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Best Mexican, comfort food and sushi in Anaheim/Newport/HB areas?

We'll be in town the last week in March. I'm originally from CA but it's been a LONG time since I've visited....thanks!

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  1. Sushi: Bluefin, Wasa, Shibucho, Hamamori, Maki-Zushi.

    Mexican: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/590773

    1 Reply
    1. DU's given you the right leads for Mexican and Sushi. As for comfort food in the area, that's a tough one. For me, comfort food can mean a lot of different things: Ramen from Santouka or Shin Sen Gumi, Pho or Bun Thit Nuong from a dozen different places in Little Saigon, some yakiniku from Tsuruhashi, a Philly cheesesteak and cheese wiz fries from Philly's Best, menudo and a crunchy taco from George's mexican food (actually those last two are more like hangover food).
      If you are looking for classic comfort food, there's Watson's Diner in Old Town Orange, Paul's Coffee Shop in Fountain Valley, or maybe Tulsa Rib Company in Orange (their fries are super-addictive). I guess some of Old Vine Cafe's breakfast/lunch Menu could be considered comfort food (creamy cheese grits, biscuits & gravy, Prime Rib and Truffle pannini)
      http://www.oldvinecafe.com/

      1. All of my recs are for the Newport area;

        For Mexican while not the best, we really enjoy El Ranchito on the Balboa Peninsula (not the Corona Del Mar location). It has a great patio and that cool laid back beach vibe. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Javiers in Newport Coast. This is a total luxe Dodd Mitchell designed Mexican restaurant. Overpriced but you get a nice ambiance with a killer view of the Pacific. If you want to eat mexican in flip flops and board shorts go El Ranchito.
        http://www.el-ranchito.com/
        http://www.javiers-cantina.com/

        For sushi I have to highly recommend Bluefin. This place has gotten some knocks lately, mostly because the owner Takashi Abe hasn't been there as much. Sadly..his other restaurant Izakaya Zero in Huntington Beach has closed, so I expect he will be at Bluefin much more often. This is still my favorite non-traditional sushi in the Newport area. This is in the same plaza as Javiers.
        http://www.bluefinbyabe.com/

        For comfort..and I guess everyone has their own idea of what comfort food is, but my idea of comfort food is fatty burgers, osso bucco, roasted chicken, lamb chops, pot roast, tasty steaks etc. The problem is that most places that make this food in Newport area not using the best quality ingredients (Blue Beet, The Alley, even the relocated Arches). The exception to the rule is A Restaurant. This is in the former famouse Arches restaurant on PCH. Same old school vibe with amazing updated comfort food. We have been many times and it just gets better and better.

        They also serve steak tartar, pork belly, chicken liver terrine. I also love that the steaks are served with a separate bone filled with tasty bone marrow which I often order a whole plate of.

        http://www.arestaurantnb.com/

        4 Replies
        1. re: cdmedici

          cdmedici - El Ranchito in Newport is actually located by the Newport Peninsula and not Balboa. The only Mexican place in Balboa is Cabo Cantina. But both of these places are good.

          For good comfort food that has a mix of Mexican and American is Mutt Lynch's right on the beach.

          1. re: Jaytizzle

            Good call. There is nothing more comforting on a sunny saturday or sunday than a schooner of beer at Mutt's, an order of fried pickles and a view of the boardwalk and newport pier.

            1. re: Jaytizzle

              huh??? I have lived her my entire life and not sure what you are talking about. It has always been called the balboa peninsula. Anything east of 45th street is the Balboa Peninsula. Do you mean it is by the Newport Pier and not the Balboa Pier? If that is what you mean than you are correct.

              1. re: Jaytizzle

                There's only one peninsula. I've only heard it called the Balboa Peninsula, and Caltrans thinks so too, since that's what the signs on PCH for Newport Blvd headed toward the end of the peninsula say.

            2. Here are the links.

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              Mutt Lynch's
              2300 W Oceanfront, Newport Beach, CA 92663

              El Ranchito Mexican Restaurant
              2800 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663

              1. One of my best friend's Mom (who happens to be Japanese from Japan) enjoys the HB Todai AYCE. If you get there early, the best and the freshest stuff is available.
                Comfort food to me is sweets. Sprinkles Cupcakes has a location in Newport...and I believe the Original Pancake House is in Anaheim. I love Sprinkles red velvet with cream cheese frosting...the best I've ever had. And pancakes at the Original Pancake House never disappoints.

                10 Replies
                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    Mutt Lynch's? Really?
                    Love the place but the food???

                    1. re: cls

                      Beer + cheesy/greasy food = comfort the morning after a long night. By no means is Mutt's a destination for a well-crafted meal, but it is comforting.

                    2. re: Das Ubergeek

                      I ditto ya Das Ubergeek. When it comes to sushi, never, ever do the buffet style restaurants. They're an insult to a real made fresh in front of you sushi bar!

                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                        I know...it is a Todai, but not part of the Todai franchise. It's run by an independent group based in Japan, I think. The sushi is made only a few pieces at a time, and if i actually sits out long (which it doesn't) they'll toss it. I was a skeptic until my friend's Mom suggested it one time, and it turned out to be one of the nicest AYCE experiences I've ever had. She's Japanese from Japan, so she doesn't kid about sushi.

