Mostly known for its impressive Korean
district as well as its Vietnamese
district, Garden Grove
, California is a small but festive city. It is one of the best places to try a diverse range of cuisines – here are the best places to go.
Mo Ran Gak
One of the most popular restaurants in Garden Grove, Mo Ran Gak specializes in authentic, traditional Korean cuisines. It is most known for its meat dishes such as samgyeopsal (slices of cooked non-marinated pork belly), kalbi (marinated and cooked beef short ribs cut into pieces) and chadolbaegi (pieces of non-marinated, cooked beef briskets). A couple non-meat dishes that are popular are yookaejang (spicy beef broth with shredded beef and vegetables) and mul-naengmyeon (ice cold noodle soup). Not only are the main dishes delicious, but also so are the unlimited banchan (side dishes) of vegetables, salads, and noodles. It is an excellent place to experience authentic Korean dining.
Mo Ran Gak, 9651 Garden Grove Blvd, Garden Grove, CA, USA, +1 714 638 1177
The Past Memories
Bar, Restaurant, Korean, $$$
The Past Memories
A Korean restaurant and bar, The Past Memories is a popular nighttime hangout spot particularly for its meat dishes and soju, a type of Korean alcoholic beverage. It is famous for its unusually tender and juicy kalbi (marinated beef short ribs) and its hot, crispy and sweet seasoned chicken wings. However, what makes The Past Memories most distinctive compared to other restaurants is its flavored yogurt soju. Flavors come in lemon, strawberry, pineapple, mango, apple, lychee, and grape. Its sweetness reduces the taste of the alcohol, making the drink easier to consume compared to drinking soju by itself. Thus, many people with low tolerances for alcohol dine and drink at The Past Memories with groups of friends.
The Past Memories, 9252 Garden Grove Blvd #29, Garden Grove, CA, USA
Kaju Soft Tofu Restaurant
Restaurant, Korean, $$$
Kaju Soft Tofu Restaurant
This is an authentic Korean restaurant opened since 1994. Kaju Tofu Restaurant is one of the few restaurants in the Korean district of Garden Grove that specifically specializes in soft tofu stews called soon-du-bu. It offers a wide selection of flavors as well as varying levels of spiciness from ‘white,’ which very mild, to ‘very-very-spicy’. This is, as the name implies, extremely hot. Of the 13 flavors of soups available, the top three most popular choices are the combination tofu soup, which consists of seafood such as shrimp, clams and oysters, and beef; mushroom tofu soup; and beef tofu soup. In addition to its specialties, Kaju also provides a variety of side dishes. They are called banchan in Korean and complement with the main dishes.
Kaju Soft Tofu Restaurant, 8895 Garden Grove Blvd, Garden Grove, CA, USA, +1 714 636 2849
Restaurant, Seafood, Vietnamese
Claws Restaurant is a Vietnamese-run, Cajun restaurant that specializes in seafood. This includes, but is not limited to, crab, mussels, oysters, clams, and crawfish. It offers traditional Cajun dishes, such as jambalaya, gumbo, and etoufee. There are also original dishes such as Claws’ Cannonball Flavor, which is a mixture of Cajun, lemon pepper seasoning, and garlic butter. Despite the large range of food, Claws is most famous for its Louisiana Crawfish, which is the best in the city. Not only is the restaurant known for its food, but also its interior design is original. It ha life-size pirate models, skeleton-decorated banners, and paintings of vessels. It is decorated in such a way that guests feel as if they are actually living in a pirate’s world.
Claws, 12125 Brookhurst St., Garden Grove, CA, USA, +1 714 590 1295
One of the most popular Vietnamese restaurants in Garden Grove, Pho Lu, as its name suggests, specializes in pho, a type of traditional Vietnamese noodle soup dishes. It offers a wide selection of pho from the traditional plain style to more complex and flavorful pho filled with meat such as beef, pork or chicken or with seafood such as shrimp. Among its pho dishes, Pho Lu’s most popular has been rumored to be the Pho Duoi Bo, also known as Oxtail Pho. It is known for its milky and flavorful broth as well as its thin slices of tender and soft beef. Aside from its savory dishes, the restaurant is also famous for its low prices of each dish.
