HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


Wasting Gas In Fullerton

  • m

My wife and I had a meeting in Fullerton today and when it was over we were famished.
After driving by In & Out, El Torito, The Cheese Cake Factory and getting closed out at the Sheraton Four Points, we were driving around looking for a good lunch spot. And Driving - and Driving. We ended up at a cute but mediocre Italian restaurant (I'll keep it nameless as it wasn't bad, just not good).

We have to go to Fullerton next week for a continuation of the same meeting and would really like a good lunch afterwards. Downtown Fullerton looks very much like a small downtown Pasadena. So, I'm hoping you guys have a suggestion or two.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. i used to work in downtown Fullerton. What type of food are you looking for??? We always ate at

    Heroes (American sports bar with decent food and huge portions)
    Roman Cucina (is this the place you went to?? I think it's pretty good),
    Hidalgo (sort of nouveau Mexican)
    Mulberry St. (American/Continental, good lunch specials)
    Ten Ten seafood (Chinese, great lunch specials in very nearby Anaheim)
    The Rail (American, good portions, decent food)
    Chomp (Americanized/Tropical themed fusion Japanese, good lunch specials)
    Stadium (Sports bar with pretty good pastas, chicken strips, and garlic fries)
    Ma's Chinese Islamic (never been but lots of CH's have written favorably about it in very nearby Anaheim)

    7 Replies
    1. re: hch_nguyen

      Maybe you recall "Chicao Lights?" They made great Chicago beef. They are long gone but I hear that the place that is now in that spot is great. Who is it?

      1. re: JeetJet

        Sorry, before my time cause I didn't start work in Fullerton until early 2004.

        1. re: hch_nguyen

          I called my son and the place is an Irish Pub. They park in the large lot out back and enter from the rear door. The thing they do right is a burger.

          Branagan's Irish Pub
          213 N. Harbor Bivd
          Fullerton, Ca 92831

          1. re: JeetJet

            I worked just a couple of doors down. I've been there. Didn't care for it, but I didn't have the burger. The only place in that particular strip that I liked was Roman Cucina and Rockin' Taco and Mitsu E Shabu Shabu on the other side. Zing's is horrendous. The fact that they bill themselves as serving "Asian Chinese" food tells you everything.

            1. re: JeetJet

              For a good burger, there's Knowlwood's on Commonwealth/Harbor.

        2. re: hch_nguyen

          To add a few tidbits here -- I believe Heroe's and Roscoe's (mentioned below) are owned by the same people. I had occasion to be in both of those establishments as a vendor in a past venture, and both of them are spotless, well organized, and well-run. Simply impressive, especially in the cleanliness aspect.

          In comparison, I would say that Stadium Tavern is less impressive in this regard, and I won't personally dine there. (disclaimers: this is just my opinion not a statement of fact. Your experience may differ, 'I'm sure these were bad days," small sample-size, I'm not an inspector, etc.)

          The food at Heroes is good, portions are super huge, the beer selections outstanding. Aim here is to please the general palate, so if you're looking for something inventive or revolutionary, you won't find it there.

          1. re: BruinEric

            Though I can't comment on the cleanliness aspect of the kitchen, I will say that both Heroes and Stadium Tavern serve the same type of food. Been to both and my preference, hands down many times over, is for Heroes.

        3. Oh, in addition, we ate at the Olde Ship which is known for its fish and chips, BJ's (decent chain), and Claimjumper (decent chain). BJ's and Claimjumper are both in Brea, which borders Fullerton.

          1. There's that new Mexicna restaurant "Anitas" right by the Costco before downtown fullerton....

            there's also a sub shop with awesome italian sandwhiches..Roscoe's famous Deli...its in downtown fullerton.......they have a sports bar and some tables.....ROSCOE'S FAMOUS DELI
            116 W COMMONWEALTH AVE

            3 Replies
            1. re: Xericx

              Second Mulberry Street. Very New York white table cloth restaurant with good atmosphere and really well prepared tending-toward-italian food. Highly recommended!

              1. re: bagdoodle

                This one sounds good! I'll go here next week.

