Top Choice American in Sunset Beach

Harbor House Café

High-school skaters, 30-something beach bums and old-timers mix easily under ramshackle walls slathered with movie posters at this classic neon-lit roadside diner from 1939. The menu is long, portions huge and waits…
Top Choice Californian in San Juan Capistrano

Ramos House Café

The best spot for breakfast or lunch near the Mission, this Old West–flavored, wood-built house from 1881 is famous for organically raised comfort food flavored with herbs grown onsite. To find it, walk across the r…
Top Choice Seafood in Newport Beach

Bear Flag Fish Company

This is the place for generously sized, grilled and panko-breaded fish tacos, ahi burritos, spankin’ fresh ceviche and oysters. Pick out what you want from the ice-cold display cases, then grab a picnic-table seat. …
Top Choice Seafood in Seal Beach

Walt’s Wharf

Everybody’s favorite for fresh fish (some drive in from LA), Walt’s packs them in on weekends. You can’t make reservations for dinner (though they’re accepted for lunch), but it’s worth the wait for the oak fire–gri…
Top Choice Japanese in Laguna Beach

242 Cafe Fusion Sushi

One of the only female sushi chefs in Orange County, Miki Izumisawa slices and rolls organic rice into Laguna’s best sushi, artfully presented. The place seats maybe two dozen people at a time, so expect a wait or c…
Top Choice Mexican in San Juan Capistrano

El Campeon

For real-deal Mexican food, in a strip mall south of the Mission, try this multi-room counter-service restaurant, panadería (bakery) and mercado (grocery store). Look for tacos, tostadas and burritos in freshly made…
Cafe in Laguna Beach

Zinc Cafe & Market

Ground zero for Laguna’s see-and-be-seen vegetarians, this gourmet market has a hedge-enclosed patio where you can munch on tasty vegetarian and vegan meals such as garden-fresh salads and pizzas. If you’ve been hes…
Seafood in Newport Beach

Crab Cooker

Expect a wait at this always-busy joint, a landmark since 1951. It serves great seafood and fresh crab on paper plates to an appreciative crowd wearing flip-flops and jeans. Don’t miss the delish chowder – it’s load…
Cafe in Huntington Beach

Sugar Shack

Expect a wait at this HB institution, or get here early to see surfer dudes don their wet suits. Breakfast is served all day on the bustling Main St patio and inside, where you can grab a spot at the counter or a tw…
Fast Food in Crystal Cove State Park

Ruby’s Shake Shack

At this easy-to-miss roadside wooden shack, recently bought by the Ruby’s Diner chain, the milkshakes and ocean views are as good as ever.