                        1. re: attran99

                          She may be Japanese, but that doesn't necessarily make her a Japanese CH. I've seen many folks from here dine @ McDonald's abroad and that doesn't speak to McDonald's quality. If anything, they're nostalgic for food from "home" whether it's good, bad or in between.

                          1. re: OCAnn

                            Here's the deal...she's got discerning tastes...I've known her long enough to understand that. None of her recs have ever been bad...from the tiny little holes in the walls in Torrance where you can only order in Japanese...and yes, even to the places I never thought I would like. So I'm not listing recs just to list recs.

                              1. re: attran99

                                Yeah, your mom and I part ways on this one.

                        2. re: attran99

                          In Balboa is Great Mex which is a hole in the wall Mexican place next to the theatre.
                          That's where all the locals go and it is very good.

                        3. Hmmm...comfort food in Anaheim would lead me to Darya's on Tustin (not quite Anaheim, as it's in Orange, but it's close) for some Persian.

                          -----
                          Darya Restaurant
                          1998 N Tustin St, Orange, CA 92865

                          1. I have had some good food at Taco Rosa in Newport Beach on two previous occasions. They even have an AYCE champagne brunch on the weekends.

                            http://www.tacorosa.com/

                            -----
                            Taco Rosa
                            2632 San Miguel Dr, Newport Beach, CA 92660

                            1. Personally, for mexican food, I grew up eating at a small chain called Don Jose (also has a few locations under the name Ricardo's) and I love eating there whenever I return to the OC. Granted, this is more american style mexican food and not regional, say oaxacan, cooking. The chimichangitas are delicious. The portions are huge. The guac is great. The free chips and salsa are addictive. The enchiladas are tasty. And, they have margaritas you can do the back stroke in.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: DrBruin

                                I ate at Ricardo's in Orange and each time lamented the wasted opportunity to eat a meal out every time. I'd sooner recommend El Torito.

                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                  Well, everyone's entitled to their opinion. I have been going there since childhood, so I suppose it has a special place in my heart. I'm sure even the ubergeek has a place near and dear to his/her heart that other people would cringe at. And, Ricardo's and Don Jose are far superior to the schlock that El Torito puts out. It's funny, how the ubermeister has been to Ricardo's on more than one occasion. If a place is THAT bad, I wouldn't go back.

                                  1. re: DrBruin

                                    I've been twice. Once to try it and once to convince myself that I wasn't hallucinating, they didn't have a bad day, etc. I've also been to Don Jose's in HB and found it to be just utterly meh.

                                    Of course I have places that would shock others. I love E-Z Cheez on Chikin-in-a-Biskit, for crying out loud, and I'm secretly addicted to Egg McMuffins, though the sausage-egg-and-cheese muffins at Choco-Latte in Orange are a close substitute when I don't feel like I can support McDonalds... but I still hate Ricardo's and would actively refuse to eat there if I could get away with it and not look too persnickety.

                                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                        Well here you are again Geek, bashing another one of my favorite restaurants - LOL. You've obviously never had a Rosiarita there or the Paco's Tacos - yum! You should stay at home and cook ;)

                                        1. re: HikerGrl63

                                          I have been to, and enjoy, Paco's Tacos (assuming you mean the combo-plate place in Westchester, up near LAX). It was two years ago that I went to Ricardo's and I still won't go, not when Mariscos Puerto Esperanza is just about the same distance away.

                                          And for tacos -- well, I live in Anaheim, it isn't really very hard to get good tacos here, no need to drive to Orange for them. :)

                                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                            Das Ubergeek I couldn't agree with you more. You don't have to leave Anaheim to get great authentic Mexican tacos or other traditional Mexican food. Taqueria Garcia is about as authentic/traditional Mexican food as you're going to get. If you like sour cream...shredded monterey jack/cheddar cheeses and such go to Don Jose's, I'm guessing Ricardos (I've never eaten there), or El Torito. If you want crema and queso fresco and such go to the aforementioned Taqueria Garcia.

                                  2. How about El Farolito in Placentia for Mexican? Comfort food for me is Vietnamese, just search Vietnamese in Little Saigon in the LA search board.

                                    1. Best Mexican: La Chiquita in Santa Ana, Fiesta Mexicana Market in Anaheim,Carnitas El Rey in Orange, and El Gallo Giro in Santa Ana-The Platinum Standard for Taquerias

                                      1. If you want a fun breakfast in a diner that's been around since the 40's, try The Galley. It's hidden at the end of a residential street off Bayside Dr. in Newport. They have a good chili-cheese omelet (American cheese) and great shakes. No website and I think cash only.
                                        829 Harbor Island Dr
                                        Newport Beach, CA 92660
                                        (949) 673-4110

                                        1. Mariscos Puerto Esperanza in Orange is the BEST Mexican food on OC for sure!

                                          1. Thanks for the recs everyone! Here are my reviews...

                                            Jagerhaus - FABULOUS breakfast....I had the apple pancake (YUM!) and my hubby had the brat omelet....wonderful

                                            Maki Zushi - OMG - hands down the best sushi we've EVER had...fresh, delicious and very reasonable in price...only drawback was that it's in suburbia - had a HORRIBLY obnoxious family next to us with a verbally abusive dad...ick.