OC for a few days



Way out of your range. You know all those mountains northeast of LA? Somewhere in there in the city of Altadena at a plaza in the corner is an obsessed perfectionist Italian who makes the best gelato this side of the Boot, perhaps even better than most places. A spoonful of his Pistachio Gelato, mind you not just any pistachios but it has to be a particular Sicilian Pistachio will send your tastebuds to areas it never knew it existed. And his thick spaghetti with twice cooked tomato sauce might be the best pasta I ever had.

His name is Leo Bulgarini.


pho mai unfortunately closed. there’s a few banh canh specialists like banh canh que em & que anh if you’re into the thick rice tapioca style noodles. what viet dishes haven’t you tried yet?


I would make the drive for dinner & gelato @ Leo’s.


Pho Mai is now Mai Phung I believe


For Izakaya perhaps Izakaya Hachi? I don’t know if its what you’re looking for but if it works there’s a location down in Costa Mesa.

Since people are mentioning Cream Pan, I remember seeing a place called Okayama Kobo in Anaheim here on FTC and it looked good. While I haven’t been, it sounds closer to you than Cream Pan if you still want something in that category.


In the same complex as Cream Pan is Tanakaya. Those guys make their own soba fresh everyday.


Ah good to know!


Tanakaya is fantastic. Had a great soba combo with karage the last time I was there. I’m not a soba expert but it was as good as I’ve had. Not a big selection of items on the menu - a nice place to bang bang with cream pan.


Not under your requests but:

Potzol Den Cano - chicken pozole, enfrijolada, chilaquiles

Actually, driving to Rowland Heights is not far from Anaheim. Probably just as far as Anaheim to Costa Mesa depending on what part of Anaheim.

Midoh is casual Yoshoku cuisine. They have excellent hamburg, gyutan, and katsu curry, among other items. The ton katsu filet is good, not quite Kagura status but not many are. Caveat, it is in Rowland Heights. They also cook their white rice very good. I usually get the hamburg with cheese or the gyutan.


X 2 Potzol Den Cano in Santa Ana. I would also add the Cafe De Olla to the aforementioned dishes.


That was me!!

I been twice to Okayama Kobo and have enjoyed both visits. There is still a lot I want to try! The Spicy Curry Pan and Butter Salt Roll are great. I am interested in the mentaiko baguette for my next visit and if the strawberry croissant is better than Cream Pan’s.

I predict this place could potentially be better than Cream Pan. Yeah I said it.

@beefnoguy I would make this place a visit. It’s in Anaheim and close to Disneyland/resort area.


It’s the only US store outside of Japan.



Okayama Kobo also has Bizen Beer Bar attached to it with Japanese beers on draft (not just the usual big names) and “treasure ship” sake (I don’t know much about sake or if this is good sake)


Been to Leo’s before a few years back, had a gelato and granita before the long haul back up to SF…very enjoyable, though they only had pistachio by weight and unavailable for cup or cone at the time. Doubt I can make it up there though this upcoming visit. Definitely saving that for a longer LA centric trip in the future and geeking it out with wine with their pasta and other dishes.

I’m wondering if I actually went to Mai Phung when I had the crab banh canh a few years back, but for some reason Yelp seems to say the place is Pho Mai. Thanks for the rec on que em and que anh! One of my favorites was Cha Oc Gia Huy in Garden Grove for some really great sea snail sausage based dishes, but not going this time. Ditto for Ngu Binh (banh ram it was not to my liking, but I think I would still love their bun bo hue).

I have Okayama Kobo bookmarked, it reminds me a little bit of Clover Bakery in the same complex as Mitsuwa in San Jose; melon pan, curry pan etc. Not sure if I’ll make it there though and since I’ve been to Cream Pan already, might try something else new (unless I am going to Tustin for dinner then will drop by to take a look). Will look into Tanakaya too.

Catholiver, it’s mostly a preference. Plus I’ve been to OC quite a few times already and know Korean and Central Vietnamese are particularly strong in that area. To be fair I’ve tried two raw food style restaurants in Costa Mesa and Fountain Valley, as well as Sweet Tomatoes buffet and other forgettable places, and let’s just say it was not my choice. I know there’s a Roscoe’s in Anaheim and we don’t have anything like that up here, but if given a choice I’d hit up Vietnamese or Korean instead.

So many choices already, it’s going to be a challenge to finalize :slight_smile:

Thank you all again!!


Hope you give Mai’s Kitchen a shot for homestyle Viet.


Hi @JeetKuneBao,

I definitely want to go still based on what you posted in the past, :slight_smile: but isn’t this the place where the menu is in Vietnamese only? You said they might have an English menu soon, but not now, right?

How would you know what to order without inviting someone who spoke Vietnamese? Thanks.


Taken from yelp in June.

If you’re going for family style this is the page on the menu to order. You can see they don’t expect non Vietnamese to order from this menu at all since they didn’t bother to translate it but translated the rest of the menu.

The other pages have all the familiar items like most vietnamese restaurants which ironically is translated.

3 sections—man (savory/salty) , xao (stirfry/vegetable), canh (soup). For complete family style meal you need to order 1 from each section.
My Rec below are not based on what I’ve had there, but Based on how fundamental these dishes are to homestyle viet food. It’s like trying a new dim sum spot and ordering the shui mai and hargow.

The ones I would go with are ca kho to (caramelized catfish ) thit rim Tom (braised pork and shrimp). ask for side of dua chua, pickled mustard greens—it’ll be good complement to the above. dau hu nhi thit (braised fried tofu stuffed with pork sausage in tomato broth) is another good choice.

From the xao section: rau muong xao toi( stir fried morning glory with garlic). I don’t have strong feelings on the rest, but there’s stir fried luffa squash, bitter melon with egg, eggplant…

Canh section, typically you choose one and it’ll be sour soup ,canh chua —catfish or shrimp. Both traditional but moreso catfish. Ask for separate plate of fish sauce and chiles—you typically remove the filets from the soup and let it soak and eat the fish separately so everyone can share.

But if your group is big enough you can get another. They are all very traditional and good in a homey way. Khoai mo purple yam soup is an interesting one texture wise if you like viscous. Viets love viscous stuff like malabar spinach and okra.

Hope that helps and if you need anything else translated.


The menu posted, the top lefts are what you want to try first…

Ca Kho To…Carmelized Catfish (make sure you spoon that delicious sauce and watch out for small bones)

Rau Muong Xao Toi…Water Spinach/Ong Choy. If the Son asks if you want fish sauce-chiles as a sauce for this dish say Yes. Ask for extra garlic if you can, but that’s my preference.

Canh Chua Ca…Sour Catfish Soup. Incredibly comforting, and just enough sour from tamarind with some vegetables and soft pieces of catfish. Especially in the winter time this really hits the spot.

Extra…Dua Chua…Pickled Veg. Vietnamese does pickles too!!

The beauty of this homestyle meal here is it balances itself out. There are English speaking staff but when in doubt just point to those top lefts and screenshot some Yelp pics (or mines from my review)



You truly must have viet blood in you :grin:


Leo Bulgarini’s wines are delicious. Yes his own!

He will also mix some wine and gelato that will make your tastebuds sing tears of joy.

If his Son is there play some scopa!!

Dinner and Dessert at Bulgarini is so much more than just pasta and gelato.


Hi @hppzz, @JeetKuneBao,

Thank you! :slight_smile: This is a good start. Although now that you’ve started, maybe between you, @Ns1 and @attran99 if you feel like it and have time, can you translate the rest of the dishes on that page? :wink:

If not, no worries. @JeetKuneBao said they might eventually have an English menu for that in 2019?