March 20, 2018

Anaheim Restaurant Guide: Choice Eats for ALA Conference-Goers

Anaheim’s resort area has restaurants galore. Just about any cuisine you crave can be found in this lively neighborhood. The trickiest thing might be getting to your destination (distances from the convention center are noted). Of course, walking is always an option, particularly if you’re looking to justify a decadent meal. But if you’re hoping for a ride, Anaheim Resort Transit (ART), with passes available for $4 a day, is your best option.

 Route maps and schedules for ART can be found at Kiosks in area hotels also offer this information and sell passes.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try a restaurant outside of the resort area, a car will be the best bet. Buses and taxis (1-800-TAXICAB) are available, but be forewarned that either will take quite a bit of time to get to you, and buses will take a while to reach your destination.

The area code for all phone numbers listed is 714.

Savory and Satisfying: Anaheim's panoply of eateries near the Convention Center (l.) include Joe's Crab Shack, boiling up—what else?—crabs!

Convention Center Area

Joe’s Crab Shack As the name implies, Joe’s menu is heavy on the crab and seafood in general. The steam pots—big buckets of shellfish, corn on the cob, and potatoes—are favorites. Just be sure to wear a bib!

12011 Harbor Blvd., Garden Grove (1.2 mi.), 703-0505, Sun.–Sat.,
11 a.m.–midnight. $$

Marri’s Pizza and Pasta Marri’s is one of the few family-owned eateries in the area. They’ve been serving pizza and pasta for over 50 years, and many Anaheimers wouldn’t consider going elsewhere for their pie.

1194 W. Katella Ave. (.5 mi.), 533-1631, Sun.–Thu., 11 a.m.–11 p.m. $$

Mimi’s Café Known for its delicious breakfasts and Paris-themed décor, Mimi’s serves up a wide variety of salads, sandwiches, and light entrées at lunch and dinner. Tea drinkers will love the seemingly limitless varieties.

1400 S. Harbor Blvd. (1 mi.), 956-2223, Mon.–Sun., 7 a.m.–11 p.m. $

Outback Steakhouse At this Australia-themed steak house, you’ll find the famous Bloomin’ Onion, a battered and deep-fried onion with a deliciously spicy dipping sauce. Follow that up with steak, chicken, ribs, lamb, shrimp, fish, or pork tenderloin—Outback has it all!

12001 Harbor Blvd., Garden Grove (1.9 mi.), 663-1107, Mon.–Thu., 4 p.m.–10:30 p.m.; Fri., 4 p.m.–11 p.m.; Sat., 3 p.m.–11 p.m.; Sun., noon–10 p.m. $$

Red Robin The focus here is definitely on the burgers. With options for beef, turkey, chicken, fish, or veggie patties and nearly any topping you can imagine, everyone can find a sandwich to savor.

12007 Harbor Blvd., Garden Grove (1.1 mi.), 971-4775, Sun.–Thu., 11 a.m.–11 p.m.; Fri.–Sat., 11 a.m.–midnight. $

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse This well-known steak house offers delicious steaks and family-style side dishes amid very modern décor. For those really looking to unwind, there is an extensive wine list and several “vintage inspired” ­cocktails.

2041 S. Harbor Blvd. (.7 mi.), 750-5466, Reservations recommended. Mon.–Fri., 5 p.m.–10 p.m.; Sat., 4:30 p.m.–10 p.m.; Sun., 4:30 p.m.–9 p.m. $$$$

Tony Roma’s Known as “a place for ribs,” that’s certainly what Tony Roma’s does best. Top your tender baby backs with one of the outstanding BBQ sauces, from sweet to spicy to smoky.

1640 S. Harbor Blvd. (.6 mi.), 520-0200, Mon.–Thu., 11 a.m.–10 p.m.; Fri.–Sun., 11 a.m.–11 p.m. $$

GardenWalk (top) is an open-air entertainment center featuring (bottom row, l.–r.) the Cheesecake Factory's menu from salads to desserts, the endless shrimp at Bubba Gump's, and the Asian-and Hawaiian-inspired seafood specialties at Roy's Hawaiian Fusion.


