The Hungry Royal
Roving food truck offers cheeky twists on British pub favorites.
Even with our many gastropubs, there are still few outlets for British fare. Thankfully, The Hungry Royal is here with its Scotch egg paired with house-made chile jam, fried fish fingers with tempura samphire, and a spritely take on Eton mess with fresh fruit and meringue kisses. For a schedule, go to thehungryroyal.com
Minimalist sushi wins fans with its affordable omakase.
There are no wacky rolls or over-the-top sauces at Fatty Tuna. Instead, the stark, modern restaurant keeps it simple with a cost-conscious assortment of quality sashimi, nigiri, hand rolls, and cut rolls—even a trio of budget omakase options from $20 to $42. 2967 Michelson Drive, Irvine, 949-825-6266, fattytunasushi.com
Low-and-slow barbecue meets Southern California soul at The Lab.
This is brisket the Texas way—armored in crispy bark, surrounded by a pink smoke ring, yet tremendously tender. This location is the second, expanding from the Artesia original. Choose one of the killer freeway-themed sandwiches (try the 5) or perhaps the truly loaded fries. 2930 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, 562-741-7700, labrisket.com
Elegant sweets shop serves French favorites in Garden Grove.
E Patisserie crafts sophisticated French pastries such as custardy canelés, rich kouign-amanns, and madeleines shaped like Japanese cherry blossoms. There are macarons, of course, and a selection of savory sandwiches. Worth noting: It’s also connected to a bridal showroom—one-stop shopping for some. 12919 Main St., Garden Grove, 714-591-5859, epatisseriecafe.com