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Recs for Fullerton Area Restaurants

I'm having a wedding reception in my hometown of Fullerton. (Eloping to Venice first) I am trying to come up with a list of restaurants for out-of-town guests. The problem is that I have been living in San Francisco for the last 12 years. I admit that I am somewhat of a food snob and haven't had very good food in Fullerton in years. Of course, I have my favorite spots (Taqueria DeAnda, Alicia's, Angelo & Vinci's, Mongolian BBQ, and others that I go to for mostly nostalgic reasons) but I usually eat at home with the family. Anyway, I'd appreciate your recommendations. It would be great if you would share your favorites in any of these categories: family restaurant, fast food (not large chain), Asian, steak, hamburger, Mexican, Italian, Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, breakfast, brunch. And whatever else you can think of. My guests wil appreciate it and so will I since I won't have to be stuck in the same food rut every time I visit. Thanks!

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  1. \ Ma's Chinese-Islamic in Anaheim. Think that's Fullerton adjacent (but my sense of geography does suck a bit). Anyway, you can find a great review of Ma's by doing a search on this board. We had a fab meal there -- delicious w/ v. large portions -- one order of chowmein and one order of scallion sesami bread fed two adults and two minikins -- with enough sesami-scallion bread left over for two days of left-overs.

    To be aware of -- I hear they turn away people in shorts sometimes deeming this to be immodest attire -- something to take into consideration...

    1. My two recs are: Table 10 for good standard fare and Anita's, agreat hole in the wall style mexican food joint- best table salsa EVER.

      1. Oh and there's a Knollwood for burgers and Mulberry St. for Italian (although I haven't eaten there in a LONG time so it might not be as good as I remember it being.)

        1. Cafe Hidalgo, but watch out for the lethally salty "cumin vinaigrette" on the salads... get something else instead. A great list of wines by the glass.

          Definitely Table 10.

          Spadra isn't bad for Italian... not the best Italian in the world but perfectly serviceable.

          I like Anita's for "New Mexico style" Mexican food.

          Rutabegorz for kind of hippie-ish salads, wraps, soups. It's a sit-down place, the folks are really nice and the food is surprisingly tasty.

          Viet: there's not a lot up there. There's a Pho 88 on Lemon near Orangefair and a Lee's Sandwiches on Orangethorpe and Harbor.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            When I lived in Yorba Linda, Rutabegorz was my #1 favorite. They have a coffee drink called a Yucatan with banana in it, and it's delicious. They've got a ton of veggie options, and the atmosphere is pleasantly casual. It makes a goodspot for lunch with one other person, but maybe not as much for larger parties.

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              When did you go to Spadra? And how was the service? I went there for lunch last fall, ordered my food and I had to leave before it ever came (I waited an hour).

              1. re: OCAnn

                Last year sometime... we didn't notice any huge service lapses, but the service was "rough-edged" (you know, not being able to remember the specials, etc.).

                The food was good, if a bit salty.

                1. re: OCAnn

                  not recommended - due to recent negative experience. had a holiday party at spadra last december (~10 of us), the restaurant was empty except for us and they recommended their new york steak special. i ordered the ny steak medium rare, when it arrived, it looked nicely grilled with some charring, cut into it and it was stinkin raw - purple raw. asked the waiter to have it cooked to order (med rare) and they nuked it and brought it back a couple minutes later and it was cooked throughout. same thing happened to two others at the table. not recommended.

                  1. re: tuborg_gron

                    Well, here's my write-up on Spadra: www.chowhound.com/topics/82954

                    I never got a response from the restaurant.

              2. Hidalgo isn't bad I think. It's a tough place to find non chain restaurants perhaps.

                3 Replies
                1. re: I make my own pickles

                  Fullerton's Restaurant Row is all about non-chain restaurants.

                  1. re: I make my own pickles

                    Funny, I've never had a problem... once you get outside of downtown Fullerton, yes, you might have a problem, but there are a LOT of tasty restaurants in Fullerton.

                    I really like the chiles rellenos at Rockin' Taco Cantina. Am I allowed to admit that?