The GardenWalk is an open-air entertainment center located at 321 W. Katella Avenue, just a 15-minute walk (.6 mi.) from the convention center. ART stops here, and parking is available for $3 an hour (first hour is free). After your meal, catch a movie in lavish style at the ­UltraLuxe Cinemas, or trade in your heels for some bowling shoes at 300 Anaheim.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Shrimp, shrimp, and more shrimp! There are a few other dishes on the menu at this Forrest Gump–inspired restaurant, but be prepared to see Bubba’s endless list of shrimp preparations in person.

635-4867, Mon.–Sun., 11 a.m.–10 p.m. $$

California Pizza Kitchen This is the perfect place for a light, shared meal. One of CPK’s creatively topped pizzas and a unique salad make a great lunch for two.

991-0305, Sun.–Thu., 11 a.m.–10 p.m.; Fri.–Sat., 11 a.m.–11 p.m. $$

The Cheesecake Factory With one of the most extensive menus around, if you want it, this place probably has it—­particularly if what you want is an incredibly decadent slice of one of its more than 20 varieties of cheesecake.

533-7500, Mon.–Thu. 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m.; Fri.–Sat., 11:30 a.m.–12:30 a.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.–11 p.m. $$

Johnny Rocket’s Burgers, shakes, and fries in an old soda shop atmosphere. Pick your favorite oldie to play on the jukebox while you eat.

491-1800, Sun.–Thu., 11 a.m.–10 p.m.; Fri.–Sat., 11 a.m.–11 p.m. $

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro You’ll be able to find all of your Chinese favorites here and much more. Chang’s Spicy Chicken is wonderfully sweet and spicy, and the Caramel Mango Chicken adds a little Southwestern flair to traditional Chinese flavors.

507-2021, Sun.–Thu., 11 a.m.–11 p.m.; Fri.–Sat., 11 a.m.–midnight. $$

Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Roy’s specializes in Hawaiian- and Asian-inspired seafood dishes (including sushi) made with the finest ingredients available. A seasonal prix fixe menu is offered, and don’t miss Aloha Hour, every night from 4:30–6:30 p.m.

776-7697, Sun.–Thu., 11 a.m.–11 p.m.; Fri.–Sat., 5 p.m.–10:30 p.m. $$$

Score One for Anaheim: ESPN Zone (top l.) delivers, with typical bar fare and more; return to New Orleans (oh, that was last year's ALA) with Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen (top r.) and it's mouth-watering pasta jambalaya (bottom l.) and hot jazz; cobble together a tasty sandwich or signature cobb salad at La Brea Bakery Café (bottom c.) or head out a little to sample home-grown brew at the Anaheim Brewery. La Brea photo c/o La Brea Bakery Disney Café; Anaheim Brewery photo by Ryan Giron

Downtown Disney/Disney Resorts

Downtown Disney is located between the main entrance to Disneyland and the Disneyland Hotel, about a 15-minute walk (.6 mi.) from the convention center. It can be reached using ART, and parking is free for three hours (five with validation). In addition to many entertaining restaurants, you’ll find an AMC Movie Theater, the House of Blues, and enough stores to keep the shopaholics among us satisfied.

ESPN Zone With televisions showing every ESPN channel available, this is the ultimate sports bar. Fare includes the usual wings and burgers, as well as lighter options like grilled salmon and roasted chicken. There’s also an arcade if all the sports on TV leave you feeling a little competitive yourself.

Downtown Disney, 1545 Disneyland Dr., 300-3776, Sun.–Thu., 11 a.m.–11 p.m.; Fri.–Sat., 11 a.m.–midnight. $$

La Brea Bakery Café Sandwiches served on freshly baked breads are what the La Brea Bakery Café is all about. The Sourdough Bread Bowl with New England Clam Chowder might just be the best meal in Downtown Disney!

Downtown Disney, 1556 Disneyland Dr., 490-0233, Express service: Sun.–Fri., 8 a.m.–10 p.m.; Sat., 8 a.m.–11 p.m. $$

Napa Rose The most critically acclaimed of Disney’s restaurants in the area, Napa Rose offers a four-course prix fixe menu and à la carte options. Both the cuisine and the extensive wine list are designed to represent the best flavors of California.

