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Jul 2, 2009 02:23 PM

Need Orange County Ethnic Restaurant Recomendations for Tonight

Im looking to start the 3day weekend off right. Im going with another person and dont want to drive all the way to Los Angeles. Im looking to spend about 10-25 per person. Im open to any ethnic recommendations...

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  1. It would help to know where you are. OC is a big place, especially factoring in traffic

    2 Replies
    1. re: Professor Salt

      Im in Mission Viejo, but willing to drive anywhere in Orange County.

      1. re: raidahguy

        Probably the best pho joint in South County is Pho Bo Vang in Lake Forest. No atmosphere to speak of but the soup is good, and it's well under your budget. It's not quite as good as the best Little Saigon joints, but it's convenient for folks in your part of the county.

        I like Thai Cafe in Irvine. Expect dishes to be in the $15-20 per entree range because it's a nicer looking room with better than average food. They do some excellent traditional dishes (pad see ewe is terrific) and some unusual ones (like the rainbow trout with green apple). Different from the ubertraditional Thai restaurants in north county (Thai Nakorn, ferinstance) but for somewhat gringo'ed menu, Thai Cafe is damn good.

        It's in the Irvine Chinatown neighborhood (Walnut & Jeffrey), so there's also lots of other "ethnic" choices in this vicinity. I like Chef Chen on the other side of Walnut, for starters. There are Sichuan, Taiwanese, Cantonese and Chiu Chow regional Chinese restaurants in this neighborhood as well as Korean and Japanese options. If you want more specific flavors of "ethnic" now's the time to speak up.

        A little further north in Tustin and you'll get Japanese izakaya food at both Oki Doki and Honda Ya. Both are excellent at what they do. There's Tropika if you want Malaysian-Thai-Chinese (try the Chilean seabass dish for two). There's Haveli for Northern Indian food, probably my favorite Indian restaurant in OC. There's some good Italian choices in Tustin too. What are you hungry for?

    2. There is Felix Cafe in Old Town Orange that is Cuban/Carribean food. Great prices, good food but usually a little bit of a wait.

      Caspian in Irvine for Persian Food

      Brussles Bistro in Laguna Beach

      Indian Food - Clay Oven (Irvine), Saagar (Near John Wayne, Newport), Royal Khyber (South Coast)

      Peruvian, Inka Mamas or Inka Grill all over OC

      Golden Truffle in Costa Mesa

      Shabu Shabu - One at the Block and California Shabu Shabu in Costa Mesa

      Evas Caribbean Kitchen in South Laguna

      Habana at the Lab in Costa Mesa is yummy too

      Capo Honda in Fountian Valley is really good Japanese Tapas

      5 Replies
      1. re: mamajenna

        Thanks for the replies guys. There is definitely some interesting ones. How about Mediterranean (cant go wrong with the olive oil and grilled meats), South American or Puerto Rican (Mofongo sounds good...)?

        1. re: raidahguy

          Well for Mediterranean I would say go to Open Seasame in Belmont Shores. I know its not OC but its really not far. The food is GREAT and Belmont Shores is SO Cute!

          And again Caspian is so good especially if you like Mediterranean. Or there is always Panini in CDM and by the airport.

          1. re: raidahguy

            Our Latino demographic in the LA. area is really light on puertoriquenos. Can't think of one PR restaurant in OC, but who knows, they might be out there.

            Peruvian - Inka Mama's in Foothill Ranch is my favorite of the OC choices. There are two others in Lake Forest (Inka Grill on Rockfield and Nory's, in the same center as Pho Bo Vang), but Mama's is the best IMO.

            Argentine - Empanada Man in Foothill is just ok. I'm not in love with it, but besides Pasta Connection in Orange, I can't think of too many Argentinian places in OC.

            Brazilian - if you want churrasco, Agora in Irvine is a very good option. It's the all you can eat style of rodizio (plus buffet) but it's way over your budget.

            "Mediterranean" is code for "Persian" in the Irvine-Mission Viejo valley. Is that what you want, or are you looking for some other cuisine?

            1. re: Professor Salt

              For Persian definitely Naan and Kebob in Tustin. Low on ambiance, high on deliciousness. Open Sesame is alright, not worth the drive for me, but it is unique and in a walkable area.

              1. re: Professor Salt

                Haven't been there, but Senor Big Ed in Cypress serves Puerto Rican food and mofongo.


                Senor Big Ed
                5490 Lincoln Ave, Cypress, CA 90630

          2. Here's my thread on Best Asian food in North OC

            It has some Irvine, Tustin, HB, Costa Mesa recs in it, so you don't have to drive too far.

            1. Probably too late, but here's a list of Viet places: