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Best Late Weeknight Options in OC?

There have been some threads on late night OC options, but they're all fairly old, so I'm starting a new one. Will be spending a few mid-week days down in Anaheim with the fam. Looking for great, or at least good, dining options after long days at the Happiest Place on Earth(tm). I'll probably be solo, and may not get free until after 10 PM, so Playground is out since they close by then on weeknights. Would love to get some great Viet chow since I'll be so close to Little Saigon, but I'm open to anything as long as it's good and open late on a weeknight.

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  1. If a gastro pub type of place might work, check out Haven in nearby Orange who stay open until 2:00 AM and they have late night menu options.

    9 Replies
    1. re: JAB

      I'm just okay on Haven, but have heard/read great things in general.

      1. re: chrishei

        Dude, we're talking late night in OC on a weeknight!

        1. re: chrishei

          I love their Haven Burger and their lamb burger. Most other things I've had there have been good, but not great.

          1. re: OCSteve

            I'm not a big fan of either burger. I like their pigs ears, flat breads and my wife likes their shrimp and grits. My very favorite thing I've had there was their lamb belly with harissa but, that wasn't a permanent menu item.

        2. re: JAB

          Thanks JAB, I'm probably more in the mood for cheaper, simpler fare, but good to know!

          1. re: TheOffalo

            NP, since Playground was mentioned...

            1. re: JAB

              Absolutely. I should have expected that. Playground is one of those places I've heard so many good things about that if I could get to try it, I'd like to, but since it's probably not an option...

              1. re: TheOffalo

                Just go grab breakfast at Harbor House http://www.harborhousecafe.com/ and call it a night/day/night...

                Sunset Beach & Dana Point locations

        3. quan nhau's are the best bet.

          cafe artist
          quan gio
          qc & lau
          ngoc thuy

          some are less fam friendly than others, which means they're better for conventioners than disneylanders. however, if one's escaping the happiest place after the flock's down and out, then I'd go straight for cafe artist/quan gio and load up on the heinie+second hand vape.

          the seafood fare (razor clams, bloody clams, sea snails, etc.) at all the quan nhaus is far more rustic, affordable and interesting than anything from gastrpub xyz in OC, and beats the crappy, overpriced corn cheesu being served at pojangmacha's.

          contrary to popular belief, there's plenty to eat late night(ish) in the OC. just go ethnic.

          19 Replies
          1. re: TonyC

            Thanks Tony. Not a huge drinker (though after a long day at the park, maybe I will be), but the food sounds great. Will I get funny looks for ordering just food and no beer?

            1. re: TheOffalo

              Yeah. OC is usually a very early to bed type town.

              I can't think of any recs that are open past ten really. And the lot of the ones that are open have a seriously captive audience.

              1. re: TheOffalo

                The Olive Tree in Anaheim might be open late.

                And I've always like Pappa Hassan's.

                Tsurahashi in Fountain Valley is open late and it's exceptional.

                1. re: kevin

                  Wow, you're right concerning Tsuruhashi (1:00 AM) and it's beyond exceptional.

                    1. re: chrishei

                      I've had good luck making reservations there in the past but, a recent attempt was met with frustration.

                      1. re: JAB

                        I didn't make a reservation on either of my visits - waited 30 and 45 mins, respectively.

                      2. re: chrishei

                        Big +4 for Tsuruhashi. Get the spicy beef soup. Like most places, 2 orders of beef before you can grill yourself.

                        Ramen Zetton open until 1130pm (probably get there 1030-1045 to be safe). Get the special chicken shoyu (#4), you have to add the egg. Add a side of tsukemen to compare. Cold noodles on the tsukemen of course.

                        Bahn mi che cali. This one. Open 24 hours. Get the grilled beef (grilled beef balls). Throw an egg on top.
                        http://www.yelp.com/biz/b%C3%A1nh-m%C...

                        1. re: Porthos

                          Thanks, was thinking of trying Zetton.