              2. re: Xericx

                I had a pastrami at Roscoe's and wasn't all that impressed. It was kind of bland, with none of the delicate savory flavor I get at Langer's or any of the in-your-face-this-is-bad-for-you fatty indulgence from a place like the Hat. My friend recommended a different sandwich after the fact, though, so I'll probably give them another chance.

                Weird hearing about all these places serving food when I'm only there during bar hours.

              3. I hope the mediocre Italian restaurant wasn't Angelo's and Vinci's, was it? I haven't been there in years. I hope it didn't get bad.

                I don't know how daring (well, it's not really "daring" but a lot of people haven't tried it) you are but if you want to try something different - there's a place called Mitsu E shabu shabu (Japanese hot pot) - 225 N Harbor Blvd.

                The menu is simple - you pick raw meat or seafood and you get an order of vegetables and noodles and you cook them yourself in your own pot of bowling water.

                16 Replies
                1. re: cakes

                  Yes! We used to eat there, too. It IS daring for Fullerton!! I was wondering if they were still around. Glad to hear it if they are. They were just getting started for the first few months when I stopped working in Fullerton last year and I often was the only patron there during lunch...I thought it was a great deal, and I personally really liked their somewhat fatty cuts. Sometimes it was a downer though with me in there by myself with the employees/manager/owner sort of milling around me with nothing to do. It tasted good though!

                  1. re: hch_nguyen

                    Unfortunately, Koji's (a chain!) has better shabu shabu than Mitsue. Their dipping broth lacks flavour. I love shabu shabu...and had shabu shabu in Japan, so I was excited that one opened downtown...but I'd be too embarrassed to take anyone there.

                    But again, sometimes I don't "get" food loved by other CHs, so it maybe just me.

                  2. re: cakes

                    the restaurant was neither Angelo's or Vinci's. Should I try these?

                    1. re: mjalz

                      Angelo's & Vinci's (one restaurant) has an atmosphere like Buca di Beppo, but the food & service @ BdB is better. I went to A&V once with a diverse ethnic crowd; we had one person from each continent ('cept Antarctica) and the service was inexcusably poor. I was embarrassed and miffed at the same time. I've been back three times since; once for dinner and the service was better, but still mediocre. The second time, I had to organize a business function there (guest of honour requested A&V) and still, the service was just okay. All the while, the food is unremarkable; there's better (and more consistent) food @ BdB, Macaroni Grill, Maggiano's, etc. The last time was for take-out pizza. If you like thick-crust pizza, this may be the place; unfortunately, I prefer a thin-crust .

                      I want to support my local restaurants and give them many chances. Some places, you get an idea after dining once. It took me four tries to finally get it through my thick head (& waistline) that this place isn't worth my time. Granted, it's a visually entertaining restaurant, but I'd rather much spend my $$ on another "meh" restaurant in downtown Fullerton or Brea.

                      1. re: OCAnn

                        Just as a counterpoint, my wife and I used to go there once in a while, I'm asian and she's caucasian and our service was always very good. And this was back when we'd get odd looks in OC because of the mixed racial couple deal.

                        We had a big function there one time with a lot of my family and the coordinator and the staff were all exceedingly helpful and polite with a bunch of english as a second language older asian men and women unfamiliar with italian food and fascinated by the decor of the restaurant.

                        1. re: Jase

                          I'm willing to concede that maybe our service was a one-off...or a two-off. Who knows?

                          The function I organized there was for a group of 40. The coordination prior to the event was good; they were helpful, professional and prompt. However, the service on the day of (we were seated on the 2nd or 3rd floor) was "ugh." Maybe being upstairs slowed down the staff and made them less attentive to the function. For a group that size, I'm used to having a couple servers exclusively for the event.

                          I'm glad you had a better time than I did. And hope that others do too. But I ain't steppin' foot in that there visually stunning cabaret-like pseudo Italian place again.

                          BTW, how'd you like the food?

                          1. re: OCAnn

                            Sorry, not trying to be argumentative. Maybe the service was just clueless as opposed to racially/ethnically biased.

