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Anaheim and Venice Beach

I just found out I have to meet some clients in Anaheim next week - does anyone have any recommendations for places to eat? I don't intend to rent a car, and will probably get around on the metro (is that even a good idea? I've never been to L.A. and don't know the best ways to get around).

Also, I'm meeting a friend on Sunday and will probably head out to Venice Beach/Santa Monica - maybe Chinatown - to do the touristy thing and hang out - any recommendations for good eats around there? We will have a car and do not have any plans yet - so I'm open to any advice here.

I like most types of foods, and am mostly interested in those everyday places that locals eat at. No chains, please (unless it's a really good regional chain). I'm not really on a budget, but also not really interested in hitting the fine dining places either.

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  1. If you take the Metrolink to Anaheim, the stop will be in the Anaheim Stadium's parking lot. Outside of a handful of chains (from meh to decent), your only option is JT Schmids on Katella, since The Catch is closed for renovation. If you decide to hoof it, it'll be about a 15 minute walk.

    1. Venice Beach/Santa Monica and Chinatown are nowhere near each other, so I'm not sure if you're thinking that you'll hit all those spots on the same day.

      There are a million options in Venice and Santa Monica. If you want to be within walking distance of the beach, then the best options are probably along Abbot Kinney in Venice or Main St. in Santa Monica. Joe's in Venice for brunch is excellent, Chaya Venice is a nice and reliable spot on Main St., Sunday afternoons at 4 PM there is live Irish music at Finn McCools on Main St., 3 Square Bakery & Cafe is a very good casual place on Abbot Kinney -- there are lots of options.

      Further afield, you can check out Monte Alban for wonderful Oaxacan food and Anisette for a gorgeous French brasserie.

      1. No, I wasn't planning on hitting all those areas in one day - they were just ideas as to where we might go. Since we'll have two little girls with us, I was thinking maybe something outdoor around Venice Beach - maybe a stand?

        Really, I'm just trying to avoid having to eat dinner at Downtown Disney.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jazzy77

          In venice, you could go to Gaby's, which is a lebanese restaurant right near the venice pier. or you could go to Figtree Cafe, which is at the other end of the venice boardwalk, right on the beach. Both would be fine with kids.

        2. if you are looking for something cute on the beach that still has excellent food i suggest this restaurant literally on the sand called back on the beach. Unfortunately i don't know the address, but i am sure if you look it up on google you will find it. It is located right along the PCH and it is right next to the bike path. While you eat your dinner or lunch, they also have a fantastic brunch, i suggest the home fries, you can put out your feet in the sand and relax. They have excellent lobster and fries and have great quesadillas with big pieces of lobster as well. its a great place if you are willing to go for the drive or in your case metro.

          3 Replies
          1. re: zoememel

            Back on the beach is no longer there.

            1. re: whatsfordinner

              really where did it go! i love that place

              1. re: zoememel

                It was torn down at about the same time they tore down the old Sand and Sea. I haven't heard whether it will be back or not.

          2. I second Joe's in Venice, good (Michelin starred) food in a casual (but not too casual) atmosphere. Was just there a few days ago: http://www.kevineats.com/2008/08/joes...

            And if you're in Anaheim, don't dismiss Downtown Disney. Napa Rose at the Grand Californian is one of the best restaurants in Orange County in my opinion, super casual too: http://www.kevineats.com/2008/07/napa...

            1. Thanks everyone for posting your recs! Gaby's and Figtree look great, and Joe's looks awesome.

              kevin_h, okay...okay...I'll take a look at Downtown Disney. I live in Orlando and have found the restaurants at our Downtown Disney to be lacking (although Orlando hounds also tell people not to discount DD as well.). In fact, I find most Disney food to be bland, so I was planning on avoiding the area as whole. However, I may check it out during the week if my coworkers agree.

              4 Replies
              1. re: jazzy77

                If you do go to DtD, then the place to go is Napa Rose. It's probably one of OC's top 5 restaurants...a bit pricier, but it also has one of the best wine lists in OC. While I don't think it's super casual as kevin says, it's a nice restaurant that serves the tourist population, so folks going in shorts are about as common as those going in jeans or khakis.

                EDIT: I'll also have to add Yamabuki (at the Paradise Pier hotel) to be a good Japanese restaurant in DtD.

                1. re: OCAnn

                  Note that those are Disney-owned restaurants in the hotels -- the Downtown Disney stuff not owned by Disney is just kind of "meh".

                  What about k'ya in the Hotel Ménage?

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    I've eaten at Hotel Menage, k'ya in Anaheim, very good...they also have one in Laguna Beach at La Casa del Camino and the Chef is excellent... You should give it a try.

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                      k'ya @ the Hotel Menage is a beautiful spot, but the food was a hit or miss. My review from earlier this year: chowhound.chow.com/topics/492709

                      I haven't been back.