Pho Lu, 10141 Westminster Ave #5, Garden Grove, CA, USA, +1 714 539 7979
Carolina's Italian Restaurant
Restaurant, Italian, Asian, $$$
Carolina’s Italian Restaurant
One of the few Italian restaurants among the Asian districts, Carolina’s Italian Restaurant is an extravagant, high-class restaurant that utilizes only the freshest ingredients from local sources. It provides large portions of each dish so that guests may dine on a satisfying amount of authentic Italian cuisine. Not only does the restaurant offer a wide selection of incomparable food, but also it provides excellent catering service to the community. These include neighboring cities in both Orange County as well as Los Angeles County. Furthermore, the restaurant exerts effort to serve the community by scheduling weekly fundraiser nights. During these, school staff, friends, and family dine and the restaurant returns 20 percent of what they spent as a donation to the school.
Carolina’s Italian Restaurant, 12045 Chapman Ave, Garden Grove, CA, USA, +1 714 971 5551
Sabroso! Mexican Grill
Sabroso! Mexican Grill
This nationally famous Mexican restaurant was featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins & Drives episode called ‘California Cruisin’ with Guy Fieri in 2014. Sabroso! Mexican Grill provides the community with wide range of authentic Mexican cuisine. It is mostly known for its house specialities menu that includes slow-cooked beef in red chile, carne asada, fajitas, quail in red sauce, pork chile verde, and chile relleno. Each dish is made with the freshest ingredients available and prepared to perfection. Guests will be able to experience Mexican cuisine as if they were dining in Mexico. As a result, many travelers stop by to visit and many local customers return hungry for more.
Sabroso! Mexican Grill, 13129 Harbor Blvd, Garden Grove, CA, USA, +1 714 537 7080
Byul Daepo – Star BBQ
Ranked as one of the best Korean barbecue restaurants in Garden Grove, Byul Daepo – Star BBQ is known for its two All You Can Eat options. Each option provides a wide selection of meats including the famous beef brisket, bulgogi, beef belly, intestine, large intestine, spicy pork belly, and chicken teriyaki. Non-meat dishes that are also included in the All You Can Eat menu are steamed egg bowl, tofu soup, kimchi and rice soup, Korean noodle soup, and toasted rice soup. Not only are guests able to eat an unlimited amount of food for a cheap price but also they are able to dine on delicious, high-quality food.
Byul Daepo – Star BBQ, 8295 Garden Grove Blvd, Garden Grove, CA, USA, +1 714 530 5388
Incheonwon BBQ House
One of the more pricier Korean restaurants in the Korean district of Garden Grove is Incheonwon BBQ House. It is a popular dining spot during dinner hours, especially for parties of large groups. Like many other Korean restaurants, it provides some of the standard traditional meat dishes such as bulgogi, galbi, and pork belly. However, what sets is apart from neighboring restaurants, aside from the price, is it provides sections of meat that are rare to find in restaurants outside of South Korea. A couple examples of the vast array of Korean meat dishes that are uncommon are saeng deungsim (sirloin) and kootsal (scotch fillet). As a result, many dine at Incheonwon for special celebrations such as birthday or reunions.
Incheonwon BBQ House, 13321 Brookhurst St, Garden Grove, CA, USA, +1 714 638 9292
Vientiane Thai Laos
Restaurant, Thai, $$$
Vientiane Thai Laos
The last Laotian restaurant that exists in Orange County, Vientiane Thai Laos specializes in Laotian as well as Thai cuisine. Using high-quality meat and fresh herbs, the restaurant prepares each dish meticulously and quickly to ensure that the flavors and texture of each dish balance out each other. For example, the mom pa, which is a type of fish tamale that maintains the bones as well as meat of the fish inside a banana leaf in a jellied form, is generally soft and gelatinous. However, at Vientiane, the cooks balance the tenderness with crispy sausages marinated with lemongrass and toasted rice. By doing so, Vientiane preserves its traditional Laotian cooking and adds its own twist to the dish.
Vientiane Thai Laos, 10262 Westminster Ave, Garden Grove, CA, USA, +1 714 530 7523