Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Mar 18, 2009 11:42 PM

The State of Spanish Food in the OC

What do we have for serious Spanish or Spanish-inspired restaurants in OC and Long Beach?

First and foremost, I would like to hear what's good, but I'd also be interested in suspect/prospect restaurants - places that you've heard about but may not have tried; in other words, a more-or-less comprehensive list.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: jaykayen

      That's about all I know also for the OC...

      1. re: J.L.

        What about Lazzaran in Fullerton? I read one review in the Register, and I've seen a couple comments on CH...?

        1. re: georgempavlov

          Lizzaran is a good, though not great, spot. A few of their menu items were strong; their pinxhos are good, but there is no "wow" factor.

    2. There is a new place in Costa Mesa that a friend just told me about (that makes it a prospect) called La Boqueria.

      In Long Beach, Alegria is Spanish inspired. They have some traditional Spanish dishes as well modern interpretations and regional foods (Latin American items that could be from dozens of countries, or none at al). I have eaten there several times and have always enjoyed my experience but I wouldn't confuse it with being in Spain.

      Across the street from Alegria is Cafe Sevilla, which also has San Diego and Riverside locations, I haven't been there but perhaps others on this board can comment.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Ringo Gato

        Oh yes, Boqueria is the new after-hours-at-Rooster's concept. Jeff and Julie's "Hidden Kitchen" - which was there - is now looking for another location so they can expand.

        Jack at Rooster tells me that they're doing quite well, but interested parties note - they're only open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, I believe.

        Rooster Cafe - by the way - has MUST try Pastrami - corned in-house.

        1. re: georgempavlov

          Lola Gaspar in Santa Ana's Artist Village opened recently. Only had the blue cheese stuffed dates wrapped in bacon, but they were delish! Not sure how authentic, but they have duck tacos and duck fat fries I think.

          I stopped by Boqueria last night, I had 4 tapas at $35 and still left hungry. I only liked the lamb dish, but it was tiny and $12. The fried potatoes and goat cheese sandwich were just ok, nothing I can't make at home in 5 minutes. The swiss chard was not good, had a pet bedding flavor. I'm used to bitter greens, but it didn't taste right at all to me.

      2. Haven't been, but there is Picante in Ladera Ranch, supposedly Spanish.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Allmodcons

          This place is owned by the same guy that owns Farantelli, I think.

        2. Tapas in Newport Beach right by John Wayne. Never been, but drove by it often when I worked in the area.

          There's Cafe Tu Tu Tango at the Block in Orange, also never been there. It's a chain and looking at their website almost gave me a seizure, so I wouldn't expect it to be any good

          4 Replies
          1. re: I got nothin

            Tu Tu Tango = not really Spanish, go to Lizarran instead.

            Black Sheep Bistro is your best bet.

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              Okay... Lazarran looks promising! Already know and love Black Sheep Bistro.

              1. re: georgempavlov

                Let me set expectations -- Lizarran is a tapas bar. It's small snack-type portions (mitjà racions) of food, a dozen kind of pintxos (stuff-on-bread-with-toothpick), a couple of paellas.

                By Barceloní standards, it's mediocre -- but by OC standards it's pretty good. You can safely miss out the paellas; they're better at BSB, but the small plates are very tasty and some of the pintxos are excellent.

            2. re: I got nothin

              Black Sheep Bistro is a solid place. I've had their oveja negra paella before which was really an overwhelming amount of food with about 50 mussels. Quite tasty. I've also had their lamb, which was prepared I remember in three different ways. I recall the wine list having quite of few of those easy drinking, light spanish wines- I think we had a nice albarino from rias biaxis. The owner/chef is a little quirky, and the room is a lttle dated, but comfortable- think your stereotypical grandma's house, but overall, it has me thinking why haven't been back recently.

              Cafe Tu Tu Tango is a hit/miss place that has a tapas like menu which runs the whole gamut of cuisines. Can't recall any particular dishes- I think they are inconsistent enough that what might be good on one trip might not be on another. Decent beer list, and because of the range of cuisines, usually pretty easy for everyone to pick out something that they might like.

              Been to Lizzaran once, but it was at a social event, so we pretty much ate at whatever was brought out. I thought the food was fine, though the temp on a few of the items seemed a little off. Need to go back to get a better feel for the place.

            3. Lizzaran is one of the better places in OC that participates on making it even more enticing to try out.