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Zankou Chicken


For the best rotisserie chicken and shawarma on the run, Zankou Chicken can't be beat! With a huge delivery and take-out business, this place hops! Although you can dine in the eatery, most folks take their food and eat elsewhere. The bakery has sinfully delicious goodies – be sure to get an extra baklava to munch in the car. Fast, tasty food that's inexpensive is the name of the game.

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With a house specialty like barbecued chopped catfish and curries that have set more than a few mouths ablaze, this casual Thai eatery is not for the faint of heart. Boasting a diverse menu that's decidedly not your standard Americanized Thai fare, Nakorn places little emphasis on smoke and mirrors. Instead of kitschy decor or overworked standards, all you'll find is good, homestyle Southeast Asian cookery. And what more could you really want?

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The "two-step" takes on new meaning with Wood Ranch's barbecuing process! Slow-cooked overnight and grilled when ordered, ribs and barbecue come out luscious and mouthwatering. Celebrity sightings are not uncommon, but locals often line up for tri-tip roasts and beef or baby back pork ribs. Prices are for a complete meal, so be sure and sample the Ranch fries and original peanut coleslaw too. You'll likely experience a wait, but that only means you can savor the aromas longer!

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7
Irvine


One of the area's more popular Japanese restaurants, Taiko earns high marks for terrific food, quick and friendly service, and reasonable prices. Perhaps the restaurant's best perk, though, is that you can sidle up to the sushi bar and have rolls made to suit your taste. House specialties include sesame chicken, a tempura and sashimi combination plate, and roast salmon cheeks.

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Mamma mia! Had P.T. Barnum been Italian, this is the type of restaurant he would have created. From the Piazza Fantasia with Christmas lights to the flying Gelardis (high-wire dummies), there's entertainment for everyone. Nevertheless, fun doesn't overwhelm the food. From pizzas with gourmet toppings to hand-stuffed ravioli, calamari, and vegetarian dishes, this Italian fun house promises delicious food and guarantees a great time!

Read more about Angelo's & Vinci's Ristorante →




For a gourmet brush with Mediterranean cuisine, locals recommend Black Sheep, where the distinct flavors of Provençe and Catalonia merge. House specialties span the continent and feature the likes of Grand Aioli, a Provençal-inspired seafood potluck with traditional garlic-and-olive oil sauce; Oveja Negra Paella with shrimp, mussels, and black Valencia rice; and grilled lamb loin with baby portabellos. Streetside dining is available, and mid-week dinner specials are a good option.

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Oklahoma-style BBQ in the heart of Southern California? Why, sure! Tulsa Rib Company specializes in chicken, shrimp, and rib comfort foods and has done so for longer than most of its OC competitors. Its cozy, casual scene is conducive to finger-licking and eating till you've had your fill, and the staff can be trusted to make newcomers feel like long-time regulars. Hearty house specialties include tender country pork ribs, country-fried steak, and famous Tulsa potatoes – people have been known to drive an hour to sample them.

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A Tudor-style British pub, this Santa Ana treasure earns high marks for terrific limey fare, including traditional comfort dishes like fish and chips, cottage pie, bangers and mash, and Yorkshire pudding. For added charm, the public house is well-stocked with various and sundry whiskeys, gins, and scotches as well as draughts like McEwans, Guinness, Bass, New Castle, and Boddingtons. A second location is in Fullerton at 709 North Harbor Boulevard (714-871-7447).

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Trendy. Sophisticated. Refined. California casual. Any number of adjectives apply to this sidewalk cafe, where fashion-minded locals and well-heeled tourists rub shoulders over gourmet coffees and teas. Menu items run the gamut, and patrons enjoy poached eggs on buttered toast or fritattas with cucumber salsa for breakfast and then a veggie-friendly Zinc Burger and pizzettes (with sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, roasted peppers, chipotle chili, and Anaheim chilies) for lunch. Folks needing a bite for the road may consult the Market Menu, which sports gourmet sweets and carryout meals.

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For fine Mediterranean cuisine, Orange County residents know that this Tustin eatery always has something delicious in store. A casual, relaxing mood is promoted by contemporary architecture, exotic plant and flower arrangements, and muted shades of yellow, red, and grey. Featured entrees include lamb shishlik with jasmin rice pilaf, Moroccan salmon with saffron couscous, and cavatappi pasta with grilled eggplant, zucchini, and fontina cheese. Still, there's no mistaking what made the place famous – its bakery. From a classic chocolate cake and pumpkin tart to a caramel pecan tart and cinnamon walnut rugala, the sweets are too many and too tempting to resist.

Read more about Zov's Bistro & Bakery Cafe →


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