OC Weekly's Best of Food & Drink

Not a bad list, but several winners surprised me. Water Grill, for instance, has been terrible for oysters in my experience. Broken shells and pouring the liquor off (on more than one visit) are deal killers for me. Shuck should have taken it in a walk.

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A much better list than the OC Register.

Have you been to any of these places?
Yoshiharu Ramen
Andrew’s Ice Cream

I’ve been to Cancun Juice

The chamoyada they serve there is … I can’t think of a polite term for it (in a good way)

And Olive Tree might be the best restaurant in OC period, let alone just arabic food

I’m reading through and finding myself agreeing with quite a few. Notable disagreements for me are best sandwich (they have lil pickle USA – I think it’s easily Mendo Farms) and best Thai they have rod sap, a good pick and all, but I’d go Vientiane (even though it’s technically Laotian, close enough) and I don’t think Best Foods is nearly the best Chinese in OC unless something drastic has changed. Hard not to go with Szechuan Impression or Chong Qing Mei Wei but I guess I have a Szechuan bias

Yoshiharu ramen is average. Kitakata murders all for me.


Saigon Bakery for egg banh mi.

Big thanks to @TonyC for sharing this place.


The oysters choice alone is questionable. The Shuck oysters are excellent in quality and quantity…the selection and execution is first rate. They are also one of the few places in southern California who carry my favorite Island Creeks.

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The best fries I have had in OC are at Blue Gold. They might be my favorite in all of SoCal.


Blue Gold also has those amazing pickles with fish sauce.



OK thanks. That is my #1 spot right now as well. With Santouka coming in a close 2nd. This hot weather really makes me want a steaming hot bowl of ramen. I know there is another thread about eating steaming hot bowls of soup when its hot outside. Count me in.


What do you usually order? I’ve heard about their great Ramadan buffet but for a regular dinner what’s your go to? I usually go to Zait n Zataar down the street but always hear good things about Olive Tree.

Totally agree.

Shuck is fantastic, and everyone there is great.

I’ll have to get back in. We went for dinner one night and were not terribly impressed. Tried several dishes including steam kettle, tartar, crab legs, the gratin, none of which wowed us. LSXO, on the other hand is probably my favorite restaurant in OC right now. It makes me wonder how such amazing flavors can come out of one side of the kitchen and such average flavors out of the other.

Went through the list in more detail. I don’t think these are necessarily omissions but a few places that would be on my top list in OC
Best Donut - Sidecar huckleberry donut
Best Pizza - Fuoco
Best Bakery - Cream Pan or St Patisserie over Porto’s any day
Best Chinese - very difficult to choose between different regions but DTF, J Zhou, Noodle 101 and Szechuan Impression would be my choices


I tend towards savory breakfast over sweet but Anepalcos french toast was great. The guava kept it from being cloying.

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Andrews’ Ice Cream: Tried it a few years ago and it wasn’t memorable. Hans’ Homemade Ice Cream in Costa Mesa gets my pick for classic ice cream parlor with a touch of creativity. Love me some mint cookies and cream.

The Bagel Shack: Awesome pick. I worked in commercial production in Orange County and tried lots of bagels on set: Bagel Shack was far and away the best.

+1 for Kitakata, Sidecar and Cream Pan.

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I usually get whatever the special of the day is. My favorites are the Kabsa, freekeh and Idra Rice dishes with lamb. The dishes are similar but not the same. Idraa, ouzi, beryani, kabsa, makloobeh, are all pretty much rice + meat but they vary in the spices and veggies mixed into the rice. Their chicken’s outstanding too, if you’re not as big on lamb, but for me lamb is the most delicious meat so I always go with that even though they really do a great job with the chicken. If you just want the ordinary shwarma/kabob stuff, Olive Tree does that well and all, but you can get that stuff anywhere. The homestyle special dishes are the way to go IMO. At Ramadan they basically have almost the whole menu all at the same time, so that’s pretty special, but I actually prefer just dropping by. Everything’s already made so it’s a very quick in/out to get the food to go. And the portions are big enough to make a lunch & dinner for me.

Z&Z is amazzzzing but quite different. It’s my favorite bakery.

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Got it. Stewed lamb and meat over rice sounds delicious. My wife and kids aren’t huge fans of lamb so I think this is why we haven’t been yet. It’s not beneath me to lie to my wife and say the dish is made of pork or chicken.

Z&Z is much different. Agreed on the baked goods and pizza.

Here’s Part Two.

Best burger in the OC is at Royal Hen. Great fries too. Really great.

I do enjoy shopping at Hi-Time Cellars. I’ve found many a good buys there.


The fries are really good. Share with the entire table or eat them all to yourself. They fry them with herbs and garlic and finish with a nice sea salt. I literally could not stop eating them, even after hammering down their sizable burger, which was also very good.

The add on chicken for the salads is wonderful as well. Best add on chicken I have had. They could have just thrown on some seared chicken breast, but they served a well seasoned and well roasted half chicken.

I tend to go to Blue Gold for lunch and LSXO for dinner. LSXO gives you a ton of food too. I remember taking much of our food home and had it for like two meals after that.

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Looks like a great menu http://www.theroyalhen.com/ , but unless I’m missing it, I don’t see a burger on there.

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