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Nov 10, 2008 09:15 AM


Dear South OC deinzens and weekend visitors,

While I dearly hope that 2009 brings about change at the Board level of Chow, whereby the owners who have found the bandwidth for the busy noisy slow homepage find just a little more to give OC its own board, I hereby open the voting for BEST OF SOUTH ORANGE COUNTY. Face it, we don't have tons of choices. I'm still ready to drive to Garden Grove and Buena Park and WLA for a great meal. But not every day. And even Tustin and Santa Ana are out of reach without a really good reason or a full day out. We can usually get to San Diego faster than to San Fernando. In short, we need to know where to eat HERE.

The categories for Best Restaurants for 2008 in South Orange County are:

FANCY (Any Food Type Fine)
Expense Account Dinner
Romantic Dinner
28-30 Z-Level Food Rating
Brunch Buffet

Pan Asian Not Thai or Chinese
Japanese Beyond Sushi

Ice Cream/Gelato
Bakery (note for pie/bread/both)
Buffet or AYCE (Not Hotel/American, Chinese, Sushi, whatever)

No more than 3 votes per category. Definitely need not vote on every category in order to participate. I will collect all votes on 12/15 and announce the winners. Feel free to add new categories should you wish and vote on other posters' categories beyond mine.

So what's "South" mean? It means Newport Beach, Irvine, Lake Forest, RSM, All Viejos, all Lagunas, Dana Point, SJC, and San Clemente.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH for reading and participating.

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  1. Here's a little of my info. The stuff I left blank I really couldn't think of any off the top of my head. Oh well!!

    FANCY (Any Food Type Fine)
    Expense Account Dinner - Maestros in Crystal Cove
    Romantic Dinner - I like Javiers in Crystal Cove & Mozambeque in Laguna
    28-30 Z-Level Food Rating
    Brunch Buffet - Ritz Carlton Dana Point
    Steakhouse - Maestros

    American/Californian - Mutt Lynch's in Newport...HAHA!!
    Seafood/Mediterranean - Blue Water Grill
    Indian -
    Chinese -
    Pan Asian Not Thai or Chinese
    Sushi - To many to choose from. I like Sushi Wave because it's closer to my house.
    Japanese Beyond Sushi
    Italian - Roman Cuccina
    Mexican - El Toro - Love the Lengua Tacos

    Burger -
    Pizza - Al's Pizza Costa Mesa or NY Upper Crust
    Taco/Burrito - El Toro...Gotta love that Lengua
    Ice Cream/Gelato
    Bakery (note for pie/bread/both)
    Buffet or AYCE (Not Hotel/American, Chinese, Sushi, whatever)

    1. Newport in SOC? That opens up a Panora's box to include Costa Mesa, Tustin, Irvine etc... a slippery slope indeed.

      8 Replies
      1. re: JAB

        South OC'ers, weigh in!

        Jaytizzle, well done, thank you.

        JAB, I hear you. I'm prepared to say no to Irvine and Newport Beach if need be, but Costa Mesa and Tustin are definitely out. My thinking is that Laguna Beach/Dana Point/Aliso Viejo type residents are ready to travel north/east/northeast to Irvine and NB.

        1. re: JAB

          South OC has to start somewhere, and the NB/CM area seems to be about right, as noted in the Wikipedia entry on Orange County.

          I nominate Stonehill Tavern for "28-30 Z-Level Food Rating," the Anaheim Original Pancake House for "Best Breakfast" (a much-needed category), and Gulliver's for "Best American - NOT FANCY," even though it's a tiny bit fancy.

          1. re: sbritchky

            I meant the OPH in Aliso Viejo, not Anaheim (given the SOC focus).

            Say, where are all those South Orange County 'hounds and visitors that gadflier thinks exist? Or maybe most of them don't want a separate OC board??

            1. re: sbritchky

              ladera ranch here, and yes i'd like an OC board

              that is all

              [transmission terminated]

          2. re: JAB

            Why exclude Huntington Beach, Tustin, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley & Costa Mesa???
            We're not LA either and you've included central OC with the South... Don't leave us out!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            1. re: janetms383

              Friends, I certainly don't want to create a OC internal border flame war! I think it's true that a) South OC has more trouble finding Chow-quality food than nearly any other region on this Board, and b) most of LA (except say, the Valley) and North OC interact pretty well. But I do think OC needs its own board.

              NOW WHERE ARE THE VOTERS FOR OC BEST OF!?! Please, come out and vote.

              1. re: gadflier

                Folks, please keep the local boards focused on the chow. We discuss site questions like creating new boards on the Site Talk forum, so further talk about the creation of a separate Orange County board will be removed.

                It also happens to be a request we hear all over the site. Please see

                1. re: The Chowhound Team

                  We all apologize "The Chowhound Team." Post remains active South OC voters! But let's just talk about your votes, to stay within TOS. THANKS VOTERS!

          3. Tasty Thai for Thai Food. Their green curry is phenomenal.

            Japanese (not Sushi) is kinda hairy... Fukada for udon and lunch bowl combo (CHEAP! Well, at least for Japanese food), and then there's some regular dinner joints like Uoko and Japon OC Dining.

            For Indian, there's a little Indian buffet off of Alicia Pkwy (Mission Viejo), right in the same shopping center as Maw & Paw Kettelkorn... Anyone ring a bell? They have awesome rice pudding (and curry).

            Tasty Thai
            22722 Lambert St 1704, Lake Forest, CA

            Uoko Japanese Cuisine
            23600 Rockfield Blvd # 2I, El Toro, CA

            4 Replies
              1. re: Jigsaw

                Yep, that's Natraj. I go there for lunch occasionally, and while not the best Indian I've ever had, it works well in the "not fancy" category.

                For Thai, I'd say Thai Palace in the Edward's shopping center off of Aliso Creek.