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Good eats near the Bowers Museum?

We'll be seeing the Terra Cotta Warriors this weekend at the Bowers in Santa Ana. We might go early for lunch or stay later in Santa Ana for dinner. Aside from the cafe at the Bowers, where would be the best place (good food, needn't be fancy) and fairly close by? Is the Green Parrot still a good choice, and what to order or avoid? What else within a 10 - 15 minute drive? Thanks!

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  1. I'd suggest lunch at Original Mike's, 1st and Main. Great burgers, sit-down atmosphere.

      1. re: OCAnn

        I hate to say this... but I ate there last week, and I was so disappointed I had to talk to the manager. He was very kind and apologetic, but the fact is that the food has really slipped there, even at the Tustin mothership.

        I'm sad -- it was a great place -- but the downhill slide combined with high prices is just... not... doing it for me. There are so many better places now to spend $30 on dinner.

        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          My husband and I tried Zov's a year ago for dinner, spent over $100 on food, and were not impressed. The quality of the food was average, at best, and the service was subpar. I'm surprised that so many Chowhounds seem to like this place!

      2. The Green Parrot is a good choice. They do lunch on weekdays only right now, their dinner hours have been cut back to Tuesday through Friday with private events on the weekends. Times are tough for this local restaurant so if you are coming on a weekday please support them! The specials are always great, especially fish specials. And the chef cooks a mean steak! Soups are made to order so sometimes take a bit longer, something to be aware of.
        The Orange Circle is close by (just go up Main to Chapman, then to east towards the circle), lots of good choices there. Avoid The Chili Pepper on Main.

        1. Nothing against Santa Ana--and there are some fine places right around there--but everytime we go to the Bowers (or anything nearby) we always end up heading over to Little Saigon to eat afterward. Most recently we had a great late afternoon meal at Xanh on Brookhurst. Admittedly it's a few minutes outside your 15 minute perimeter (Google Maps says 18 minutes from the Bowers). http://www.chowhound.com/topics/492426

          However, en route, we noticed the bright colors of El Rincon Chilango, a Mexico City-style restaurant on 17th near Bristol (and well within your request zone). We haven't tried it ourselves yet, but it looks great and has gotten some rave reviews here. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/382930

          Original Mike's
          100 S Main St, Santa Ana, CA 92701

          Rincon Chilango
          1133 W 17th St, Santa Ana, CA 92706

          Xanh Bistro
          16161 Brookhurst St, Fountain Valley, CA 92708

          Green Parrot Cafe
          2035 N Main St, Santa Ana, CA

          1 Reply
          1. re: PayOrPlay

            Rincon Chilango - this sounds really interesting and different! The other couple we're going with enjoy unique places and food, so this might just fit the bill. I rmember being intrigued when the original review was posted, but we usually end up in Old Town Orange when out that way, so this will be something new. Thanks PayOrPlay!

          2. I always have a great time at Citrus City Grille. Its located in Old Towne Orange on Glassell. Try the Stuffed Chicken Breast, Sea Bass, or the amazing Pot Roast (not kidding).

            1. I liked El Curtido for their Pupusas

              1. We went to a Vietnamese restaurant called "Favori". It's been a couple of year so I don't recalled the location exactly but do remember it was fairly close to the museum. I remembered the restaurant was very nice and the food they served was more toward French fusion. The prices were about medium and we really enjoyed their food.

                Here's their website:


                1. I don't suppose there's any good Chinese food near the museum? Does anyone know? After viewing the Terra Cotta Warriors, I'd kind of like to eat Chinese food.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: slacker

                    Not immediately adjacent, but there's King Harbor Seafood on Garden Grove Boulevard and Harbor Boulevard, or a bit further is Mas Islamic Chinese on Orangethorpe between Raymond/East and Lemon in Anaheim -- or the same distance the other way will bring you to a number of tasty Chinese places right off the 5 at Culver.

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                      Who about Pina's on 1st St in Tustin for Italian and some of the greatest tiramisu in town, not to mention great meatballs. Eggplant parmesan is also good.

                      1. re: kevin

                        Pinas is awesome, just overpriced. Really good though!

                    2. Reporting back: Enjoyed the Terra Cotta Warriors, and with friends in tow, proceeded afterwards to Rincon Chilango, ready for a dining adventure. As promised, it was quite the colorful attraction, but we were unprepared for the walk-up window atmosphere and the small inside dining area (tables only) which was just about full. We considered eating outside but with the chill in the air and the noise from the traffic along 17th, we opted to move on. Noted The Olde Ship across the way, and kept that in mind, recalling good reports.Turning to our GPS system, we located the Silver Dragon just down the street and in a few moments walked into a laviously decorated dining room that was obviously prepared for a wedding party that was already arriving. After finding this to be their only dining area, decided to drive back to The Olde Ship and were not disappointed. The interior is very British, quite delightful, and lots of tables (some created from Old Singer Sewing machine stands that were very ornately cast) as well as cozy booths with high backs. Lots of quaint decor to enjoy. We were seated at a booth which gave us relative privacy to "catch up" conversationally with the other couple, who were long-time friends. The food was quite good as was the service. Portions were substantial. I opted for the Beef Wellington and hubby had their version of a shepherd's pie. Our friends had "bangers and mash" and a chicken and rice plate. There were also several Indian-inspired dishes on the menu. We will revisit Rincon Chilango some time for lunch or take-out. Thanks for all the tips, Chowhounders!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Joani Macaroni

                        I would've recommended Olde Ship except I read this too late. Love how this is randomly in Santa Ana. Been here a number of times, and I think it has a fabulous laid back appeal (and eats, of course).

                      2. I took the suggestion of Rincon Chilango. It's right around the block from Bowers, a very casual place. Looks like take out, but they have table service. This was alright with us, as we were in a bit of a hurry and authentic food always wins over decor in my book any day.

                        On to the food - FANTASTIC! Some different twists to old favorites, I guess it's considered Mexico city style. The whole menu was in spanish, we were the only caucasians there - always a good sign in an ethnic restaurant ;) I just asked what was unique and spicy, the waiter was very helpful. I ordered a very thinly sliced flap meat, cooked in a spicy tomatillo sauce. Very tasty, haven't seen it at the regular mexican restaurants.

                        VERY reasonable prices, GREAT food, CASUAL atmosphere. If you're into authentic, give it a try.

                        Ye Olde Ship is also a good choice right across the street if you feel like British cuisine in a pub setting. I liked the fish and chips there, they serve it in one big filet with multiple sauces - good stuff when you have the craving!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Sandwalker

                          We visited the fabulous exhibit of the TerraCotta Warriors today and attempted to have lunch at the Green Parrot. Sadly, it no longer exists. It went out of business we were told.
                          Instead we had lunch at the Patina restaurant at the museum. It was... Patina...
                          But they were very nice and the setting was lovely.
                          Don't miss the Warriors. They leave Oct 16th!

                          1. re: compucook

                            Mme ZoeZ, Chowpup and I went to the exhibit of the TC Warriors yesterday and agree with Compucook - Don't miss it. Fabulous event.
                            We chose the Puerto Rican food at Senor Ed's in Cypress and were not disappointed - the stuffed canoe (banana stuffed with ground meat and covered with cheese was just the lunch we needed together with a plate of appetizers and the addictive 'crisp' of cornmeal/pork rinds covered in sliced pork. Oh, its back to WeightWatchers tomorrow - this is a once a year meal - but a lot of fun (adored the coconut soda too).