Boston hound visiting OC seeking recs
You might want to check out last year's poll results:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/585999 :: Ultimate OC Restaurants, 2008; RESULTS
Also, fellow CH ExileKiss has an excellent blog: http://exilekiss.blogspot.com/2008/08/current-favorites.html
Although he hasn't posted in a while, rameniac is the CH resident ramen expert. You can read his stuff here: http://www.rameniac.com/
Both post reviews on this site, so you can do a search for their reviews here as well.
1. For sushi, if you can't get to Costa Mesa, Maki-Zushi in Tustin is fine, but you must sit at the counter and you must order omakase. The menu is chock full of boats and mayonnaisey rolls and noodles and God knows what all else—ignore it.
2. Ramen is really sort of a thing you get done well in Costa Mesa or Fountain Valley. Maybe you'd like niu rou mian (beef noodle soup) at A&J in Irvine?
3. KBBQ - Shik Do Rak or Irvine Tofu House, I suppose. Garden Grove and Buena Park are the loci of Korean culture.
4. Maybe Capital Seafood in Diamond Jamboree? We always go to Rowland Heights or Monterey Park for our dim sum, sadly.
5. BREAK OF DAWN OMG YES. Laguna Hills. Closer to Ladera Ranch than Irvine.
6. Pho Bo Vang is the only acceptable 949 pho I can think of.
7. Buy some breakfast pastries from Scandia Bakery and walk a block to the ocean. :)
re: Das Ubergeek
Thanks for all the great suggestions. This will be my 4th visit to the OC and unfortunately I almost never get to venture too far from Ladera Ranch due to time and travel constraints. Some of the restuarants I've been to in the past include; Pascals, Beachcomber, Ango Tei, China Garden, Crystal Jade, Maestros and plenty of in-n-out.
I'm looking to experience more asian food, but the consensus sounds like I need to travel a bit further than I'll be able to. Please include any must visit sushi and ramen places. I may be able to travel a bit further for them. Thanks again!
The Ramen at Shin Sen Gumi in Fountain Valley is also pretty good if you can make it that far. If you are in the area, up the street in Fountain Valley, is Kappo Honda for izakaya (sister restaurant to Honda Ya, mentioned elsewhere in the post), and Tsuruhashi for yakiniku.
The best pho is in Little Saigon. If you are able to get there during your stay, I'd recommend trying a few different Vietnamese dishes as well which might not be very prevalent in Boston.
1. sushi - Sushi Shibucho, Costa Mesa (dinner only)
2. ramen - Santouku, Costa Mesa (inside the Mitsuwa Market, food court))
3. korean bbq
4. dim sum
.......Zov's Bistro, Tustin
.......Cream Pan , Tustin (bakery/patisserie w/excellent strawberry cream croissants)
.......Taco Rosa, Tustin (Mexican Sunday Brunch, $15).
7. restaurants in Laguna beach with a view - Splashes @ the Surf & Sand Hotel
re: Professor Salt
Lake Forest: Pho Bo Vang. Not quite Little Saigon level soup and the herb plate is definitely gringo'ed, but the best pho you'll get in South County.
Chong Qing Mei Wei: Don't let the Taste of Asia sign outside fool you. It's Sichuan place called Chong Qing Mei Wei. Pretty good all around. I had a great fried fish dish here that came out with about a pound of dried chilies.
Taiko for sushi, Japanese owned and very busy, ensuring high turnover. Known for large portions of fish. If you want more traditional portions of old school sushi, this isn't for you. Better choices for that in Tustin and Costa Mesa.
Shik Do Rak: Irvine outpost of Korean BBQ place
Thai Cafe: also in the same center as the two above, it's excellent Thai food.
Chef Chen's: northern Chinese
Chong Qing Mei Wei: same owner ship as the Lake Forest one.
China Garden: Cantonese, dim sum daily. Cart style here. A little run down, but ok dim sum for Orange County
Crystal Jade: a newere Cantonese place, menu style dim sum. A better choice than China Garden if atmosphere is important.
Fukada: house made soba is the known thing here
Oki Doki for modern style, Pan Asian izakaya. Their chicken stock is amazing. You can get a chicken broth ramen here, if that's your thing.
Honda Ya: for traditional style izakaya
Cream Pan: Japanese style bakery and cafe
Sorry, about to leave work so keeping it brief. You can search on these places and you can get more detail.