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Jan 17, 2012 01:26 PM

Goods Eats in Santa Ana?

Where's good on the scene? To make it easier, I already got some Mexican joints, Memphis in the artist's district, and Gypsy Den on lock down. But where is good?

Is Ruth's Place any good?

Someone mentioned Pop's cafe before? Is that any good and what's good to get there?

Anything good in the style of Cal cuisine, sit-down, or Cal-French? (March Moderne would be to far to drive from there).


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  1. Playground, Calacas Cafe (the biĆ³nico!), Puerto Madero, Mil Jugos, La Cocina de Mi Abuelita, Lonchera Lane (both sides of Main from First to McFadden) especially Alebrije's, the Crosby...

    6 Replies
    1. re: Das Ubergeek

      Sadly, I heard that La Cocina de mi Abuelita has closed down. Though please correct me if I'm wrong.

      1. re: georgempavlov

        It is still open. Around the corner from them is a new taqueria that just opened, Taqueria 2 Guys, that makes awesome al pastor with pineapple.

        Taqueria 2 Guys
        925 W Warner Ave, Santa Ana, CA 92707

        1. re: Tapeworm

          I would second that, those Al pastor with Pineapple Tacos are to die for!

        2. re: georgempavlov

          I was there two weeks ago... I will have to check. Thanks George.

        3. re: Das Ubergeek

          Has anyone tried the 14 dollar burger at the Playground? any good? or just another burger to add to the gourmet burger craze tool belt ?

          1. re: kevin

            The burger is unique, it has to do with the way the meat is ground. It's worth a try.

        4. We've always liked the Chapter One gastropub built inside an old bookstore at Fourth and Broadway.

          1. Lola Gaspar is one of our favorites in OC, it's in the Art District next to Memphis. The menu changes every few months and has been a bit small lately. But everything they do is to die for and I would describe the cuisine as mexican fusion served tapas style Very Hip atmosphere and a killer drink menu (although the wine selection is scarce).
            The playground recently opened up, I've tried it twice and would highly recommend it as well. Gotta try the Brussels sprouts and the burger. Menu changes daily.
            Was not a big fan of Chapter One personally, loved it's vibe but thought the food was mediocre.

            1. I always cherish a recommendation from DU, to whom I must give credit for several (though not all--feel free to blame me for the misses!) of the following recommendations.

              Pop's Cafe is okay--your usual greasy spoon diner, though I must say I don't know of a better one in the North SA/Downtown area. Deep fried French Toast is rather decadent, something you don't see everyday (and certainly shouldn't eat every day!). Most things are hovering pretty close to the norm, but I would still eat there.

              Here are a few more we've discovered that we like, omitting the countless excellent Mexican eateries except in an instance or two where I just can't help myself:

              Bangkok Taste and Siam Taste of Asia--both excellent Thai
              Cafe Chiarini--wonderful patio atmosphere for lunch, terrific tri-tip sandwich
              Trieu Chau--real deal Chinese, only open for lunch
              Sushi Murasaki--good sushi
              Conde Cakes--bakery, but they have outstanding Yucatan savory items when they're actually serving them, which is rare...
              The Habit--I know it's a chain, but I think the burgers are quite good, always well-executed, cheap, and service is very efficient and friendly.
              Tan Cang Newport Seafood--lobster!

              I will post again if any more occur to me...

              And BTW, what is "Ruth's Place"--you mean Ruth's Criss?

              1. If you haven't been to Lola Gaspar than you need to go. Run! Don't Walk. I love the baked flatbread, roasted tomato, mozzarella and basil. I order it every time I go. Ask for the habanero salsa on the side. The food is a combination of Latin and European cuisine. The plates are small and they encourage sharing. Because the kitchen is very small, they don't have room for storage so all the food is purchased and cooked the same day.

                Lola Gaspar Restaurant & Bar
                211 W 2nd St, Santa Ana, CA 92701