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Best Restaurants In Santa Ana

(credit: Chapter One: the modern local)

In the past several years, the city of Santa Ana has come a long way. With its great restaurants and bars, Santa Ana - especially the downtown area - has truly become a destination. Try these places if you're looking to explore Orange County's Santa Ana neighborhoods.

American Burger
(credit: Chapter One)

Chapter One: The Modern Local
227 N Broadway
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 352-2225

One of the things that's great about Chapter One is that it has a menu unlike any other you'll find in Orange County. Menu items range from goat-cheese fritters to entrees like braised pork belly. If that weren't enough, this place also has amazing cocktails crafted by bartenders who truly know and enjoy what they do. Oh, and it has an amazing selection of whiskeys that you can enjoy at any time, but especially during the great happy hour here. Sunday brunch is also a treat at this place with items like the donut burger and the Eggs Benedict made with pastrami.

Mil Jugos
(credit: Paul L./yelp)

Mil Jugos
320 W 5th St.
Santa Ana, CA 92701

Orange County is a pretty good melting pot when it comes to cuisine. However, if you're looking specifically for Venezuelan cuisine, there is really only one place to visit. The name Mil Jugos means a thousand juices, but this place has so much more. You'll find empanadas, sandwiches, and a Venezuelan pancake with your choice of filling. This place also has the benefit of feeling like a discovery. Once you've discovered this cozy place, you'll want to share your discovery with your friends.

Osawa - Shabu Shabu 2 h
(credit: Osawa)

Shabu Shabu Bar
1945 E 17th St. #108
Santa Ana, CA 92705
(714) 954-0332

There is a certain charm in going to a restaurant and being able to cook your dinner just the way you like it. Shabu Shabu provides that experience, and it's not just with the meat. You can also grind your own sesame seeds for your sauce here. You'll find tender cuts of meat as well as healthy servings of vegetables and rice with your meal. To make your experience even better, whatever is not consumed by the end of the meal will be made into a soup that you can take home.

Related: Best beer gardens in Orange County

Trieu Chau
(credit: Antonia R./yelp)

Trieu Chau
4401 W 1st St.
Santa Ana, CA 92703
(714) 775-1536

While it's true that you can get noodles at a lot of places in Orange County, you won't be able to get a lot of noodles like you'll find here. The house special for instance is a noodle dish that comes with chicken, fish, and duck leg. However, you're sure to get good food no matter what you order. This establishment is always busy, but also very accommodating. If you're a single diner, you will be seated with other single diners, which just means that you might make some new friends over lunch. Trieu Chau does not accept cards, so make sure you have cash with you.

(credit: Playground)

220 E 4th St.
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 560-4444

One of the great things about Playground is that the menu changes frequently. The menu not only changes frequently, but also includes some items - like a taco made with jicama instead of a tortilla - that you're not likely to find elsewhere. This is a great place for seafood lovers with dishes that include prawns and octopus among other seafood items. You'll also find a good selection of craft cocktails and California beers and wines to pair with your dinner.

Related: Best Mixologist Bars In Orange County

Gary Schwind is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. His work can be found on


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