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, 1600 Disneyland Dr., 300-7170, Reservations recommended. Mon.–Sun., 5:30–10 p.m. $$$$

Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria Naples offers wood-fired pizzas, pasta, and fresh salads in a fun Italian atmosphere. With more than 20 award-winning wines served by the glass, this is a great option for groups that can’t agree on red or white.

Downtown Disney, 1550 Disneyland Dr., 776-6200, Sun.–Thu., 11 a.m.–11 p.m. $$

Rainforest Cafe Have dinner amid roaring lions, cawing toucans, and grumbling gorillas. You’ll feel like you’re really in the rainforest as you enjoy a Primal Steak, Planet Earth Pasta, or one of the many fruity “adult beverages.”

Downtown Disney, 1515 Disneyland Dr., 772-0413, Sun.–Thu., 8 a.m.–10:30 p.m.; Fri.–Sat., 8 a.m.–midnight. $$

Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen Live jazz spills out of the Jazz Kitchen most evenings, creating a relaxing atmosphere for music lovers. Satisfy your craving for jambalaya, shrimp and grits, or gumbo while you sip a Hurricane. You’ll feel like you’re in the French Quarter!

Downtown Disney, 1590 S. Disneyland Dr., 776-5200, Mon.–Thu., 11 a.m.–4 p.m.; 4:30–10 p.m.; Fri.–Sat., 11 a.m.–4 p.m.; 4:30–11 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.–3 p.m.; 4:30–10 p.m. $$$

Tortilla Jo’s With a broad selection of Mexican favorites, live mariachi, and more than 100 tequilas to choose from, Tortilla Jo’s is a great place to get your south-of-the-border fix.

Downtown Disney, 1510 Disneyland Dr., 535-5000, Restaurant: Sun.–Thu., 11 a.m.–11:30 p.m.; Fri.–Sat., 11 a.m.–1 a.m.; Cantina: Sun.–Thu., 11 a.m.–11:30 p.m.; Fri.–Sat., 11 a.m.–1 a.m. $$

Exploring Anaheim

For those with a rental car and a yen for adventure—or a break from the commotion of Disneyland—these are some popular local spots, all less than a 15-minute drive.

Anaheim Brewery The recently reopened Anaheim Brewery is re-creating beer recipes last served in the city in 1920, when the old brewery was closed during Prohibition. No food is served on site, but the Mexican and Indian restaurants across the street will deliver.

336 S. Anaheim Blvd., 780-1888, Tue., 5–9 p.m.; Fri., 4–9 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.–9 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.–6 p.m. $

In-n-Out Burger For those of you who need your fix, or who want to see for yourselves what all the hype is about, there are two nearby locations to chow down on the legendary California burger.

600 S. Brookhurst St., Anaheim or 1180 S. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, 786-1000, Sun.–Thu., 10:30 a.m.–1 a.m.; Fri.–Sat, 10:30 a.m.–1:30 a.m. $

Mama Cozza’s When Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives visited, Guy Fieri recommended the Chicken Paisano, an Italian stew with sausage and potatoes. This happens to be my dad’s favorite, too. Like many Anaheim families, mine has been savoring pizzas and (complimentary!) anisette at Mama Cozza’s for as long as I can remember.

2170 W. Ball Rd., 635-0063, Mon.–Thu., 11 a.m.–10 p.m.; Fri., 11 a.m.–11 p.m.; Sat.–Sun., 3:30–11 p.m. $$

Mexi Casa Straightforward, no-­nonsense Mexican food. Combo plates ensure that you can taste a bit of everything you love, and most dishes come smothered with a very generous helping of melted cheddar cheese.

1778 W. Lincoln Ave., 635-2612, Sun.–Thu., 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m.; Fri.–Sat., 11 a.m.–10 p.m. $

Hippie Holiday: Rutabegorz in Fullerton is ecofriendly and friendly to those with vegetarian and gluten-free needs


Just a short drive north on Harbor Boulevard, downtown Fullerton is known for its energetic, college-town nightlife. But among all the dancing and cocktails you will find several restaurants offering deliciously different meals in relaxing settings.

Kentro Greek Kitchen The recently opened Kentro is already a huge hit. Spanakopita, dolmades, tzatziki, and everything else Greek are done to perfection. The flat breads are especially irresistible.