                            We haven't been there in a few years and I know my taste buds have evolved since then, that was prior to us being exposed to NYC italian places. With that said, it didn't blow me away even then. I thought it was a solid neighborhood joint with a cool decor and acceptable service at the price point. I'd agree it was not a destination point but at the time, I thought it was fine if you were in the neighborhood and looking for Italian.

                            Maybe I was more biased after that family function where I was nervous about the whole event and A&V helped me look good in front of a lot of fussy relatives who would discuss the event ad nauseum for the next few months.

                            I too prefer thin crust but don't recall disliking their pizza. Sure things change and your experience is a lot more recent than mine. I'm sorry things didn't work out for you and you certainly were game enough to give them several chances.

                            On a similar tangent, I had such a horrendously bad experience at The Summit House, I now actively crusade against them. But others have had a great time. It happens.

                            1. re: Jase

                              Kids really do love A and V, though...kind of fun.

                              1. re: Jase

                                I didn't find you to be argumentative at all. =D

                                1. re: Jase

                                  Its funny you mention Summitt House. I have never been there. And I never hear people talking about it. It has always surprised me that given the lcoation (nice view, right?) and prices that people don't talk more about it....a horrendous experience would definitely explain that.

                                  1. re: running pig

                                    I have a gift cert to this place, so you can count on a review eventually.

                                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                      It's a great place for a special occasion dinner. We've been twice and had a very good meal (and attentive service) both times. It's good food (think Old English style) not anything exotic or cutting edge cuisine. One dining room has a view of the OC at night that's pretty incredible, so if you want the view, be sure and let them know when you make the reservations. The tricky part is finding the road to turn (left) in to from the opposite (ascending) side of the road. My husband's driven past it both times. The sign's pretty hard to see, as I recall.

                                    2. re: running pig

                                      I totally forgot about Summit House!

                                      I went there a couple of years ago but by the time we got there, they were closing already so we never got the chance to eat there. I don't know if they normally close early (well it was around 9ish) or if it was because it was during the Holidays...

                                      There are a few reviews on Yelp - http://www.yelp.com/biz/D7gYJ5d2mxVFm...

                              2. re: OCAnn

                                I didn't have a very good experience at A & V's either. My bf and I both got pasta dishes which came out very very watery as well as tasteless. We expressed our concern to our young female waitress and she replied back with "Yea, I know, the pasta isn't that great here. Most people get the pizza" and then walked off!?!

                                We had to talk to the Manager directly and complain on our waitress' behavior as well as on our unappetizing food to get our money back.

                                The decor is really interesting and all, but I wouldn't go out of my way to come back here, even if the pizza is great.

                                1. re: OCAnn

                                  The last time I was at Angelo & Vinci's, my wife and I both ordered the stuffed bell peppers. When we got them, we both discovered that the bread crumbs that were supposed to have been mixed into the ground beef for the filling had not been mixed, but were simply a handful of dry breadcrumbs inside a ball of meat that had been formed around them. This was intolerable, but not inexcusable. (A new cook, not properly trained, might not have known any better) What WAS inexcusable was that when we showed the server the dry insides of our food, he refused to take it back and refused to take it off the bill because we had started to eat it (How else could we have discovered the dry breadcrumbs inside?) When that happened, we paid the bill and went to find the manager (He wasn't on the floor, but was relaxing in his office). That's when the REALLY inexcusable happened: When we told him about our meal and how we had been treated, he said that what we had described was impossible; that it could never have happened; that we were lying, and that we should never come back again. We followed his instructions exactly.

                                2. re: mjalz

                                  I agree with OCAnn. Don't think the food here is all that great. I've only been here twice but my experiences don't make me want to come back. I'd rather try some new places.

                              3. Best Chicago Deep Dish Pizza in L.A.

                                Tony's Little Italy
                                1808 N Placentia Ave Ste B
                                Placentia, CA 92870
                                (714) 528-2159

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: JeetJet

                                  I second Tony's! Their deep dish is so deliciously wonderful. Just once slice is enough to make me full and they re-heat quite well~

                                2. I live/work in the area & have been to almost all of the restaurants at Fullerton's Restaurant Row. Unfortunately, most are just plain mediocre.

