10 Essential Fountain Valley Restaurants

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!


Edwin Goei
Yes, this is the half-order.

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.

Au Lac

dessert sampler at au lac.jpg
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.

Casa Inka

Thumbnail image for casa_inka_bar.JPG
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.

Champion Food Company

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.

Location Info

Alerto's Mexican Food

17225 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley, CA

Category: Restaurant

Au Lac Vegetarian Restaurant

16563 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley, CA

Category: Restaurant

Casa Inka

8610 Warner Ave., Fountain Valley, CA

Category: Restaurant

Champion Food Co.

17090 Magnolia St., Fountain Valley, CA

Category: Restaurant

Com Tam Tran Quy Cap

16175 Harbor Blvd., Fountain Valley, CA

Category: Restaurant

Izakaya Ku - CLOSED

18120 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley, CA

Category: Restaurant

Kappo Honda

18450 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley, CA

Category: Restaurant

Nhu Y Ca 8 Mon Restaurant

10830 Warner Ave., Fountain Valley, CA

Category: Restaurant

Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen

18315 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley, CA

Category: Restaurant


18798 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley, CA

Category: Restaurant

Sponsor Content

Now Trending

From the Vault