                          1. re: TheOffalo

                            I love it. I think it provides a great alternative to all the pork based broths in town. The "special" versions contain bonito flakes which gives it that nice fishy brininess.

                    2. re: kevin

                      Thanks kevin. Tsuruhashi looks great.

                    3. re: TheOffalo

                      it's a free country; they won't look at you funny unless you show up topless. wife beaters are a-ok though.

                      1. re: TonyC

                        Pretty sure wife beaters is the standard dress code down there.

                    4. re: TonyC

                      Is crap like heini the only kind of beer is served at quan nhau's? Anything imported from Vietnam perhaps? Craft American?

                      1. re: JAB

                        unfortunately, it's mostly Heini, since it's considered "premium" in Vietnam, and it's so cheap in the states. otherwise, you'll often see 333. which.. I mean.. is hardly a step up.

                        if you open a quan nhau w/ local OC craft beer, please let me be an investor.

                      2. re: TonyC

                        I'm actually down in OC tonight. Decided to try Ngoc Thuy since Oc & Lau isn't open on Tuesdays (according to Yelp, which, as I'll get to now, isn't super reliable). Got to Ngoc Thuy before 11:30 PM, when Yelp says they close at midnight. Unfortunately, they closed at 11 PM. I may try again tomorrow either there or at Oc & Lau.

                        1. re: TheOffalo

                          Sorry dude, it is really best to call on weekdays, since they will close early if slow. during weekends they go all night past posted hours, but.. you know Yelp info is just that.

                          1. re: TonyC

                            Thanks. They looked still pretty busy. Good sign for a Tuesday night.

                        2. re: TonyC

                          TonyC, have you been to Bình Dân? They specialize in goat (you can order 7 courses of goat as well as goat udders), and they have plenty of other interesting dishes (clams, sea snails, pig intestines...) and cheap beer (which is brought out with glasses of ice). Sorry TheOffalo, I think they close pretty early (8 or 9pm), but this place is totally worth a separate trip to Little Saigon.

                        3. Maybe you can persuade Kasen to stay open late and then try out the supposed best sushi wares in the OC right now.

                          Cafe Hiro (the joint I unearthed years ago) might be open somewhat late (I to the e, 1030) for blue marlin type genre stuff but way way way way better. And theres a chocolate mouser, er pot de Creme.

                          2 Replies
                            1. re: JAB

                              My bad.

                              I could've sworn it was open later.

                          1. Here's a clichéd question. Best late weeknight pho?

                            1. I only know about Vietnamese restaurants in Little Saigon, but here's what I could think of:

                              Pho Lu is open past midnight everyday, and makes a good phở đuôi bò (oxtail phở). The oxtail and the noodles are in separate bowls, the former in a richer-than-normal meaty broth, the latter in a lighter-than-normal clean broth. I like to alternate bites/ sips. Or you can mix the two to balance the broths.

                              Pho Quang Trung has one location that is open til midnight and another location that closes around 9pm. They have a great phở gà. Make sure to get it with skin, liver, and gizzards.

                              At least 2 of the 3 Pho 54 locations are open til 2am. Maybe 3am. I like the tendon (gân) and tripe (sách) in the phở đặc biệt a lot. I usually add bò viên because it's so tasty, and I always ask for nước béo (fat broth) on the side for dipping meats.

                              Banh Canh Que Em & Que Anh is open everyday until 10pm, I think, and serves only bánh canh (Vietnamese udon). But there are sooooo many choices. If they ask, request a more condensed soup for seafood ingredients and a thinner soup for non-seafood ingredients. They're know for water prawns, so I'd get something with that.

                              Oc & Lau Restaurant is open til 11pm or later. Hot pot stuff, snails, fried grunions.

                              At least one of the Thien An locations is open til 11pm. Bò 7 món (7 courses of beef).

                              ============

                              I hear Song Long Restaurant (French-Vietnamese; open til 10pm) has good beef stews and curries. And there should be a lot of Cháo Lòng (offal rice porridge) in this area, but I haven't tried any yet, so maybe someone else can chime in.

