Photographs by Melissa Valladares
Outsiders largely overlooked this quiet community in Fountain Valley until Afters Ice Cream opened in 2014 and brought a flood of foodies to town. But locals have long enjoyed the city’s eclectic restaurant scene. Before or after getting your milky bun fix, stop in at these popular spots.
Go traditional with a classic cheeseburger ($6.50) at this stand, or shake things up by topping your patty with grilled pineapple or a fried egg ($1 extra). The beer-battered zucchini ($5) is worth the calories. 18120 Brookhurst St., 714-965-6707, gburger.com
Delicate potted orchids might be the first thing you see when you walk in, but go deeper and you’ll find arrangements accented with mums decorated to look like animals. 18120 Brookhurst St., 714-962-5631, pinklittleflowershop.com
The original location of this O.C. minichain fills up at lunch with locals who swear by the tasty sushi. Try the special combo: an eight-piece roll and teriyaki chicken, beef or tempura ($6.50 to $10.50). 9965 Ellis Ave., 714-963-3214, fullmoonsushi.jimdo.com
It’s a tough choice between the signature hakata ramen—pork bone soup with extra-thin noodles ($7)—and yakitori options such as skewers of beef or asparagus wrapped in pork belly ($2.50). 18315 Brookhurst St., 714-962-8971, shinsengumigroup.com