Watson's Drug and Soda Fountain is Orange County's oldest drugstore which opened in 1899. The building houses both a drugstore and the restaurant. The ambience is that of a 1950's diner with a menu that is reflective of that with burgers, steaks, sandwiches, shakes, malts, ice cream sodas (floats), and a variety of desserts. The dining is very casual. You seat yourself at any available table or the old fashioned soda fountain counter and a server will be along shortly to take your order. The food is served in nice portions and is quite good. The hallmark soda fountain drinks and desserts are excellent. A very good way to cool off on a hot day.
1950's memorabilia is scattered throughout Watson's. The restaurant area definitely has that nostalgic feel too. Watson's also served as a backdrop to a number of movies including "That Thing You Do" starring Tom Hanks. Numerous Hollywood stars and politicians have also dined here in the past.
Favorite Dish: Watson's shakes and ice cream sodas (floats) is what makes me return often. Their shakes are one of the best in the city (maybe even the county) and the floats come with a huge serving of ice cream that spills over the rim of the mug.
Pride in Fish would be the second title for this page. To ensure freshness at its most fresh, the fish served at OFC is hand selected by pro catchers (not baseball related!) who go on short trip boats.
This place will always have a place in my and my family's heart. I've grown up coming here, mostly making pit stops at the fish market/to go area just to get the famous clam chowder ! Yes, it is just that delicious! It is all that my mother orders from here. She just can't get over it.
Famous people have dined here--oh so many of them to name! There have been actors, sportsmen, and even president Bush Sr. They are all pictured on the entrance walls of the cozy, semi-fancy restaurant. This is a good choice for everyone. Seafood lovers would be in heaven here. The ambiance is perfetc for couples and those going on a first date. Yet, this restaurant prides itself for being family-friendly as well. Also, it should be noted of the seniors who make this restaurant a favorite haunt. I mean, it is in senior capital Los Al- not so far away from the retirement community of Leisure World in Seal Beach!
Include yourself in the mix at OFC
Favorite Dish: Get the clam chowder !!
For lunch, I love the grilled ahi sandwich on ciabatta with asian cole slaw and a wasabi aioli, which really gives the taste a distinct quality.
Oh. how do I love my Noah's bagels !!! My mouth waters just thinking about them. There is much more on the menu here though including gourmet hot dogs, panini, muffins and bread loafs which are ready to order. Despite it being a western chain, the taste is more like New York. Though Noah's is a chain, it should be singled out for its quality. Such a shame there is not a location closer to me!! Noah's only OC appearance is in Westminster (in the nice part of the city along Beach Blvd, right on the border of Huntington Beach).
The location itself is ordinary and quaint. It is at the Pavilion Place Shopping center, yet another suburbia assortment of one-stop shoppings we all so love here in America. Noah's a wonderful stop for breakfast especially if in the area for taking in Huntington beach or if heading down Beach Blvd or off the creeping 405 freeway in the area.
Favorite Dish: c
With a yummy Pacific Rim menu and a fun, laid-back, Hawaiian-themed atmosphere, Duke's is the right place to just chill out for dinner and drinks. My colleague brought her sister here for food and cocktails for her birthday and we all enjoyed. Afterward, we walked over to the other side of the street to continue the party at another bar/club who's name I forgot.
Probably one of my most fave breakfast joints in the OC. The pancakes served here are yummy and the service nice and friendly. This place is always packed, so you're sure to expect lines, but be patient because it's worth it.
There's 14 of these franchised restaurants serving the state of California, so each restaurant is owned and operated by different individuals. However, I can attest to how great the Aneheim and Redondo establishments are and friends have told me that the San Diego one is also good.
Days/Hours of Operation:
Tuesday - Sunday: 6am to 2pm
Favorite Dish: One of the restaurant's signature items is the "Dutch Baby" (see photo), which is an oven-baked pancake sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with lemon wedges. There's a much bigger version of this, which just overflows from the plate it's served on, that I typically order. It tastes almost like a crepe, except it's slightly thicker and definitely more huge. Yum! Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.
One day in Tustin, I decided to go for a different dining experience and I wound up here at Naan & Kabob. From viewing the surroungs, I knew that this would be a very local and modest place to eat, which I thought perfect! One gets tired of passing so many McDonalds and the likes throught OCsuburbia.
