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10 Essential Orange Restaurants

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Jossue Rivas
YUM...YUM!!!!
Orange, with that cool roundabout in Old Towne and the legendary Watson's, also boasts restaurants that Tom Hanks didn't feature when he filmed That Thing You Do here. So here's a list of this town's eateries that your humble scribe has deemed his essentials. What's yours? Share 'em in the comments, would you?

As usual, the list is alphabetical--this time with no numbers so that it doesn't confuse those of you who don't read so good.

Anepalco's Cafe

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Photo by Todd Barnes
Godinez putting the finishing strokes on his bomb-ass huevos divorciados

There are two Anepalco's Cafe. Both are great. But this one has an easier parking situation and also, dinner is served. And it's then that Danny Godinez starts to really crack his knuckles and show you that Mexi-French cuisine isn't monopolized by Richard Sandoval's Raya at The Ritz. Baguettes are served with guajillo chile butter and dessert is from a roster of crepes that, of course, includes one with Nutella and banana. The single best dish has to be a pan-sautéed tilapia where Godinez turns a bargain fish into something as delicate as seabass. Everything you require from a French restaurant fish dish is present, from the coveted crispy sear of the flesh, to a silken potato puree, to a lick-the-plate good serrano beurre blanc an accomplished saucier would sell his soul to produce.

Bruxie
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Christopher Victorio

Bruxie makes a waffle similar, if not identical, to the one cooked on the cobblestone streets of Brussels. The airy tic-tac-toe-patterned honeycomb, delicate as spun sugar and cut into quarter wedges from a bigger circle, is just as crisp, just as ethereal as an authentic Belgian waffle, even if the thimble of maple syrup it's served with peddles to our American expectations on what must go with a waffle. But Bruxie has gone beyond waffles as street-side treats or breakfast fodder. Bruxie is everywhere now, poised to conquer America. But it all started here, at the outdoor-seating-only shack reclaimed from an old Dairy Treet across from Chapman University.

Felix Continental Cafe

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Todd Barnes

Felix Continental Cafe got a face-lift: They removed the light bulbs that bordered the old street marquee for something a little more tasteful. But other than that, it's business as usual. The decades-old Cuban restaurant looks like it always has-a little frayed around the edges, and it will probably remain that way even as cars start to fly. Insurmountable mountains of rice, black beans, plantains and yuca are standard starches on the lunch combos, stomach-stuffers in and of themselves. But the odds are stacked against you further at dinner, for which every meal includes either a soup or an unremarkable salad and a choice of dessert that, more often than not, will get boxed up along with the rest.


Location Info

Anepalco's Cafe

3737 W. Chapman Ave., Orange, CA

Category: General

Bruxie

292 N. Glassell St., Orange, CA

Category: Restaurant

Felix Continental Cafe

36 Plaza Square, Orange, CA

Category: Restaurant

Gabbi's Mexican Restaurant

141 S. Glassell St., Orange, CA

Category: Restaurant

Haven Gastropub

190 S. Glassell St., Orange, CA

Category: Restaurant

King Lobster Palace

2045 N. Tustin St., Orange, CA

Category: Restaurant

LinX

234 W. Chapman Ave., Orange, CA

Category: Restaurant

Ohshima Japanese Cuisine

1956 N. Tustin St., Orange, CA

Category: Restaurant

The Hobbit

2932 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, CA

Category: Restaurant

Xa Sweet & Savory Café

424 S. Main St., Orange, CA

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
20 comments
Pablo M
Pablo M

Lets call this article restaurants in the Orange Circle and the other half elsewhere. We get it, the Orange Circle is relevant in life now...

tim.meltreger
tim.meltreger

Can we PLEASE stop thinking Watson's is anything other than total suckville?  I was in there yesterday.  It's dirty.

Cesar Jaime
Cesar Jaime

Biased opinions...just like that diary of a mad fat woman

David Gillanders
David Gillanders

I've lived in OTO for 15 years, still have never been to Yen Ching...

TheRefriedMexican
TheRefriedMexican

Where's Mariscos Mocorito? The best mariscos joint in the OC nobody knows about.

gnarchild
gnarchild

Some great restaurants in Orange ...except linx, ugh gross. Terrible name, terrible food. Haven is awesome as is Felix. Didn't even know about Oshima, that place has been so many different sushi bars over the years that I lost track. 

Matt Miller Sr.
Matt Miller Sr.

You forgot Yen Ching's, Tacos Jalisco, Arthur's & Genovese's.

David Gillanders
David Gillanders

Its insane how much our neighborhood has changed in the last decade. For the better, mostly!

Geraldine Pontawe
Geraldine Pontawe

Vincent Parra, we have a few on this list we must see and check off!

TylerDurden
TylerDurden

@gnarchild  I think you're thinking of Orange sushi.  Ohshima has been around for awhile and is probably the best sushi you're gonna get in oc.

gnarchild
gnarchild

Yen Ching, pretty much the only Chinese food I like 

gnarchild
gnarchild

@TylerDurden - When I was a kid it was called "Bullet Train", then it was called "Ichiban", then it was something else I can't recall, then it was called "Satsuki", maybe something after that? Now it's Oshima. I'm not doubting its quality, I'm just reminising. I'll have to check it out. 

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