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Jan 27, 2010 11:05 AM

What is the quintesential SoCal ....

food experience...we will be visting the mouse in two weeks and are staying across the street. I think I am more excited about vistiing some good restaurants. We live in a small city with very limited options of foodies...think lots of chains.

So I have read though all of the threads on disney but a lot seemed to lean to asian food. While we love it we tend to steer clear as our daughter has nut and pollock allergies and from experience it has been an issue.

So if you had to pick 5 restaurants for supper, we will have a car, but not knowing the area we do not want to venture too far... they need not be fancy just yummy...we have kids 6,8, 10; what would your list entail that would give us a taste of SOCal. If we can I would love ot be able to walk once or twice.

We will be going on to San Diego later so I was thinking of doing sea food there?

My son loves burgers so maybe In n'Out so we can say we have been.
would love to do some really tasty Mexican...

I am not hung up on price but nor do I care to pay through the nose as so often it is the holes in the wall that are the best...
What do the locals recommend what woudl your list of five kid friendly place be...

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  1. You won't even have to leave the Mouse House to experience one of the best restaurants in the OC - make a reservation for Napa Rose (NR).

    Click on the link below to find some of the threads / reviews of NR here on CH.

    Napa Rose Restaurant
    1600 S Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802

    1. NR can be on the pricey side and offers food that adults would appreciate but that your kids may not. See if you can check out a menu.

      I'd suggest Marri's Pizza, in the mini mall at West and Katella. Directly across the street from California Adventure. Informal, really good pizza and other Italian food, and kid friendly. I grew up in Anaheim and Marri's has been delivering top notch pizza since the days when it really was a hole in the wall (nitches hacked out of the walls where they kept the salt & pepper shakers)..

      5 Replies
      1. re: TomSwift

        "NR can be on the pricey side..."

        That is true, without a doubt. They do have a child's menu however. You can look it over here with prices:

        Probably better if the OP and his wife get a baby sitter for the evening and go by themselves one night. It really is a very excellent restaurant.

        1. re: Servorg

          Agree completely with the babysitter idea. I didn't know about the child's menu; not having children the issue has never arisen. It is an outstanding restaurant and should not be missed.

          1. re: Servorg

            That is a great sounding child's menu. At those prices, I wonder If I could pass for 11 or under?

            1. re: Servorg

              And if you do go to NR sans kids, you might consider sitting at the Chef's Counter if you don't mind seeing an active kitchen and interacting with the chef. At the counter, you have the option of ordering off the menu or having the chef create your meal for you. They'll ask you a few questions on your likes, dislikes and allergies and prepare a meal based on that. However, if you want a quiet meal, then this would not be for you. And it's not more expensive than sitting at a regular table.

              1. re: OCAnn

                That is a great tip the kids would love that; thanks

          2. Very kid friendly and just a few miles away at Knott's Berry Farm is the famous Mrs. Knott's Fried Chicken (the restaurant is outside the park so you don't have to pay admission) with homemade biscuits and boysenberry pie. Also around the corner from Knott's from Chicago is Portillo's Hot Dogs and Italian beef sandwiches, and it is really good.

            Portillo's Hot Dogs
            8390 La Palma Ave, Buena Park, CA 90620

            Mrs Knott's Restaurant
            8039 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA

            1. El Farolito in Placentia for Mexican. I don't think they take reservations, but I've never waited too long. Portions are large and definitely splittable, very kid friendly, I see babies in here all the time.

              In-N-Out, of course. I think the best non-chain, upscale burger in OC is at Haven Gastropub in Orange.

              Vietnamese has to be on the list. I'm not sure how sensitive your daughter is to nuts, but pho should be safe for her to order. I haven't really had a favorite pho restaurant for a while. My favorite Vietnamese rstaurants right now are probably Ngu Binh, Brodard, and Ha Noi Avenue.

              Japanese... well, there are a bunch listed in the Chowhound poll. I really like Honda-Ya.

