10 Essential Fountain Valley Restaurants
ProfessorSalt.com Not the ramen from your college days
If you've not noticed, the reason Fountain Valley's been buzzed about lately is because of donuts. There's Afters, which blew everyone's mind with their ice cream-stuffed donuts. And then there's The Donut Bar, which will do the same crazy permutations of Homer's favorite food like the original Donut Bar does in San Diego.
But Fountain Valley has long been a mecca of great restaurants, especially if what you want is non-sushi Japanese. I'm talking, of course, about FV's izakaya-style pubs. Fountain Valley's section of Brookhurst has the highest concentration of Japanese pubs in OC.
Sure, the city has Paul's Coffee Shop which we discovered and loved way before Guy Fieri ever stepped foot in it; but in my opinion, Fountain Valley's restaurant scene is all about these Japanese restaurants and a few Vietnamese ones that are technically just outside the fringes of Little Saigon.
And after all that, you can still get those donuts.
Disagree with my assessment? Say so in the comments and suggest your own list of essentials. Go ahead. The more the better!
Some advice for visiting Alerto's: Get a half-order of carne asada nachos, not the full order. The only difference between the two is the price. Both have the same amount of freshly fried chips smothered in cheese, beans, tender cubes of steak, pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream. Only fools order the full order. And you know what they say about fools and their money.
Javier Cabral Raw Pies at Au Lac
Au Lac is located in a leafy Fountain Valley strip mall, one of the leafiest, in fact, with lots of old, full grown trees shading it. This is appropriate because this restaurant has overshadowed all other Vietnamese vegan restaurants in its nearly two decades in business. Reach a Zen-like peace of mind when you graze the menu of wellness-oriented cuisine and a second list dedicated to raw foods. They serve everything from seasonal spring rolls to fuming hot bowls of "chicken" pho, all of it made with love for the food and the animals that were spared.
Edwin Goei Bamboo and wood everywhere
Casa Inka's ode to Machu Picchu is on a big canvas, hung on a dominant wall in a room that also features more thatched roofing than a tiki bar. The space has a brightly lit, sunny disposition that all but disarms you into trying things you've never tried before. Before you know it, you're dabbing skewers of grilled cow's heart called anticuchos into aji amarillo--a smoldering chili sauce that burns longer than plutonium, then quelching it with cans of canary-yellow Inka Cola.
Edwin Goei Mmm...Chinese donuuuuts.
Champion Food Co. in Fountain Valley is ostensibly a Chinese restaurant, but it's most famous for its Chinese breakfasts. Sure, their boba and snacks during the day are fine, but it's in the morning when you have to go and discover what most of Asian OC already knows. Pancakes, schmancakes. If you want to eat breakfast the way 1.3 billion people on our planet do, go to Champion Food Co. From 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., the otherwise-humble boba shop transforms into a Chinese breakfast factory. The most popular item is a sandwich-taco hybrid of shredded beef and scallions stuffed inside a wrapper half as thin as a tortilla. But there are also salty crullers longer than a policeman's nightstick, deep-fried to airy, golden puffs. Dunk 'em in steaming Styrofoam bowls of soy milk like donuts in coffee. And for those who simply must have breakfast on the go, grab a ci fan tuan--Saran-wrapped glutinous rice burritos filled with pork rousing. It's the anti-Egg McMuffin.
17225 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley, CA
16563 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley, CA
8610 Warner Ave., Fountain Valley, CA
17090 Magnolia St., Fountain Valley, CA
16175 Harbor Blvd., Fountain Valley, CA
18120 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley, CA
18450 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley, CA
10830 Warner Ave., Fountain Valley, CA
18315 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley, CA
18798 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley, CA