HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Feb 14, 2005 04:57 PM

Chinese in South OC

  • b

Anyone know of any good Chinese food down in South Orange County? We haven't had much like since we moved here a few months ago.

Thanks in advance

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'm not sure what area South OC is . . . but there are quite a few places in Irvine.
    There is the Culver Plaza off Culver Blvd (I forget the cross street) but there is Sam Woo, 99 ranch etc. There is a tea station in that plaza - so maybe u can search for that address.

    There is also two plazas on Jeffrey and something (I don't know the cross street). One of the plaza's is called Arbor something plaza - there are all sorts of different asian foods - taiwanese, chinese, korean, vietnamese, boba places, etc. Maybe do a search on Tapioca Express in Irvine and you will come upon on that plaza. There is also a restaurant called A&J

    Sorry can't help much with the address, not that familiar with Orange County/Irvine.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Alice

      Wow! Thanks for the prompt response. Those are all well within range for a decent meal.


      1. re: Budley

        I think Garden Grove is kinda nearby as well and there are a lot? of Chinese restaurants there I think ...

    2. We live in Ladera Ranch (just moved down from Irvine), and have found that Crown Valley Chinese on the corner of Crown Valley and Marguerite is pretty good. Not totally authentic like the places in Irvine, but still decent for South OC. We've had a heck of a time finding decent restaurants in the area.

      Have you found anything else that's good in South OC? I'd love to compare notes-sometimes driving up to Irvine, Tustin, etc. is just too far . . .

      3 Replies
      1. re: Samantha

        Honestly no we haven't. To be fair, we have a toddler who keeps us out of the nicer places. We're more focused on the family friendly/family owned restaurants these days.

        There is a decent mexican place called Tortilla Flats on the lake in Mission Viejo. Good food, terrible service, and nice views of the lake. It's a little expensive, but it's one of the better places we've found to date.

        1. re: Budley

          We've been to Tortilla Flats. Not bad, not great, but it does have a nice view. We've found our best bet is to drive to RSM-there are several places there we like. Opah, which is more upscale, Agave for Mexican (owned by the same owners as Opah), and Wood Ranch Barbeque, though Wood Ranch is often very crowded. Selma's Pizza in RSM is also similar to BJ's (the son of the people who own BJ's owns Selma's). There's a new BJ's in Lake Forest off of El Toro, over by the mall. It's not quite as busy as the Irvine location, which is nice. Our favorite South County restaurant is a little, family-owned Italian place off of Greenfield in Laguna Niguel called Romeo Cucina. I adore this place, but it's not really conducive to kids, though I'd highly recommend it if you and your spouse get out for a night. If you like Thai, there's a Thai Nakorn on Marguerite in Mission Viejo in the Trader Joe's shopping center. It's supposedly not as good as the Thai Nakorn in Buena Park, but my husband and I enjoy it a lot.

          1. re: Budley

            A couple of suggestions:

            1. Taco Mesa: On Crown Valley in the first shopping center East of the arroyo after crossing Marguerite Parkway (as you enter Ladera Ranch) AND also at the SouthEast corner of Trabuco Road and Los Alisos in Mission Viejo. These are order-at-the counter places, so they're good for kids. This is some of the best Mexican food in the area.... surprisingly good for what appears to be a fast food place.

            2. Google your way to Las Golondrinas (several locations from San Juan to San Clemente) and also Olamendi's (same general area. Both are among the better in South County.

            3. For Chinese: this is tougher because it really depends on what your standard is. If you want really authentic the place at Walnut and Jeffrey, in Irvine, (sorry I can't remember the name)seems to get the best reviews here, but it's a good distance. I know something about authentic Chinese cuisines, but am not a real stickler for HAVING to have it. In the South County area, my favorites are two owned by the same couple: China Moon (Crown Valley & Niguel Road, in Laguna Niguel, and China Sea (Camino del Avion and Niguel Road(I think)in Dana Point. Americanized, but quite good... considering.

        2. Try Golden Dragon in Dana Point!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Veronica

            Unless this place has had a serious upgrade since I've been there, I doubt if this is what the poster is looking for.

          2. I've recently discovered a hole in the wall in the most unlikely of places in Lake Forest that I like a lot. It's the Formosa, attached to a motel, at 23702 Rockfield Drive, just south of Lake Forest Ave. It's next to the McDonald's for further clarification and to further add to the unlikeliness of this being a place anyone would try.

            BUT - it's good. I've been happier with the food I have gotten there than any of the other Chinese places I've tried in Lake Forest or Irvine, except China Garden or the Ranch 99 market.

            I'd say it's strictly for take-out unless you are looking for a dive atmosphere. But the owners are really friendly and every time I've picked up food there I've seen them press a free beer on someone.

            There are Taiwanese specialities on the menu, in addition to Americanized standards and a board of specialties written in Chinese that they never translate for me ( so be prepared to either insist on trying them, or ordering off the menu)

            I'd love to hear what anyone else thinks of them. Its one of the few places in Lake Forest worth going back to.

            I particularly liked the pork and mustard green soup. Other than that, I ordered fairly ordinary things.

            -- JD --

            2 Replies
            1. re: Juris Dog

              Interesting. We had two days of meetings in that hotel last year when our nearby offices were under remodel. I remember walking past that place and being scared off by the look and greasy smell. And I'm chinese who grew up in Monterey Park and am used to going to hole in the wall dives.

              Maybe it was just the context when I first noticed it.

              1. re: Juris Dog

                I have been having a tough time finding a good takeout Chinese place in MV/Lake Forest area since I moved here 2 years ago. I tried this place, and was way skeptical upon pulling up to the "Best Western" motel, to which this place is attached. I must say it wasn't bad, and better than most I've had in the area. Everything seems to be cooked to order, at least no apparent steam tables. I'd say it is a good sign for this white boy when the white boards post specials in Chinese lettering. I stayed with the typical Americanized dishes, but I'd try it again with something more adventurous next time.

              2. i

                I'm a big fan of Diho Siam in Mission Viejo. It's across Marguerite from the Ralphs at the corner of La Paz & Marguerite. They have both Chinese and Thai food. I can't compare it to the more authentic Irvine places usually mentioned because I haven't been to those. You can either eat there or take out. That's pretty much the only place I go for Chinese anymore.