If looking for authentic but not super fancy Persian cuisine, come here (Compare this review to that of Darya on my Santa Ana page). The surroundings and interior are not inspiring but all that really matters is the quality of food when stopping by. Mostly, diners here are Persian or of another Middle Eastern background but considering that it's close to Larwin Square, the main hang-out zone of the city of Tustin, others come in as well. Table service and takeout are available here.
Favorite Dish: Soltani (Chicken , Beef)
This dish has a very good universal appeal, especially good for those who are new to Persian cuisine
Here is the most famous place to get a Cuban Sandwich way west of Miami- Felix's!
Also, Spanish food is on the menu here with the usual suspect- paella! Come in early for dinner (6-7 PM to beat the rush of locals dining. The restaurant building is quite small but there are tables placed outside for extensive "al fresco" experience.
The location is very visible, off the famous traffic circle of the Old Orange district.
What's nice is that there are generous portions here- perhaps too nice with the rice.
Careful to avoid eating here if on a low-carb diet.
There is patio seating but note the bar is indoors only!
Check out the website for more on specialties from Felix!
Favorite Dish: Cuban Sandwich- just the basics here: toasted bread and ham
platanos- plantains, made with perfection
Tres Leches Cake !! a moist , rich cake with "three milks"
Tutu Tango is a really cool restaurant at the Block in Orange. I would say its more of a hang out spot, to drink and chill with some friends. There are really no main dishes here, its all appetizers. The appetizers are pretty good, but i just cant get used to it. This place has a really big patio and i believe the majority of people like to sit outside under the heaters, so they can people watch. Its located in the middle of the Block in front of the movie theaters, so you basically can see everybody walking around. It definitely gets crowded here and sometimes hard to get a seat. Normally on the weekends youll need to wait awhile, but if you have the time, you might as well. They also ahve Belly Dancers and tahitian dancers on different nights.
Zito's is a main pizza joint in the city of Orange and throughout central-east OC. You come here mainly for the pizza, which has a decent NY Style. Maybe native New Yorkers would approve- maybe not, but this California girl certainly does! Zito even will refund the price of a pizza if you're not satisfied after a bite of one slice! The deluxe version of Zito's is in Tustin, which features Sunday Brunch (yay!).
For the locals especially, Zito's is good for offering coupons in snail-mailed dining guides and coupons. However, on website there are coupons for anyone to get.
Live entertainment occurs every Friday and Saturday at the 17th St location in Tustin.
Slices are readily available M-F during lunch hours, until about 3 at the Old Towne Orange location.
17th St. (Tustin, most fancy location, like a restaurant)
Glassell St (Old Towne Orange)
Katella Ave. (Anaheim)
Santa Ana Cyn.(Anaheim Hills)
Tustin St. (Orange, close to the Village at Orange)
Favorite Dish: BBQ Chicken , just right -cheesy and a lil' not too spicy!
A colleague of mine took me to Noel Turner's restaurant for a belated birthday dinner, which was absolutely delicious. Unfortunately however, we had to rush through our meal so as not to miss the musical we were scheduled to attend at the neighboring Orange County Performing Arts Center. Having informed our hostess upon our arrival that we were crunched for time, the staff did a wonderful job of accommodating us. Not only was the service excellent, but the food was even more-so phenomenal. Turner's appeal is that it is committed to serving only the finest, all-natural, hormone-free, antibiotic-free gourmet products in the world straight from New Zealand. And boy, was this evident in the food they serve. From the butter spread to the lamb to the chocolate souffle, the freshness of ingredients and the flavors were top notch. A truly fine dine that I look forward to experiencing again soon!
Favorite Dish: - Turner Orange Roughy: Fresh Turner orange roughy pan-seared along with stir fried organic mushrooms, peppers, red onions, carrots, cabbage, sugar peas, with cilantro infused jasmine rice and crispy wontons.
- Turner Lamb Porterhouse: Minimum 30-day aged Turner lamb porterhouse, oven-roasted organic tomatoes, lyonnaise organic potatoes, finished with truffle essence.
- For dessert, a warm and gooey chocolate souffle accompanied with cream and ice cream.
CLOSED---> now is D'Amore's Pizza, which I recommend. Revised tip to come!