                                  The ones that are worth recommending and I would stand behind are RUTABEGORZ (Pomona Ave/Wilshire), THE OLDE SHIP (Harbor btwn Union/Berkeley).

                                  RUTA's is a great soup/sandwich place that also serves other hot dishes. It started as a coffee house, and grew to what it is today. (www.rutabegorz.com ) It's got a great home-made feel.

                                  THE OLDE SHIP is a British pub. They serve good, authentic British food. I love their curry and their Sticky Toffee Pudding is heavenly!

                                  Here's my $0.02 on the other restaurants mentioned in this thread. If you don't go to eitiher of the above, others worth considering are HEROES (good pub fare) & TEN TEN SEAFOOD (very good Chinese food, dim sum or not).

                                  I've been to Anita's Southwestern (on Harbor, south of Valencia-north of Costco) and many CHs like it. Admittedly/Unfortunately, I don't understand the appeal of Southwestern food. But since so many others like it, it might be worth a shot. Another place that I've been to, didn't "get", though loved by other CHs, is Mas Islamic Chinese so it is very well worth considering. One dish to definitely get is the sesame bread--this was the one thing I concurred with the others. It's delicious! If you go to Mas, take Orangethorpe east and it'll be on your left hand side (if you hit St College Blvd, you've gone too far).

                                  I'd skip Roman Cucina (very ordinary Italian), Hildalgo (a Southwestern concept still trying to conceive itself), Mulberry St (also another ordinary Italian), Chomp (menu geared toward the college crowd), Branagan's (average food), Mitsu Shabu Shabu (which remains empty for a reason), Angelo's & Vinci's (akin to Buca di Beppo), Table 8 (wannabe) and Florentine's.

                                  Avoid Spadra's. Terrible service. We waited an hour for our food, which we never go.

                                  I love my downtown; I really do...but the dearth of chowish places is abysmal!

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: OCAnn

                                    Wow, you are my "Fullerton" restaurant guide. Your write up was better than Zagats (no kidding). Next week - Olde Shp - and thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                    1. re: OCAnn

                                      You've got it pretty well dead on, though I'm one of the lovers of Mas' Islamic Chinese. The thing to get is the *thin* sesame bread with green onions... also, the five-spice beef with leeks is very good. Avoid normal Americanised offerings, and be prepared to be patient -- service is very much Chinese-style. It's on Orangethorpe just before the railroad tracks -- if you hit Raymond (which is before St College) you've already gone too far.

                                      Other places in the immediate vicinity: Rockin' Taco has good chiles rellenos. Cafe Hidalgo has good appetizers (fantastic mushrooms) but do NOT let them give you anything with "cumin vinaigrette" -- it's got 1.35E+08% of your US RDA of salt.

                                      Mulberry Street is just ordinary Italian, not worth a stop. I haven't been to Table Ten (it's not Table 8, that's in LA). Skip Florentine's/Tuscany Club.

                                      Concur on Ruta's -- nice place, not too crunchy-granola and good food. I'm just OK on Ten Ten -- I find it better at the weekend.

                                      El Farolito is very good, but if you want to stay closer go to El Farolito Jr. -- head east on Orangethorpe, right on Raymond, which will become East, and as soon as you're clear of the 91, hang a right into the parking lot. It's not QUITE as good as El Farolito but it's pretty dang close, it's cheaper, and it's closer. Sr. and Jr. are owned by siblings.

                                      1. re: OCAnn

                                        I absolutely agree.

                                        Fullerton isn't a place to spend your money to eat. This is more about "scene" --restaurants with bands, with a cluster of them owned by the same families. The "SOCO" area has "BIG" food, mostly fried, piled high. This is the sort of thing you expect from a chain restaurant, however, the prices are considerably higher.

                                        Anita's is an odball place. One gets the distinct impression that the servers, owners, and cooks have never been to New Mexico. Again, it's glopped high on a platter, and what you're supposed to mistake for "good" is simply a lot. Sopaipillas are served as a "dessert" item, rather than given to you with or at the beginning of the meal with honey. The list goes on, but I don't want to depress you.

