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suggestions for a small group of HS students visiting?

I will be bringing a group of 16 HS swimmers to LA to train in about a week and would like some suggestions for restaurants that might fit the following:
1. comfortable for a group of 18
2. relatively healthy choices
3. relatively inexpensive
4. something HS students might like (I realize that may contradict #2)
5. Near Anaheim/Cypress/Long Beach

They love good mexican food and are okay with good Chinese restaurants. I'm trying to stay away from greasy and/or breaded fare, but will settle for inexpensive and able to handle a group.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. There's a Soup Plantation in Garden Grove, always a good bet with hungry athletes. Ye olde Spaghetti Factory in Anaheim is fun. The mexican restaurant AZTECA in Anaheim has a crazy Elvis Presley theme and karaoke. Also, consider THE FLAME BROILER, it has a few locations around.

    1. In terms of nutritional needs for these athletes, are you looking for high protein, or high carb?

      For high protein, you might try the rotisserie chicken joints like the Zankou in Anaheim's Little Arabia. Cheap, big portions and plenty of room for a big group to sit in.

      For Mexican, I'd say Enrique's in Long Beach. It's a home-cooking style of Mexican food, not a taqueria, nor a gabacho-Mex type of place where everything is covered in red sauce and yellow cheese.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Professor Salt

        Thanks. As for specifics, I am mainly interested in filling but not greasy /salty /sugary fare and keeping them away from fast food joints. These suggestions sound great.

      2. ditto on zankou. no high schooler can resist their pickles and garlic sauce.

        seafood cove has pretty good chinese (with some thai and vietnamese thrown in for good measure). open sesame is lebanese, which i'm guessing they'd easily like if chinese and mexican are ok.

        Open Sesame
        5215 E 2nd St, Long Beach, CA 90803

        Seafood Cove
        8547 Westminster Ave, Garden Grove, CA 92844

        1 Reply
        1. re: raizans

          it would be pretty tough to fit 16 into open sesame. I agree with the above, soup plantation and zankou seem the way to go, nothing too offensive to young kids.

        2. Hokkaido Buffet Long Beach $11.99 lunch mon- fri weekends dinner a little more

          1. In Anaheim I'd look at Mari's Pizza, it is more than pizza, a full Italian menu. Are you training at Belmont pool? Near Belmont I'd look at BJ's, yes it is more pizza, but it is deep dish Chicago style and swimmers need their carbs. Also look at Claim Jumpers near Belmont on 2nd at PCH, not foodie food, but these are teens. Call and see what they can do for your group.

            And if you are training at Belmont (or Long Beach State), you could just turn them loose on 2nd Street in Belmont, there are two dozen places they could choose from and it is a very fun, safe area.

            Are you staying in the Cypress area off Katella? Mostly "corporate" food in the area, but Katella Deli, right by the USA Water Polo training facility, would be a good choice.

            Back in Anaheim you also have Doug's Downtown Grill for American comfort food, Los Sanchez for down home Sonoran style Mexican food, Ho Toys for Chinese, Brodard Restaurant in Garden Grove, King Harbor Seafood Restaurant also in Garden Grove, Pho Quang Trung for pho and there are more. It just depends on how far you want to drive and is there a specific type of food you want. The Vietnamese food is relatively cheap and plentiful.

            There is also cheap, down home Mexican food near Disneyland, but most of them are not sit-down restaurants, but great food at cheap prices. Look at Alerto's Mexican Food, La Casa Garcia and Taco Boy.

            1. Thanks for the great tips. These sound like they will fit the bill and give us a few choices. We should have a good trip, and I'll try to post what we end up doing in relation to these suggestions.

              I personally love to search out good food, wherever I travel, but when I'm with a group of students I can't afford to be experimenting too much.

              Scottca, it's as if you knew our itinerary. We actually will be training at both the Belmont Plaza (big pool is closed, but we'll swim in the outdoor one on the beach) and at the US Water Polo Training facility so the suggestions close to those pools were perfect.

              1 Reply
              1. re: dhelling

                With the areas you were looking, it was pretty easy for a swim/water polo guy to figure out where you were going to be :)

              2. I just got back from our training trip to the Los Alamitos Long Beach area and I said I'd report back. It turned out to be a grab food where and when we can type of trip, so I look forward to visiting without HS students to explore more.

                We tried Zankou's on the first night and it had mixed reviews by the kids. The two adults liked it and thought it was a great bargain, some guys were not too enthused, probably due to their lack of adventurous dining spirit. We decided to hit grocery stores and Costco since we had kitchens in our suites and the rest of the trip one meal a day was prepared in the rooms. I ate at Claim Jumpers with a small group, instead of inside Knott's Berry Farm which looked terrible for food choices. CJ was okay for the type of restaurant it was. Nothing exciting, but solid burgers for the kids. We hit the 2nd E near Belmont Plaza for one meal and everyone found something decent to eat at various spots. One was pizza and pasta and I ate at Rubio's (spelling?) Mexican fast food joint that was pretty solid for fast food.

                On my own I picked up some Mexican takeout at SuperMex that was pretty decent and lots for the money. In addition, I had breakfast at Katella's Deli one morning because the free ones at the Summerfield Suites were really getting to me. It was again, unexceptional, but service and speed was outstanding.

                Thanks again for all the great suggestions and if we do this again I now have a Google map of the area with lots of choices to try.

                1 Reply
                1. re: dhelling

                  Thanks for the followup - it's nice to hear how your experience went based on our picks.