The Best Restaurants In Anaheim

Where to eat and drink when you're done with the theme parks.

photo credit: Krystal Thompson

Let’s face it: Anaheim will forever be known to most people as the home of Disneyland. But to dismiss it as merely a place of chain restaurants and corn dog stands would be doing yourself—and your stomach—a huge disserve. In this big, diverse city of over 360,000 people, there are incredible places to eat everywhere you look. From family-run Syrian ice cream shops to Argentinian deli counters to beloved Japanese bakeries, if you leave Anaheim complaining about the food, you only have yourself and Mickey Mouse to blame.


photo credit: Jessie Clapp



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If you’re having trouble finding Tacos Los Cholos, just take a big whiff—the fragrant plumes from the mesquite grill will lead you right to this order-at-the-counter taqueria. The grilled meats at this Anaheim original (they have equally excellent locations in Fullerton and Huntington Park) can go toe-to-toe with the best barbecue spots in the country, only here tortillas are the transportation method. Every cut, from lime-marinated ribeye to the crispy-charred short rib, absorbs the flavor of mesquite charcoal. Between the clouds of smoke, the banda music blaring through the speakers, an open-air patio with TVs and misters, and the highest standard of asada, this isn’t just the best taco spot in Anaheim, it’s one of the best in Southern California.

photo credit: Krystal Thompson

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Anaheim’s Little Arabia neighborhood has one of the largest collections of Middle Eastern restaurants on the West Coast, and you could easily spend an entire weekend here trying all the spots. But if you only have time for one, make it Forn Al Hara. This Lebanese bakery specializes in manaeesh, a Levantine flatbread topped with anything from zaatar and cheese to labneh and honey. You can argue with your friends and family about which is the best, but frankly, it’s irrelvant. You put on an old sneaker on top the these fluffy, tender flatbreads and we'd happily order a dozen. Make sure to snag a slice of knafeh (sweet pastry made with shredded filo) for the drive home.

When you simply can’t do another continental buffet at the hotel, head to Lola’s for a big family-style breakfast. The menu at this modern Filipino restaurant is filled with excellent, fusion-y dishes like ube pancakes topped with toasted coconut, sizzling sisig made with flaky milkfish, and our personal favorite, the sweet-salty adobo fried rice omelette. The Platinum Triangle location is also within walking distance of Angel Stadium, making it an ideal place to fuel up before roasting in the Anaheim sun for three hours.

Between family visits to theme parks or HR summits at the convention center, there’s a good chance that, if you’re in Anaheim, you’re with a lot of people. And that makes finding a big group dinner spot important. Head to House Of Mandi. This Yemeni restaurant in Little Arabia is a community tentpole where showing up with a crowd is almost mandatory. We say that because the menu centers around namesake mandi spreads that feed 3 to 18 people. You’ll find them made with tender whole roasted lamb, chicken, or fish, piled on a mountain of fragrant rice with soft Yemeni bread you can measure by the yard. Also, it feels like a typo, but this place is open nightly until 4am. Do with that information as you will.

Anaheim will never be known for its nightlife options, but if you want to go out for a cocktail, Strong Water needs to be your destination. This semi-secretive tiki bar in downtwon Anaheim is the definition of an immersive experience. Drinks arrive in tiki masks and shrouded in smoke, a waterfall cascades in the corner, and guests book tables in rooms titled “Captain’s Table”, “Captain’s Quarters”, and the “Main Hall.” The setting is theatrical and over-the-top, but it’s still the incredible cocktails you’ll remember the most. The menu changes frequently, but our current favorite is the boozy, Bourbon-based Cannon Fire. Make sure to snag a reservation at least a day in advance.

photo credit: Jessie Clapp



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For decades, Aleppo’s was located up in Little Arabia, but recently moved down to the Platinum Triangle, making it perfect for a post-Angels or Ducks dinner. The large menu is full of kabobs and shawarma, as well as plenty of vegetarian options, but the lamb kabseh should be your priority. This massive platter consists of a whole lamb shank braised in spices sitting on a large hill of well-seasoned rice—a showstopping dish that is worth a special trip whether you're seeing a game or not. Fill out your meal with muhammara, flakey cheese borak, and a platter of their crunchy housemade kibbeh.

This tiny Japanese bakery—originally from Okayama, Japan—opened in downtown Anaheim in 2018 and, like the Big Bang of baked goods, changed the city's pastry scene for good. Between their savory and sweet breakfast pastries and excellent desserts, there isn't a single item we've tried here that's been a miss—but if it's you first time, the spicy curry pan, strawberry cream croissant, and any type of Japanini (their take on a French panini) are a fine way to start. They also bake light fluffy loaves of Japanese milk bread with flour imported straight from Hokkaido that’s will easily last you a week's worth of sandwiches.

You’ll find falafel on just about every restaurant menu in Little Arabia, but if you want the best of the best, it’s at Kareem’s. The homey counter-servicer spot has been in business since the mid-90s and is still cranking out crunchy, cilantro-heavy falafel that’ll make you realize how much mediocre falafel you’ve eaten over the years. Absolutely come to Kareem’s and get the falafel a la carte, but we prefer ordering them as a falafel bowl with lettuce, rice, avocado, hummus, croutons, and pickled onions. For $13, it’s one of our favorite quick lunches in town.

When you get sick of a certain theme park, head down the road to another one: Anaheim Packing House. This two-story food hall/entertainment complex dates back to the early 20th century when it was a citrus packing facility. These days, it’s a one-stop shop for local dates, bored high schoolers, and vacationing families who couldn’t agree on where to eat in Downtown Disney. The 50-plus vendors means everyone in your group will find something they like, but if you want some guidance, head to White Elephant for Thai food and Blind Rabbit, a hidden speakeasy in the basement, for well-made cocktails. 