                              I'd suggest Ngu Binh and Quan Hy for bún bò Huế, Vien Dong for chả cá thăng long and bún riêu ốc, and Binh Dan for all things goat (including goat blood pudding!), but these all close before 9pm.

                              1 Reply
                              1. Honda-ya in Fullerton and Tustin are both open until midnight or so.

                                Shin Sen Gumi in Fountain Valley is open until 11:30pm I think.

                                  1. re: BacoMan

                                    worth going for other than the quite expensive burger?

                                    1. re: set0312

                                      Have you had the burger?

                                      I'd say it's still worth going to, but I have ever gone and not ordered the burger (plus other stuff).

                                      They have a whole section of sour beers now that is alone worth going for.

                                  2. Late night in OC is really difficult. In Irvine where we live, it seems like nothing is open after 11pm with the exception of the Lazy Dog Cafe which is open until midnight every night. It's certainly not great, but if you're hungry and want a decent drink or beer, with passable casual food (burgers, fries, salads, sandwiches, etc.) it's not bad. It's our standby for something to eat after getting off a flight at John Wayne in the late evening.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: josephnl

                                      Irvine has a few late night places. First, there is always In-n-Out. However, even branching beyond In-n-Out's 2PM closing time you have BCD Tofu House in Diamond Jamboree that is open 24 hours. Guppy House, also in Diamond Jamboree, is open until 1AM. Irvine China Garden on Walnut & Jeffrey is open til Midnight. Tasty Garden is open til midnight. Yes, these are all Asian, primarily Chinese, options but there's a number open til midnight or later.

                                    2. You could always look into the Korean options. Mirak is close to you but can't seem to find hours on yelp. There is also Soeul Soondae in Garden Grove. But that closes 930.

                                      http://m.yelp.com/biz/mirak-fullerton-2

                                      http://m.yelp.com/biz/seoul-soondae-r...

                                      The ones in Fullerton close 9-10 but since they're closer you don't lose travel time.

                                      http://m.yelp.com/search?find_desc=Ko...

                                      1. Just wanted to add another restaurant to this thread for future reference:

                                        Thành Mỹ Restaurant is open until at least 1am everyday, and it's pretty awesome (at least for dinner; my mom said her lunch experiences were very different).

                                        Very good Canh Chua Cá (sour fish soup) and Cá Kho Tộ (braised fish in clay pot), which are more enjoyable when ordered together.

                                        The menu is enormous! You can also get sea snails, venison curry, cháo lòng, cơm tấm, bún, phở, blistery rice-paper-wrapped egg rolls...

                                        And they have a website! With a menu! Here it is:

                                        http://thanhmyrestaurant.net/

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: phamschottler

                                          The braised fish in a clay pot sounds interesting. Is it the caramel fish dish ????????

                                          Thannks Pamstchoffler.

                                          1. re: kevin

                                            kevin, YES!!! It's so caramel-y sticky sweet, it's basically dessert. Great over rice.

                                            1. re: phamschottler

                                              I remember reading about this dish somewhere a couple years back, but now for the life of me I can't remember where.

                                              There may be a few joints that serve it ????

                                              Ok, hopefully I'll get there in the next couple weeks.

                                              good cafe sua dua there too ?????

                                              thanks a bunch. you just reminded me of this dish.

                                              1. re: kevin

                                                kevin, you can probably find this dish at plenty of other places in Little Saigon, but I've heard Dong Khanh has a great version of it. I've only had it here, at Thanh My, which probably has good cafe sua da as well (didn't get it, but I'd be surprised if it wasn't good).

                                                Here are pictures of the sour fish soup and the braised fish in clay pot:

                                                 
                                                 
                                        2. BTW I just discovered that Đồng Khánh Restaurant (supposedly good fish dishes) is open til midnight daily.

                                          1. Reviews of the two late night places I hit in OC are up: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/977408