                                        Heroes is one of those loud places with lots of beer signs, and "specialties" of sandwiches stacked high enough so you forget all about taste.

                                        Mulberry Street suffers from a terminal case of boredom. Their chefs are bored, their servers are bored, even the bar is bored. Someone save this place! Their italian food needs to be energized and taken away from preconceived notions of the typical lasagne and spaghetti bolognese.

                                        But then, it's far better than Angelo & Vinci's, which wins hands down for the most interesting decor, but the worst food and service ever seen west of the 57 freeway. Do yourself a favor. Get a million strings of lights, odd statues, brickaback, then buy high quality ingredients and cook it yourself.

                                        Mitsu ShabuShabu... what IS this? From the appearances it looks like quasi-upscale Japanese. But then, well there's the college age servers who stumble around with the food.

                                        As for the The Olde, this is indifferently prepared food. I love everything about this place except the food. Don't let their "Britishness" be a dodge for preparing good food. This is a restaurant playacting at being a restaurant. Inexperienced chefs are greatly underserving the kindness of the owners and staff. I've posted more about this below.

                                        Table Ten started out with good intentions, however, it has failed. Rutabegorz is an era that ended and needs to stay that way. As for Mas Islamic --how long can they get by on sesame bread alone? The food simply isn't that great.

                                        Save your hard earned money for some other city. Look for cheap ethnic eateries, or splurge at The Cellar or Summit House, or be happy with Polly's Pies, which given the price difference is far better value than anything on Harbor.

                                      2. Any cuisine in particular?

                                        If you like Mexican, then it's worth the drive to EL FAROLITO in Placentia (Chapman/Bradford). They have excellent Mexican food ('cept their tamales).

                                        For sushi, there's FUN SUSHI MOMO, up Harbor near St Jude (Harbor/Bastanchury).

                                        For Mongolian BBQ, there's a delicious dive on St College Blvd/Chapman. They have lamb & great sauces for the 'Q.

                                        1. Lets just make this easy, The OLDE SHIP, get the English Curry, done.

                                          18 Replies
                                          1. re: irishkevbo

                                            English Curry? What is English Curry? Talk story -k?

                                              1. re: OCAnn

                                                Nice read. Now I understand that English Curry is curry and may have some degree of heat. At the OLDE SHIP, is this a soup or? Is this chicken, fish or?

                                                1. re: JeetJet

                                                  Not soup; it's curry served over rice. You have your choice of chicken, veggie or king prawn.

                                                  After this hot dish, it's nice to balance it out with the sweetness of their Sticky Toffee Pudding.

                                                  1. re: JeetJet

                                                    After all this talk about English Curry, I had to cure the craving. So I had the English Curry (w/chicken) and the Sticky Toffee Pudding.

                                                    Since I find their portions large (just for curry), I split it w/a colleague. She couldn't have spicy (allergies), so we went mild. I think what makes their curry special is the *kick*; so next time, I'll go back to spicy (they'll ask what number on a scale of 1 - 10).

                                                    And naturally, I can't go there w/o ordering a Sticky Toffee Pudding (which is too decadent not to share). Colleague was surprised at how good this dessert (which she never had) was.

                                                    1. re: OCAnn

                                                      Curry, chicken and rice are one of my favorite things to eat. I will have this, along with the Sticky Toffee Pudding, within the next 3 days. My Thanks to irishkevbo and OCAnn.

                                                      The Olde Ship British Pub and Restaurant (English Curry)
                                                      709 North Harbor Blvd
                                                      Open daily 11am - 11pm
                                                      Sundays open 9am - 11pm

                                                      1. re: JeetJet

                                                        Be sure to report back. I'd like your take on it...even if it doesn't agree w/mine!

                                                        1. re: OCAnn

                                                          Form Harbor Blvd The Olde Ship looks more like a tourist trap that I once walked past in Boston than a pub that might have a nice feel and good food. Walking through the door made me feel like I returned home after being away a little too long. I sat near the kitchen door which I always try do on my first visit to a restaurant. I like to see what comes out the door. I ordered a Newcastle Brown Ale and the Cutty Sark Curry – Chicken . I enjoyed my cold drink in the cool and dark pub while I looked at the pictures of olde ships and that nick-nack shelf on the walls.

