Garden Grove Dining Options
In late October, I'll be heading to Garden Grove for a two-day conference. I'm looking for well-prepared ethnic cuisines that I can't find in my home town in the Sierra -- which is pretty much anything ethnic other than Italian, Mexican, and Redneck. I've heard that Garden Grove is known for its Cantonese restaurants, but I'm open to SE Asian, Indian...basically, anything adventurous. I've been stuck in the mountains so long that price is no limitation. Help!
Do you mean De Simone's, on Edinger & Goldenwest in Huntington Beach? It's excellent for italian subs (and one of my local faves), but not worth wasting a precious meal on if one only has two days in which to search out truly unique ethnic food. If the OP had, say, a week, in GG, then I'd recommend De Simone's.
One thing to note is that Garden Grove contains Little Saigon. Going down Brookhurst, you'll have many Korean and Mexican options, and a whole grip of Vietnamese.
I think for adventurous, you have to go to Brodard behind the 99 Cent Store. Their nem nuong cuon is great. It's also got a pretty big menu there so you can explore other Viet food, though obviously other spots will specialize in various dishes (such as pho or bun bo hue).
In neighborhing town Westminster, check out Quanh Hy on the northside of Bolsa between Magnolia and Brookhurst. Shopping center looks like it was straight out of Vietnam. Incredible central vietnamese food (not the southern Pho, etc.) If you're craving that, check out Thanh My just west down Bolsa. Also a solid place, but Quanh Hy definitely takes cake in my book. Gotta go with the Banh Beo (#1), #3, #6, and the jack fruit salad. Staples.
I second Boiling Crab. Also, here's a list I put together in another post; most of the places aren't necessarily in Garden Grove but are in the surrounding areas.
Honda-Ya in Tustin - This place has got to be one of the staples of late night OC dining. If you want Izakaya you've got to go to this place but make sure you're ready to wait because there's always a line outside unless you get there right at 5:30 when they open. They've got some of the best yakiniku, if not the best in OC. I'd recommend the Chicken skin, ginko, crunchy rolls, pork belly, bacon wrapped asparagus, and the fried oysters. Of course, with a menu consisting of over a hundred items you really can't go wrong. This place is dinner service only.
Cafe Hiro in Cypress - This is a Japanese/French/Italian fusion establishment. The food here is really refreshing. Everything at this restaurant, right down to the stocks and sauces are done in house so everything tastes like a lot of time and effort went into preparing them. I'd recommend the osso bucco, peiking pork, shumai, crab croquette, the pasta cabonara and if you're lucky, the seafood gratin that they sometimes serve as a special. For desert the panna cotta and green tea blanc manger are perfect endings. If you visit this place, tell the Sous Chef "fry" sent you.
Anjin in Costa Mesa - Another late night staple. This place is basically Japanese style Korean BBQ. They've got awesome quality meat and some of the best cow tongue. I really recommend getting the Beef Tataki if you're willing to venture into the world of raw beef. An alternative to this place would be Tsuruhashi in Fountain Valley. I personally enjoy Anjin more than Tsuruhashi, but I will say that the latter restaurant gives you thicker cuts of meat and isn't as expensive. Be prepared to wait at both these places.
Le Croissant Dore in Westminster - If you want to try the more French influenced side of Vietnamese food then hit this place up. Order the beef stew with baguettes. At $5 you really can't go wrong. Plus, this is probably the best red wine beef stew you're going to get in OC at that price. I'd also recommend picking up a couple of fruit tarts; This place is famous for their tarts.
Fukada in Irvine - For something light and healthy try this place. This place is famous for it's Udon and Soba noodles that are made in house. The lunch crowd is usually packed so again, be prepared to wait. I'd recommend the Tendon with Hakada udon, fried oysters, crunchy roll, cold soba, chicken wings, and the braised beef.
Mangia Mangia in Huntington Beach - One of the best Italian restaurants in HB. Everything here is good and there's usually a good crowd so make reservations. If you're willing to spend a little bit of money, call a day before and order Gisepe's lobster special. You won't find it on the menu but locals and people who frequent this place know that this is some of the best lobster you'll find. Really I'd recommend any seafood dish. Stay away from the Plain Jane pasta dishes as there's really nothing spectacular there that you can't find at any other Italian joint.
Garlic Jo's in Corona Del Mar - This is an Japanese Italian fusion restaurant. Really, it's Italian food with a bit of Japanese flair. This place is right next to Fashion Island so if you're gonna do a little shopping then I'd make a trip down to Garlic Jo's. If you come here you must get the scallop calpaccio because it's simply to die for. Another must is the shrimp & mayonnaise pizza; this place makes their pizza more like the Italians make it, very thin. Other recommendations would be the garlic bread, shrimp alfredo fettuccine, garlic fried rice, original garlic chicken, and the original garlic steak (order it rare as it comes on a hot plate and will continue to cook when they serve it to you).
Tri Village in Irvine - For authentic Chinese and the best Peking Duck this side of China you must visit this establishment. Really, I just recommend coming here for the duck but make sure you call a day in advance and order it otherwise they'll sell out. I'd also recommend the pork belly, the mayonnaise and walnut shrimp, and the banana's foster.
I hope this helps you out. I know most of the joints I've listed are Asian but, I'm Asian so that's what I like to eat :) Realistically, in OC your best bet is to find the hole-in-the-wall places. There are tons of chain restaurants that will charge you an arm in a leg and provide you with ridiculously pretentious service but you'll never be as satisfied as you will be if you go to one of the places I've listed. Of course, if you enjoy spending money then by all means, Roy's at Fashion Island and places like Ruth's Chris in Irvine would love your company.
Thai Nakorn, on Beach and Chapman in Stanton (bear in mind that Google will find the old Garden Grove address, which has burned down).
King Harbor Seafood -- while I wouldn't say Garden Grove is known for its Cantonese food (that'd be the San Gabriel Valley), this is a very tasty place.
Com Tam Thuan Kieu, on Brookhurst and 13th -- no decor whatsoever but fantastic Viet broken rice dishes.
Vien Dong, across from CTTK -- get bun cha Ha Noi (make-your-own bowls of rice noodles, herbs and utterly delicious grilled pork and meatballs in a papaya-based sauce), or cha ca thanh long (fajita-style fish with dill). Their nem ran (also called cha gio, which are Vietnamese spring rolls) are also fantastic.
Lo Banh Mi Cho Cu, on Magnolia and Hazard just into Westminster -- fantastic sandwiches for $1.50 or $2.00 each. And get the iced coffee but bear in mind you will be up for HOURS on it.
Lighthouse on Garden Grove Blvd. for Korean barbecue.
11951 Beach Blvd, Stanton, CA 90680
King Harbor Seafood Restaurant
13018 Harbor Blvd, Garden Grove, CA 92843
Com Tam Thuan Kieu
14282 Brookhurst St Ste 2, Garden Grove, CA 92843
14271 Brookhurst St, Garden Grove, CA 92843
re: Das Ubergeek
The last link (seems to be four per post limit), plus of course you must stop at Joe's Italian Ice and at Van's Bakery (get the fantastic, sublime pandan waffles -- they're green).
Banh Mi Cho Cu Bakery
14520 Magnolia St, Westminster, CA 92683
Joe's Italian Ice
12302 Harbor Blvd, Garden Grove, CA 92840
14346 Brookhurst St, Garden Grove, CA 92843