OK, this is a total hole-in--the-wall! Joey's in Tustin, within the historic Larwin Square serves up perfect NY thin style pizza at the best prices I have seen in O.C. The sauce and cheese are just the right amount, not too much, not too little. Slices are about $2 a slice, equally individually- for cheese only, meat (pepperoni and or sausage), Hawaiian or veggie.
No fancy parlor here but clean and with a smile from the counter guy. Simple, great place to eat.
There is more than pizza here (salads, pasta, etc) I believe but haven't tried these yet!
Favorite Dish: Veggie pizza slice
If you want the ol' time American experience, come here. Inside, the eaterie is filled with old soda bottles and a few Coca-Cola machines. As for the menu, don't expect the modern-day American fu-fu cuisine here. No fancy gourmet sandwiches with exotic ingredients, no tacos, no nachos, no sushi.
The "grinder" on the menu is a staple here. It is simply a submarine sandwich or "hoagie" with white roll bread and fillings inside. Choose from the classics: roast beef, ham or turkey. Originally, a grinder was a nickname for a dock worker.
If you can't deal with the meaty grinders, there is a vegetarian sandwich available, along with sides like fries and salads.
And everyone can't go wrong here with ice cream. There is a classic variety of flavors: Vanilla, Rocky Road, Mint and Chip and more. To be kind to yourself, a kid's scoop will suffice.
Favorite Dish: Turkey grinder ...not too heavy
Mint and Chip ice cream- delicious and freshens your breath!
This is the place for sushi in Old Towne Orange. It's pretty standard sushi and sashimi served here and decor wise, nothing so elegant but it's all about the food. Don't expect a huge crowd here, can be busy but not so packed. It is sure to satisfy for sushi and roll lovers. What's really fabulous here? The prices are low for a sushi joint. There is a dairy special and basic items are not over $10. Also, brown rice can be substituted for white! Woo-hoo!
Favorite Dish: salmon roll -flavorful!
One of the hottest, new eateries in the city of Orange is the Belgian waffle sandwich joint, Bruxie. You'll know just how popular it is by the circus of people it has each day all around its edifice, basically a medium sized food stand. The sandwich eaterie serves up semi-fancy restaurant quality street food culinary delight. It is steps away from the campus to Chapman College and a short walk from the Orange train station, Old Town Orange's traffic circle and main shopping area.
During peak times, weekday/weekend lunch (11PM-2PM), expect to wait about 10-15 min to wait to be served or get your order. So, is Bruxie's worth the wait. Absolutely! Choose from savory and sweet Belgian waffle sandwiches. The waffle itself is plain (non-sweetened) packed with typical and not-so-common sandwich ingredients. If you want to play it safe, try the Brussels waffle with pure maple syrup. Blah blah! Now, if you are willing to go out of the norm- get an Ogura waffle with red bean ans sweet cream or for a savory, try the popular(yes, popular!) buttermilk fried chicken waffle with cole slaw and chili honey!
This place is local hotspot that is expanding. New joints have opened in Brea and Rancho Santa Margarita or some restaurant entreprenuer will be inspired and open a similar Belgian waffle joint. Until then, come here to the heart of Orange and shhh, don't tell all of the masses- else the wait time will be even longer!!
Favorite Dish: Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Goat Cheese
sophisticated and downright tasty
In 2008, a new dining sensation has come to the city of Orange- Tutto Fresco. Just steps away from a McDonalds-gas station convenience stop, the trattoria offers semi-gourmet Italian-American cuisine for astoundingly affordable prices. The menu is quite varied- richly flavored pasta dishes, wraps, panini, and salads with choices of grilled chicken, meat and seafood. Skip the Big Mac for a Fresco feast.
Eat in the elegant, yet casually designed dining room. A party of two will be plenty full from 2 main dishes, crostini and rolls (with generous samples of vinegar, grated parmesano and olive oil for dipping), spending only about $25. If on the road, go in the drive-thru option to order and enjoy fancier fair for your road trip.
Tutto Fresco is also in Rancho Santa Margarita, south Orange county, at :
30642 Santa Margarita #E104
and coming soon to the city of Santa Ana.
Favorite Dish: Trenette alla Cardinale
thin ribbon pasta, sun dried pasta, grilled chicken breast in tomato cream sauce
grilled chicken breast with sauteed spinach and Roma tomatoes in our tomato cream sauce