                                                          The Cutty Sark Curry Chicken arrived on a large oval plate with white rice forming a bank around the perimeter of the entire vessel leaving a bowl shaped opening in the center which was over-filled with the curry chicken, which was properly colored and textured with red and green peppers, onion and slices of mushroom -- a very large and tasty dish indeed, and is certainly enough for two hungry souls. I ordered it, “Hot” and, let-me-tell-you, it was sufficiently hot. I quickly finished my Newcastle Brown Ale and once my server noticed that I was in need of another beverage she acted quickly and all was well again.

                                                          From the time I began eating my Cutty Sark Curry Chicken on the large oval plate with white rice forming a bank around the perimeter of the entire vessel leaving a bowl shaped opening in the center which was filled with the curry chicken, which was properly colored and textured with red and green peppers, onion and slices of mushroom, until I finished I had consumed several cold beverages and was enjoying myself – quite considerably. However, there was no room left for the Sticky Toffee Pudding. Therefore, I requested that it be prepared and packed for the high seas ahead and off I went.

                                                          I still have not opened the Sticky Toffee Pudding because the Cutty Sark Curry Chicken .... was A very large and tasty dish indeed, and is certainly enough for two hungry souls and I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.

                                                          What would I change? I think it would be a little better if the chicken were a little more tender. However, I would order it again but only if I could split it with someone and then we could each order a desert to counter the heat of the Cutty Sark Curry Chicken ....

                                                          Sitting next to the kitchen door as I ate my Cutty Sark Curry Chicken .... I was able to eyeball the burger which is a thick two fisted affair that seem to be a perfect meal for this pub but then their was also another dish that I noticed come out the kitchen door more than any other. A simple sandwich made of roast beef. It was not a high stack but just large enough for one. The roast beef look perfectly cooked but the smell really held my attention because it reminded me of standing outside the door of Lawrys, The Prime Rib, at opening time. In fact, I noticed one server with a platter of five of those beef sandwiches heading to a table in the bar. I will be going back to The Olde Ship.

                                                          The Olde Ship British Pub and Restaurant
                                                          709 North Harbor Blvd
                                                          (714) 871-7447
                                                          Open daily 11am - 11pmSundays open 9am - 11pm

                                                          The Olde Ship British Pub and Restaurant
                                                          1120 West 17th St
                                                          Santa Ana
                                                          (714) 550-6700
                                                          Open daily 11am - 11pm
                                                          Sundays open 9am - 11pm

                                                          1. re: JeetJet

                                                            Nice review! I'm glad you enjoyed The Olde Ship. Methinks you might want to create a new post of your review so others can readily find it.

                                                            When you begin your STP, you might want to heat the cake/pudding a bit (40 sec?) and then pour the (hopefully cold) cream on top. Enjoy!

                                                            EDIT: btw, if you sign up for their emails on their website, you'll get a letter offering you free dessert during your birthday month !

                                                            1. re: OCAnn

                                                              OMG!. I have only ate half (saving the other half for my other half – maybe) and I can not believe how much I like Sticky Toffee Pudding. This moist muffin/pudding/cake (what ever it is) is good by itself but then that cream on top just makes me want more. I could close my eyes and think I am in a cottage in the countryside having a home-made desert made by someone’s mum from an old family recipe and the cow in the yard. It makes me wonder what a warmed sticky moist bran muffin with half-&-half would be like? My Thanks, JeetJet?

                                                            2. re: JeetJet

                                                              I love the look of the old ship, I love the pub, the beer, the people, the servers.

                                                              I do not like the food.

                                                              Where do we start? This is indifferently prepared food, given little thought to taste. The fish and chips weren't seasoned correctly, the fried batter fell away from the fish and the chips weren't wedges but strips that you could find in a BAG. I wonder if the fish and chips are cooked fresh, or if they're bought frozen and fried. Methinks it's the latter.

                                                              The curries? Not great. It tastes like food prepared by cooks who've never traveled, haven't been trained, in short --they're following a formula of what they think British food used to be, not really tasting or cooking with passion or following as other British restaurants have done and kicking it up.