100 S. Harbor Blvd., 278-0944, www.­ Mon.–Sun., 11 a.m.–10 p.m. $$

The Olde Ship Long day? Grab a pint at Fullerton’s English pub, then order up some comfort food to go with your beer. Roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, chicken potpie, bangers and mash, and fish and chips are all on the menu.

709 N. Harbor Blvd., 871-7447, Mon.–Sun., 11 a.m.–11 p.m. $$

Rutabegorz Where have all the hippies gone? To Rutabegorz! The salads are legendary, the power is solar, and the garlic chicken is to die for. Vegetarians, vegans, and those on gluten-free diets will find plenty of options at this totally tie-dyed restaurant.

211 N. Pomona, 738-9339, Mon.–Sat. ,10:30 a.m.–9 p.m. $

Hear, Hear for Beer: the finest ingredients and premium draughts combine for the indulgences of Haven Gastorpub (l.), while you can get addicted to Bruxie's waffle sandwiches (r.), which are well worth the wait. Haven photo by Jeff Hall


Head east on Chapman Avenue (just south of the convention center), and you’ll arrive in downtown Orange, boasting some of the best antiques stores in the county and home to many wonderful independent restaurants. Beer connoisseurs may want to stop in at the Bruery Provisions to sample Belgian-style beers brewed in Orange County (143 N. Glassell, 997-2337, Sun.–Wed., noon–10 p.m.; Thu.–Sat., 11 a.m.–­midnight).

Bruxie Gourmet Waffle Sandwiches Quite possibly the hottest fast food in Orange County, Bruxie offers deliciously addictive waffle sandwiches with savory and sweet fillings. The Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Waffle sandwich makes braving the wait entirely worthwhile.

292 Glassel St., 972-8943, Sun.–Wed., 9 a.m.–9 p.m.; Thu.–Sat., 9 a.m.–10 p.m. $

Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen Freshly made corn tortillas, rich mole sauces, and traditional tacos are some of the highlights of the mouth-watering cuisine served at Gabbi’s. The sauces are intensely flavored and the meats and seafood always perfectly tender and succulent. A meal here is not one you’ll soon forget!

141 S. Glassell St., 633-3038, Reservations recommended. Sun.–Thu., 11 a.m.–10 p.m.; Fri.–Sat., 11 a.m.–11 p.m. $$

Haven Gastropub Premium draught beers (many local) and dishes prepared with the finest ingredients make this a must-visit for foodies. The Mac ’n Cheese with black truffles is an indulgence we can all enjoy, while the Crisp Braised Pork Belly or the Rabbit Fricassee is for the more adventurous.

190 S. Glassell St., 221-0680, Mon.–Sun., 11 a.m.–2 a.m. $$ 

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  1. Or if you want a more alternative scene and avoid the big chains, check out our crowdsourced, alternative guide:

  2. Paula Laurita says:

    If you are going to splurge on one great meal I highly recommend the Anaheim White House ( Excellent food prepared with love that you won’t get at the over priced chain steak houses. Bruno Serato funnels his profits into feeding “motel kids.” When I met him years ago he was quietly running a great restaurant and feeding kids through the local Boys and Girls Clubs. When the recession hit he dipped into his own savings to keep feeding children. Then he ran a contest to help charities raise money by hosting a luncheon a month. Instead of choosing one he said yes to everyone. Now he’s getting the attention he deserves (CNN Hero of the Year, People magazine again in the June 4th issue, etc.). When I travel from Alabama to the conference I will be eating at least one meal at The Anaheim White House.

  3. I totally agree and encourage Rutabegorz but if you want a Mom & Pop Mexican Dinner – definitely check out SuperMex this is a family owned chain that runs from Long Beach to Orange County with plate sized wet burritos and excellent Chili Verde…
    250 Orangethorpe Ave
    Fullerton CA 92832
    PHONE: 714 992 2624

  4. Don’t attempt the Bruxie’s in Orange — very little seating. Head north to the Brea location instead.

    And you can’t list Orange eateries without recommending Felix’s Continental Cuisine. Excellent Cuban and Spanish food, for cheap, right on the Orange Plaza.

  5. Julie Hillskemper says:

    In Orange, don’t miss these two locally-owned restaurants for delicious food:

    Beach Pit BBQ – in Old Towne Orange

    Lanta Thai Fusion (formerly Thai Swan)