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Great food around Disneyland?

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4 foodie girlfriends travelling down from SF to go to Disneyland for a friend's b'day. We like innovative American New, but are open to any great food (except Japanese) as long as it's delicious. Cost isn't a concern but we will be pretty casual since we'll be coming from Disneyland. Looking for something within 20 minutes driving from Disneyland. All recs appreciated!

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  1. The Playground in downtown Santa Ana.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JAB

      Definitely the Playground. It's eclectic and the chef is unapologetic about not cooking meat well done but it just works. Bold, strong flavors without beng heavy. Had my first meal there last week and can't recommend it enough.

    2. captain kid across the street is always a hit

      http://www.yelp.com/biz/captain-kidds...
      http://blogs.ocweekly.com/stickaforki...

      (if you couldn't read the sarcasm, don't go there no matter how desperate you are)

      3 Replies
      1. re: ns1

        Boy, your chow cred took a hit there for a sec.

        1. re: JAB

          :biggrin:

          1. re: ns1

            Goofy's Kitchen....Disney characters walking around.......plus all you can eat buffet...two hallmarks of a Chow worthy restauarant!!!

      2. Thanks - sounds great!
        ns1-you had me going with the rec.....I'm completely out of the food scene down there.

        1 Reply
        1. re: vierra

          in all seriousness, for "american new" I would agree with the Playground rec above.

          here's an old review:

          http://www.kevineats.com/2012/07/play...

        2. Napa Grill in the Disney Hotel. It is a really good! Don't have to go anywhere since it is right there.

          4 Replies
          1. re: newport5

            Innovative?

            1. re: JAB

              It has always been a great place to go. they have a great wine list. Another place to go is The Ranch in Anaheim. The food is very good and so are the drinks. There is a cowboy bar next door that is just fun.

              1. re: newport5

                you pretty much dodged the question.

                1. re: ns1

                  I think they are pretty innovative but not outrageous. It is a solid restaurant and always good (as is the Ranch)

          2. For something completely different, I can't resist going to Ma's Chinese Islamic after leaving Disneyland, if we're not too tired. Great lamb dishes, sesame bread.

            Not innovative, and I'm sure fueled more by nostalgia than anything else, another place we like to go to after DL is Clearman's North Woods.

            5 Replies
            1. re: PeterCC

              always wondered about that place Peter, snowy roofline and all--what do you like there?

              1. re: jessejames

                You didn't ask me, but Clearman's is basically a steak-and-potatoes kinda place. Very greasy, totally bad for you garlic cheese bread; cabbage and iceberg lettuce salads with sort of a thousand island dressing (best if mixed together); throw peanut shells on the floor.

                The sort of place where the only things that have changed since about 1958 are the prices.

                1. re: jessejames

                  It's no Shunji. ;-) I like their cabbage salad. My wife likes the tossed salad with blue cheese dressing. Everyone likes the cheese bread. Their shrimp used to be good, now they're just decent. Steak's nothing to write home about.

                  And like I said, nostalgia (for my wife) is probably the driving factor. It's the kind of place people who don't frequent Chowhound might go for a special occasion steak-and-lobster-tail dinner with a giant baked potato on the side. Nothing wrong with that once in a while. :-)

                  1. re: PeterCC

                    thanks guys!

                    1. re: jessejames

                      If it beats the fatty garlic cheese bread at Tana's, then I may have to give a whirl.

              2. Catal....part of the Patina Group. Downtown Disney.

                Excellent food and service.

                1. Napa Rose in the Grand Californian Hotel (downtown Disney) - a little more upscale, wonderful tasting menu, it's the kind of place we go to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Michelle

                    The Craftsman architecture and Art Deco/Nouveau decor of the restaurant (and the hotel) gets me every time!

                    1. re: Michelle

                      I agree.

                      Although I love Catal I'm a sucker for the suites and Napa Rose at the Grand Californian...
                      What a great place.

                    2. Zait and Zataar is quite good casual Lebanese. And very close. Was suggested to me by a fellow hound and I've been back a few times since.