow Chicken

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Egg Rolls

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Banana Flower Tacos

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Garlic Chicken – Could substitute this for real chicken any day.

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OPM Restaurant and Lounge – Huntington Beach, CA – Modern Restaurant and Lounge

OPM Restaurant and Lounge – Huntington Beach, CA – Modern Restaurant and Lounge

OPM Restaurant and Lounge is a large modern lounge/restaurant and eclectic take on New American Cuisine.  The restaurant has beautiful modern decor and styling.  It is a great place to grab a craft cocktail or for a special event.  You could come here just for a table for two or they are able to handle a large party.  This is the new hot spot in Huntington Beach to be seen.  Most of the food is meant to be shared and they have an extensive menu that will have the “epicurious” try a multitude of items.  OPM has everything from a raw bar ranging with Kumamoto Oysters, different Ceviches and a Seafood Tower as well as Crudite plates, Charcuterie, Cheese plates, Potato Spring Roll Cones, Bacon Corn Bread, Pork Belly Buns, Chicken Lollipops, Yuzu Cheesecake and Foie Gras Ice Cream.  Their craft cocktail menu has some interesting libations including “Phuket its Friday,” their take on an alcoholic Thai Iced Tea.  Restaurants that have a very imaginative menu sometimes suffer in the flavor and taste category but OPM’s chef’s execution is on point.  When you want to hang out or grab a drink at a fancy lounge, check out OPM and did I mention they have a DJ after 10, offer bottle service and a secret bar!  OPM Restaurant and Lounge is going up on a Tuesday or for that matter any day.  Love, Peace and Foie Gras Ice Cream Grease.

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Kumamoto Oysters

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Bone Marrow with Raisin Jam and Parsley Salad

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Short Rib Croquette

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Bacon Corn Bread

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Potato Spring Roll Cone

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“Phucket its Friday” – Alcoholic Thai Iced Tea

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Yuzu Cheesecake, Foie Gras Ice Cream and Green Tea Tiramisu

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They use Teddy Grahams in their dessert!

 

Ramen Dojo – San Mateo, CA – Spicy Garlic Pork Ramen

Ramen Dojo – San Mateo, CA – Spicy Garlic Pork Ramen

Finally got to try the famous Ramen Dojo in Northern California in the Bay Area. Does it live up to the hype? It depends on how you like your ramen. If you prefer spicy ramen then this is a place to try. I on the other hand prefer a creamier non-spicy ramen broth. I enjoy Miso or Tonkatsu Pork Ramen broths with great depth of flavor, but to each his own. You do have the option to choose the spiciness of your ramen and I did try both spicy and non-spicy versions of their Garlic Pork Ramen. I respect the craft of Ramen Dojo and the high quality Ramen that they offer including the quail egg included at no extra charge and presentation.  No disrespect to NorCal but I think SoCal has the ramen game on lock. Love, Peace and Spicy Garlic Pork Ramen Grease!

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Garlic Pork Ramen

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Spicy Garlic Pork Ramen

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Flying Fish – Freeport, Grand Bahama Island – Best Dining in the Bahamas

Flying Fish – Freeport, Grand Bahama Island – Best Dining in the Bahamas

Nowadays it takes a lot to impress me when I visit different restaurants even internationally. Flying Fish impresses and brings so much more. This is a great example of a restaurant that is truly molded and created from the heart. Chef Tim Tibbits has won many accolades and awards for Flying Fish in the Bahamas, some including top ratings for best fine dining restaurant in the Bahamas and Top Chef and restaurant honors on many lists. None of these rewards really talk about what else his restaurant adds to the community, employees and his vision. Chef Tim takes local and sustainable ingredients and flavors and makes them his own. He also has designed the interior and whole restaurant to his vision which comes together very nicely. His restaurant was immaculate compared to any other restaurants on the island and even compared to the best fine dining restaurants around the world he is on par.  I appreciate his the simple yet truly elegant aesthetic of his restaurant. I also appreciate the fact that he cares for his employees and has helped them better not only their careers but lives and well being. Making a difference in the community on top of running a top quality restaurant is paramount in Tim’s vision. Flying Fish is located on the water and he takes full advantage of this with large windows throughout the restaurant.  But it is taken to the next level with outdoor seating on the dock right on the water. On Sundays the chef himself plays live music on the guitar and sings (He sings and plays almost as well as he cooks, which was a pleasurable surprise, taking any requests along the way). Eating here on Sunday is truly a magical experience.

Well we haven’t even got to the food yet. Flying Fish offers tasting menus and well as a la carte options. They offer a vast menu including local seafood and dishes as well as beef, pork and vegetarian options. They are well known for their burgers which the patties are made in house with no fillers. But the true stars of the show are the seafood dishes including some of the local ingredients such as the Local Stone Crab 3 ways including a whole Stone Crab Claw, Crab Cake and Crab Cole Slaw. Also the Wakame Salad with King Crab was amazing offering great texture, contrast in hot and cold as well as unique flavors.

Seeing a chefs dream and vision fully materialized is an amazing thing and you can witness it here at Flying Fish in the Bahamas. Bravo Chef Tim Tibbits for sharing it with us. Love, peace and Stone Crab Grease!

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Local Stone Crab –  3 ways: Stone Crab Claw, Stone Crab Cake and Stone Crab Slaw

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Swiss Burger with Gruyere, Mushrooms and Grilled Onion Remoulade with Potato Twirls

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Flying Fish BLT with in-house cured and smoked Pork Belly Bacon and Truffle Mayo

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Wakame Salad Alaskan King Crab, Avocado, Mango, Cucumber, Sweet Soy Reduction and Crispy Rice – Amazing flavors, textures and contrast of temperature

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MacDaddy Burger

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Hot Wings

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Sushi

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Cocktail

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Chef Tim Tibbits playing some awesome tunes

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Pueblo – Costa Mesa, CA – Spanish Tapas without traveling to Spain

Pueblo – Costa Mesa, CA – Spanish Tapas without traveling to Spain

Spain is one of the most sought after food countries and destinations to visit.  Hugged by the Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea it has a multitude of Seafood options.  Pueblo is located in the SOCO plaza which is becoming a new hang out  for hipsters in Costa Mesa.  SOCO offers home decor and fashion/design shopping as well.  Pueblo brings Spanish style tapas meant to be shared to Orange County.  Their dishes are meant to bring friends and families together in a communal setting.  They do a great job by offerings traditional Spanish tapas with their own signature twists.  Pueblo offers a great wine, beer and cocktail selection.  Must try dishes are the Squid Ink Paella and Short Rib Crudo.  Love, Peace and Squid Ink Paella Grease.

pueblotapas.com 

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Grilled Bread with Marinara

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Duck breast and Foie Gras

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Short Rib Crudo

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Crispy Chicken

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Chorizo with Lentils

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Brussels Sprouts with Mercona Almonds

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Crispy Potatoes with Chili Sauce

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Skirt Steak

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Squid Ink Paella – Amazing Dish

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Charcuterrie Plate with Duck Pate

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Crispy Baby Squid

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Queso Fundido with Goat Cheese

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Fried Oysters

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Creme Brulee Bread Pudding

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Tinto De Verano -Very refreshing wine cocktail

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The best food and restaurants to eat at in Orange County – #1 Orange County Food List