Koftegi is a Turkish restaurant/bakery in Little Arabia with a menu that at first glance looks similar to others in the neighborhood. But skip the kabob wraps and meze (though they are tasty) and concentrate on the house specialties. Namely, the ground beef kofte, and the Turkish bread boats known as pide. You can order the kofte in a wrap, on a plate, but we prefer them stuffed with kashkaval cheese, a mild yellow cheese that's sometimes called "the cheddar of the Balkans." As far as pide, they offer 18 varieties filled with things like muhammara or soujouk, but if we're here in the morning, we go with the salty-sweet egg, cheese, and parsley one.

From the outside, El Gaucho looks like a regular old convenience store. Inside, you’ll find a colorful market filled with imported Central and South American specialties. There’s a full butcher shop too, but if you're hungry, head to the deli counter off to the right. That's where you’ll find giant, flaky empanadas (the chicken is a must), plus Argentinian sandwiches like skirt steak, the beef and ham-topped chivito, and our favorite, the grilled choripán. Head to the adjacent TV room afterward—it's painted like the interior of a sports stadium—and enjoy your haul while watching fútbol with extremely passionate regulars.

Le Mirage is an all-around excellent Syrian bakery filled with every type of pastry, cake, tart, and cookie you could want. But like skipping to your favorite track on a greatest hits album, we can't every go here without ordering their baklava and bouza ice cream. The baklava is the best in the neighborhood (a high distinction in Little Arabia), but it’s the bouza that is worth a road trip just to eat. The taffy-like Syrian ice cream—thickened with a type of dried tree sap—is rich, gooey, and modeled after the same ice cream the owner grew up eating in Damascus. It’s an incredibly special dessert that deserves a spot in everyone's ice cream Rolodex.

Located one block from the 5 freeway, Zait & Zataar is our pick for a quick meal before getting on the road. The order-at-the-counter Lebanese spot is 100% halal, with a gigantic menu with dedicated sections for breakfast, mezze, salads, lunch bowls, and fresh baked goods. If you’re in a rush, go for the Arabi-style wrap. We love the slightly sweet, marinated chicken shawarma, but you can’t go wrong with any filling, because the flatbread wrap itself is so good: warm and buttery, with crispy golden edges that crackle with each bite. If you see us driving down Brookhurst with one of these in our hands, mind your business.

Smack in the middle of Little Arabia sits Cortina’s, a family-run Italian market and restaurant in operation since 1963. The space is divided into two sections: a deli/market on the left and a pizzeria/restaurant on the right. If you’re short on time (or stomach space), prioritize the deli first. Along with imported pasta, meats, and cheeses to take home, you'll find made-to-order sandwiches that locals line up for. When we're hungry, we get the Cortina’s Special with capicola, mortadella, two types of salami, and the usual fixings. When we're really hungry, we get the sturdy meatball sub blanketed in mozzarella.

Situated on an industrial stretch of Southeast Anaheim, The Ranch is your one-stop shop for big, crowed-pleasing dinners and mild debauchery in Anaheim. On one side of the massive complex sits the restaurant, which is a typical upscale steakhouse with big platters of meat, well-made martinis, and long tables filled with coworkers in town for a convention. On the other side, though, is the saloon, where things can get wild in a honky-tonk hurry. Expect competitive line dancing, live country music, and people in their sixties ripping shots on a Wednesday night because it's almost the weekend.

As mediocre as the restaurants are inside Disneyland, the ones immediately surrounding the park might be even worse—except for Puesto. This modern, upscale Mexican spot has good food—get the off-menu taco filled with lobster and filet mignon—strong margaritas, and a dining room large enough for any size group. Most importantly, it’s in the heart of all the action, making it an ideal choice if you’re at a nearby hotel and aren’t getting into an Uber for dinner. Wait times can stretch over an hour even on weekdays, but if you’re by yourself, head straight to the bar. It’s walk-in only. 

A family lunch in Anaheim might make you think of those weird hotel restaurants where Snow White shows up for a photo after you start eating. The experince Ma’s House offers is, thankfully, a world away from those places. Come to this family-run Islamic Chinese banquet hall and restaurant in North Anaheim and you’ll find lowkey gatherings of relatives, locals on midday break, and anyone else who was in the mood for big plates of homestyle Northern Chinese food that day. Ma’s all-Halal menu covers a lot of ground, with everything from kung pao chicken to dim sum, but we recommend focusing on the house specialty stir-fried short ribs, any of the cold appetizer dishes, and the crispy scallion bread.

Anaheim is located a short drive  from Westminster’s Little Saigon neighborhood, home to some of the best Vietnamese restaurants in the country. We certainly endorse a separate trip there while you’re in town, but if you’re crunched on time, head to Pho Ga Hai Van 2. This casual cafe on Magnolia Ave. has a big menu of Viet hits like salted fish fried rice, shaken beef with crispy rice rolls, and a particularly good bowl of congee. If you only get one dish though, make it the namesake pho ga. This light, slightly sweet chicken broth is the kind of elixir that’ll satisfy you without making you want to take a nap before that 4pm pharmaceutical presentation back at the convention center.

The nightly firework display at Disneyland is big business in Anaheim and several hotels have rooftops catering to anyone who wants to see pyrotechnics before calling it a night. For that purpose, Rise Lounge is the best of the bunch. Perched on top of The Westin, the large space offers unobstructed views of California Adventure, live music, solid bar bites like “loaded” hummus and spicy chicken wings, and a crowd of vacationing parents getting obliterated on red wine. It’s also open daily until 11pm, which is basically after-hours in Anaheim. 

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