10 Essential Westminster Restaurants

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Kevin Lara
Song Long diet!
No we haven't done this list yet. Yes, we did a 10 Essential Little Saigon Restaurants list a month ago, which included a lot of Westminster restaurants along with some from Garden Grove; but there are so many essential places inside the city that this list HAS NO OVERLAP with that list!

Do expect Vietnamese restaurants, though. In fact, all on this new list are Vietnamese restaurants, because if you aren't going to Westminster to eat Vietnamese food, you're doing it wrong. But as there are many facets to a diamond, there are many facets to Westminster's Vietnamese eateries. In the list you'll see a restaurant that exists solely because of price point, a noodle joint that doesn't serve pho, a place where you can feast on French cuisine, and another where you can have plate of good ol' steak and eggs.

You got your own Westminster must-go restaurants? Share 'em in the comments!

Dat Thanh

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Edwin Goei
Transculent and transcendent.

This postage-stamp-size of a place only has, at most, four tables. But Dat Thanh's nem nuong rolls are wonderful--every bit the worthy challenger to Brodard's. They make the nem nuong in-house, of course. The chewy, ruddy, half-cylinder cut lengthwise can be compared to a sausage, though it isn't one. It can be said it's kind of like luncheon meat, though it isn't that either. It sports a peppery bite, a tactile and playful texture that bounces back up like a spring-loaded hot dog. But above all you taste the honest, hand-made care behind each porky construct; the Zen-simplicity and translucency of the skin-tight wetted rice paper. There are some noted differences to the Brodard roll. The tucked-in twirled cigar of deep fried egg roll skin is thinner here. And cilantro-averse people should be aware that Dat Thanh's rolls contain chopped bits of the herb mixed in with the lettuce. And then there's the warm, pinkish, thick dipping medium; the nem nuong roll's life-force; the ambrosial liquid that has become, at least in Little Saigon, the secret-sauce of secret-sauces. Brodard's nem nuong sauce has intrigued and beguiled the masses more than anything else, a recipe more guarded than nuclear launch codes. And here it is cracked: Dat Thanh's is everything Brodard's formula is, except spicier, tangier and less sugary, with all of the magic.

Lua Bistrot

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Edwin Goei
Cheap chicken!

There's no other way to say it: Lua Bistrot is way too sleek for Little Saigon. Among the neon-lit declarations of tackiness, Lua sticks out like a polished Porsche in a lot full of subcompacts. The restaurant looks good enough for a James Bond-style rendezvous with a smoldering Russian spy. Yet when you look at the prices, you realize how well the place does indeed fit into a neighborhood full of discount noodle joints. This is princely food that's sold at a pauper's price. A fist-sized hunk of filet mignon with its own à-la-minute pan sauce is served with thick, garlic-festooned fries, salad and a fried egg for less than $15. Most everything else-from wok-tossed cubes of beef with onions to fried chicken with rice to com tam with Vietnamese- barbecue pork chops called suong nuong-are even cheaper than that. They've stopped giving out free crème brûlées after their grand opening, but the desserts are still cheap enough so that 007 can put more martinis on MI6's expense budget.

Mi La Cay

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Edwin Goei
Bet on Dac Biet!

As with any Vietnamese place, order the Dac Biet (which translates to "house special"). In the case of Mi La Cay, this means a big bowl of mi, which is a wheat-based, egg noodle. So don't ask for pho. This is a Chinese Vietnamese noodle house; and as such, specializes in broths more nourishing than amniotic fluid, made from pork, sweetened with rock sugar, and smacking of umami (probably from MSG). Atop the bowl, you'll find torn lettuce leaves, pieces of tender boiled hog, crispy fried cracklings, and a cut of chicken hacked off from a whole fried bird, still on the bone. The latter speaks of the Chinese-ness of the dish. The Chinese believe (and rightly so) that meat on the bone is better, more succulent. As for the fried, breaded shrimp that also floats in the soup? It tastes like cast-offs from Long John Silver's; but still, they're a welcome add-on, especially when dolloped with Sriracha.

Location Info

Dat Thành

10032 McFadden Ave., Westminster, CA

Category: Restaurant

Lua Bistrot

9892 Westminster Ave., Garden Grove, CA

Category: Restaurant

Mi La Cay

14092 Magnolia St., Westminster, CA

Category: Restaurant

Ngu Binh Restaurant

14072 Magnolia St., Westminster, CA

Category: Restaurant

Nha Hang 1.99

11707 Edinger Ave., Fountain Valley, CA

Category: Restaurant

Pho 54

15420 Brookhurst St., Westminster, CA

Category: Restaurant

Quan Hop Restaurant

15640 Brookhurst St., Westminster, CA

Category: Restaurant

Song Long Restaurant

9361 Bolsa Ave., Westminster, CA

Category: Restaurant

Zen Vegetarian

9329 Bolsa Ave., Westminster, CA

Category: Restaurant


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16 comments
Nancy Do-Dinh
Nancy Do-Dinh

Wow. These are the old school Vietnamese restaurants that have been around for decades. Very good choices. Song Long is good French Vietnamese. One of my fav. We should go Dinh Dinh.

Amber Iwamoto
Amber Iwamoto

Thanks..I live there but have never been brave enough! lol '

Martin Orozco
Martin Orozco

Why would I even go anywhere to eat that nasty food!!

Jake Rankin
Jake Rankin

A refreshing and positive article. Great job!

Young Sheeñ
Young Sheeñ

What if I'm not religious? I too can partake in these delectable establishments??

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