10 Essential Anaheim Restaurants

John Gilhooley
This list is not for the Disney tourist who's content to secure a seat at Bubba Gump's or Joe's Crab Shack. This list is for travelers (and us locals) who want to explore Anaheim beyond the resort green zone--a.k.a. the real Anaheim. Yes, thrown in the mix is one solitary eatery on Disney property (because we love Disneyland, too). Also know that this list is not complete by any means. Because it is limited to 10, the gut-filling German cuisine of Jägerhaus, the lamb feast at Olive Tree, and even the humble teriyaki bowls of Mos No 2 weren't included (all of them OC Weekly favorites). It just goes to show that Anaheim is a big, wonderful, diverse and exciting food city...which just happens to have two theme parks.

1. Bistro Bleu

Edwin Goei

For his own restaurant, David Kesler, the former executive chef of the Cellar, is most interested in decoupling the exorbitance from French cuisine. You can have a three course lunch with bœuf bourguignon as the main course and chocolate mousse for dessert for about $16. His escargots--served simmering in a mini-Dutch oven--is presented as a stew in a style indicative of Provence, with garlic, tomato, mushrooms, parsley, white wine and a splash of creme fraiche, and is about $8 right now. There's no need for those metal shell-gripping contraptions or even a tiny fork. In fact, there's no table setting. Silverware here is crammed in mason jars, napkins are paper, and when you order wine by the glass, they fill it to the brim. And for dessert, at $7 (as of this writing), the chocolate soufflé automatically distinguishes itself as the most reasonably priced in the county, as is this restaurant.

2. Blake's Place

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Edwin Goei

Still thinking of barbecue in the way the Food Network does when it crams it down our throats during sweeps? Well, then get your brisket-and-baby-back-lovin' self to Blake's Place, a mom-and-pop that's actually owned by Blake's mom and pop. Don't expect kitschy Southern theming or anything frivolous on the walls. Located in a stark industrial area, it is as serene a temple to what we Americans call barbecue as you'll ever get in OC. The brisket is fork-tender and pink in the middle. The homemade sausages snap. Everything is served on Styrofoam plates like your most recent picnic in the park.

3. Cortina's Italian Market

Amanda DeFrancis

Try the sausage sandwich, in which fat, subtly spiced homemade links are split in half lengthwise and layered four slices thick with more of those near-liquefied sweet peppers. It's the kind of messy, overstuffed sandwich that disintegrates if you hold it wrong. Order it anyway. Also try the Fireball. It has a wad of spicy cured capicolla harboring a low-frequency hotness, as well as a not-insignificant amount of whole peperoncinis. The hotness layered itself one on top of the other. Or heck, try any sandwich, then rejoice that the original and legendary location in Anaheim has now reopened after last year's devastating fire.

Location Info

Bistro Bleu

918 S. Magnolia Ave., Anaheim, CA

Category: Restaurant

Blake's Place

2905 E. Miraloma Ave., Anaheim, CA

Category: Restaurant

Cortina's Italian Market

2175 W. Orange Ave., Anaheim, CA

Category: Restaurant

Myung Dong Kal Guk Su

1000 N. Euclid St., Anaheim, CA

Category: Restaurant

Papa Hassan's Grill

882 S. Brookhurst St., Anaheim, CA

Category: Restaurant

Slater's 50/50 Burger By Design

6362 E. Santa Ana Canyon Rd., Anaheim, CA

Category: Restaurant

Tana Ethiopian Restaurant

2622 W. La Palma Ave., Anaheim, CA

Category: Restaurant

THE RANCH Restaurant and Saloon

1025 E. Ball Road, Anaheim, CA

Category: Restaurant

Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar & Tangaroa Terrace

1150 Magic Way, Anaheim, CA

Category: Restaurant

Zankou Chicken

2424 W. Ball Rd., Anaheim, CA

Category: Restaurant

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