              Here is the Ultimate OC Restaurants poll:

              Brodard Restaurant
              9892 Westminster Ave, Garden Grove, CA 92844

              El Farolito
              201 S Bradford Ave, Placentia, CA 92870

              Ngu Binh Restaurant
              14072 Magnolia St, Westminster, CA 92683

              Honda Ya Japanese Restaurant
              556 El Camino Real, Tustin, CA 92780

              Haven Gastropub
              190 S Glassell St, Orange, CA 92866

              8 Replies
              1. re: jaykayen

                Agree with the Pho comment. Pho is a rice noodle soup served in a slowly cooked beef broth spiced with star anise, cinnamon, onions, peppercorns, and a few other things. Wonderfully delightful on a cold day...or any day of the week, if you're me. The standard bowl of Pho (Pho Tai) will have the noodles, sliced onions, scallions, cilantro, and thin-cut rare steak. The steaming hot broth poured over the top will cook the steak. If you're adventurous (and I am), get the bowl with tripe, brisket, tendon, and rare steak (Pho Xe Lua). A biwl steamy bowl will set you back about $5-6 each. Check Das Ubergeek or elmomonster for specific Pho recs.
                Another Vietnamese treat that would be accessible is banh mi (sandwich). It's a fresh French baguette schmeared with pork pate, Vietnamese-French mayo (egg yolks, oil, and salt), and your choice of protein. My faves are French jambon (ham), cha lua (Vietnamese pork lunchmeat), and the thit nuong (grilled pork). The sandwiches are stuffed with accoutrements of pickled carrots and daikon, cilantro, sliced onions, and jalapenos. A banh mi will set you back about $3-4 for a 10 inch sandwich. Lee's Sandwiches is the closest location to Disneyland on Harbor Blvd. It's a chain, and while it's not the best, it satisfies my cravings.
                Enjoy your trip!

                1. re: attran99

                  I would smuggle some Banh Mis into Dland since food is pricey. Get a locker.

                  1. re: WildSwede

                    If you smuggle, I would suggest getting the accoutrements on the side. They help the banh mi get soggy faster.

                    1. re: attran99

                      Great point, Attran, thanks! Also, smuggle in bottled water and other " snacky" things. Is there a Bob's Big Boy in the area? Kids would probably like that.

                      1. re: WildSwede

                        There's a Bob's Big Boy in Anaheim on Katella, east of the 57 & the Honda the same strip mall as King's Fish House.

                2. re: jaykayen

                  2nd El Farolito for solid, authentic Mexican in a family friendly, casual sit-down environment.

                  For Vietnamese, Xanh Bistro in Fountain Valley is slightly more upscale twist and they do cater to a non-Vietnamese crowd well. Just tell them about your daughter's allergies.Not as hole in the wall, mom-n-pop, non-english speaking environment you'll encounter in much of Westminster.

                  You should really try some Korean BBQ in Garden Grove. I like Cham Sut Gol, but others can chime in. It's all you can eat, you cook it yourself and there's a plethora of side dishes. Just have your daughter steer clear of the fish cake side dish, might have pollock or haddock.

                  In-N-Out is a must visit, solid burgers.

                  Also you might want to make a trek out to Mitsuwa Food Court in Costa Mesa (maybe 15 miles from Anaheim). Best ramen in OC at Santouka (food stall with wood slats), just take out the white and pink looking fish cake for your daughter.

                  1. re: jaykayen

                    Can kids go in Haven Gastropub or is it a true Pub?

                    1. re: WaWa

                      It's a restaurant. Minors are permitted.

                  2. I will disagree with some of the posters here. What are the quintessential SoCal meals? As a native I would say that hot dogs and pizza do not rank as quintessential SoCal foods. The restaurants suggested might be great, but SoCal is not known as the place to come to for hot dogs or pizza. We are known for Mexican food, burgers, Vietnamese food and Chinese food. Not being from OC (I'm an Angeleno), I am sure others can better steer you to where you will find these foods near Disneyland. As far as hamburger chains go, In-N-Out is spot on for quintessential SoCal.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: pinpei

                      But if you're in the mood for hot dogs or pizza anyway, there's Costco (a huge membership warehouse). You don't have to be a member to eat here and it's in the same shopping area mentioned up thread as Lee's Sandwiches. Costco's food counter is outside and you can get a good hot dog (with beverage!) for $1.50, a couple slices of thin-crust pizza for $2, a salad for $4, chicken bake for $3.50. These are good, cheap eats.

                      EDIT: The only bad thing about Costco is that it's near Chuck E Cheese...and if your kids see that, they may jump & scream to go there instead (and a ToysRUs next door). There's also a D'land outlet store on the southwest corner of Lemon Street (one street west of Harbor Blvd) & Orangethorpe. You'll have a lot of restaurant and fast food chain options in both areas if necessary...and a Target (discount store) nearby if you need to purchase bottles of water, snacks and other essentials.

                      1. re: OCAnn

                        Great idea; but probably no...we live right by a costco so we oftne do that witht he kids now,, shop grab a bite etc....chuch e cheese just sent a shiver down my spine.....

                        1. re: WaWa

                          Yes, Chuck E Cheese: kid's dream, adult nightmare.