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Apr 24, 2007 08:19 PM

Wasting Gas In Fullerton

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.

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  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 -

                              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~