                                                              The meats were overcooked, the gravies... well, they were brown and lacked all of the nuance of a being done by a cook with a well developed palate. It's unfortunate, because while you can get away with this for awhile, with the advent of "foodies" and people becoming more aware of good eats and how to prepare food simply and properly, this simply won't do.

                                                              Yes, it can be A LOT better, especially at these prices.
                                                              The red flag is on the door: they've expanded their menu. This restaurant would be smart to choose one type of food and do it well.

                                                              Even though it's pub food, plenty of people have elevated to something savory and good. Old Ship needs to do the same, and quit tugging on my British roots in order to win my favour.

                                                  1. re: mjalz

                                                    One more to add to your, (now considerable) list. El Fortin for Oaxacan food. Good food at very fair prices.


                                                    1. re: tony michaels

                                                      Here here for El Fortin- when I read the post, I kept trying to remember the name of this place and I amglad you supplied it. My family ate there and I really loved anything with the Oaxaca cheese on it. I was not brave enough to try the grasshoppers (plus, I am vegetarian and insects are kind of out of the question. My brother loved the chile, with the stem still on! Really, a hole in the wall (poor temp control and obnoxious music) but GOOD eating!

                                                      We also love Anitas. Any of the stacked enchiladas are super! And really ncie staff. Super great value.

                                                      1. re: tony michaels

                                                        I was going to meet Mr OCAnn @ El Fortin last night. He got there first, called me on my mobile (as I was en route) and said:

                                                        "No one's in there and it doesn't look good."

                                                        "Well, I wanna try it."

                                                        "No, let's go somewhere else. Looks like we might get sick if we eat their food."

                                                        "Ok then, I'll go there w/o you during lunch another time."

                                                        "I just told you that you might get sick."

                                                        "Fine. I won't ever go."

                                                        So we both did take out. He was home & finished w/his dinner before I got home. I went to Molcasalsa on the n/e corner of Harbor Blvd & Imperial Hwy and had a HUGE carne asada chips & a large horchata, all out the window (take out only) for <$6. I was a bit disappointed w/the carne asada (dry & warm), but loved the onions, tomatoes, sour cream, beans & guac. It was a hearty meal for 2.

                                                        I'll be going to El Fortin either tomorrow or sometime next week. Alone.

                                                        1. re: OCAnn

                                                          Funny about never wanting to be the "first" customers. My wife feels the same way and I'm always like, "Let's give it a try". I look forward to your future bravery in the face of nay sayers. To you who are about to eat, we salute you! ;-D

                                                          1. re: OCAnn

                                                            HAHAHA- I have a pretty sensitive stomach and I did not get sick.

                                                            1. re: OCAnn

                                                              OCAnn, definitely go to El Fortin! If you like mole, try something with the mole negro (I like the enchiladas without the balls of chorizo on top).

                                                      2. For breakfast and lunch you might want to try the Brownstone Cafe inside the Villa del Sol (old California Hotel) on the corner of Harbor and Wilshire--same complex as Stadium Tavern but inside. (As an aside there's also a British Grocer there for anyone craving tinned food and candy from the UK.) The food at Brownstone is consistently good with excellent sandwiches and soup for lunch and it has a nice patio dining area. Sydney's Cafe (across Wilshire) is a vegan cafe and has some nice options in the no-animal-product context.

                                                        As a native New Mexican, I find Anita's a taste of home. Heroes and Roscoes are good places but Heroes can be really noisy. On the south side of Commonwealth east of Harbor is the Rail. Great burgers. Rutabegorz on Pomona south of Wilshire has excellent salads and a large menu, plus it's a pleasant and comfortable place.

                                                        If you want to head up Brea Blvd to downtown Brea (about 10 minutes) there is very good Italian at Pane e Vino. Down Birch St. across from Brea Mall there is good Indian at Shenai.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: stuffed

                                                          Just a note: The Rail is now closed. I think their location was taken over by the new nightclub next door (where the Indian restaurant used to be).

                                                          1. re: Just Cid

                                                            Thanks for the info. It's too bad but they struggled for a long time.