                    1. re: I make my own pickles

                      I agree with OCAnn--there are lots of independently owned restaurants in downtown Fullerton area--I think the Chamber of Commerce says there are over 50. I agree with a lot of the excellent recommendations folks have been making and I will also suggest The Rail on Commonwealth. It had sort of fallen onto hard times but the owner has brought in a new chef and they are really trying. The burgers are excellent as are many of the "new:" menu items.

                    2. Your out of town guests will have many non-chain choices of average food along Harbor Blvd; it's become Fullerton's Restaurant Row over the last couple years.

                      fast food (not large chain): WAHOO's fish tacos, Chapman/Harbor (next to Starbuck's) or IN-N-OUT.

                      Asian, sushi: FUN SUSHI MOMO on the s/w corner of Harbor/Bastanchury (there's construction going on, but they're still open). Sit at the sushi counter and avoid Fri & Sat nights. You get large pieces of neta at great prices.

                      Asian, Mongolian BBQ: s/w corner of State College Blvd/Chapman Ave

                      hamburger: KNOLWOOD's, Harbor Blvd (Restaurant Row)

                      Mexican: EL FAROLITO, Old Town Placentia on Bradford

                      Italian: MARKET CITY CAFFE, Birch Street Promenade (Birch/Bastanchury)

                      Vietnamese: PHO 88, n/w corner Lemon/Orangethorpe

                      Thai: THAI RAMA, s/e corner of State College Blvd/Chapman Ave

                      Indian: TAAL, near CSUF @ 57/Nutwood

                      breakfast: KIMMIE'S COFFEE CUP on Brea Blvd (btwn Imp Hwy & Bastanchury, next to Arco)

                      brunch: TAPS, Brea Blvd/Imp Hwy

                      Other good & reliable spots: RUTA's, HEROES (they've moved from their old location to SoCo Walk, Santa Fe Ave/Harbor Blvd), THE OLD SHIP (English food)

                      Regarding the other recommendations made to this thread, I wanna give my $0.02. Ma's is good for their sesame bread, but I thought everything else was just ok; I went to Anita's once and would never go back, I guess I just don't "get" southwestern food esp when there are great Mexican alternatives nearby; Table 10 is meh; Cafe Hidalgo is also just meh.

                      I've found most of the restaurants along the row to be just okay with a few jems. ROMAN CUCINA gets crowded on the weekends, but the food isn't all that spectacular. SLIDERS (which is owned by one of the guys from Lit) has a decent Happy Hour and is crowded w/20somethings; CHOMPS and ROCKIN TACO also cater to the college crowd. MITSU-E Shabu Shabu can be fun, but the dipping sauce is okay and the place is run by Koreans.

                      1. Table Ten is decent (try the corned beef tacos. really)

                        The Twisted Vine is a new wine bar on Commonwealth, just west of Harbor.

                        Seafood Grill (near Knowlwood at Harbor/Commonwealth) has a nice selection of cheap and cheerful seafood fried or broiled.

                        The Olde Ship is a nice British pub (with all that implies, good ale, lots bangers n' mash, fih cips, etc.)

                        Oh, and Stubrik's for lowish cost steaks and a huge bar with stiff drinks. (Commonwealth, eat of Harbor).

                        I would avoid the Tuscany Club, Roman Cucina and Spadra. For Italian-- try Mulberry Street and perhaps pizza from A&V's.

                        Kimmies Coffee Cup (well west of Hrabor on Commonwealth) does a mean breakfast.

                        I like Thai BBQ on Orangethorpe, east of Harbor.

                        The trick at Anita's is to eat ONLY the New Mexico dishes.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: OCBites

                          I guess w/a handful of recommendations for Table Ten and Anita's, *I* just don't get either concept.

                          Re Seafood Grill, their Clam Chowder is pretty darned good; but I'd avoid their fried clams.

                          And for those unfamiliar w/Kimmies Coffee Cup, they have 2 locations. One near the Fullerton airport on Commonwealth (east of Magnolia) and the Brea location. It's such my favourite b'fast place, that it's in my top 5.