Popular with the locals, this dapper haunt oozes bonhomie thanks to a solid team led by industry vet Scott McIntosh, whose feel-good American classics are consistently executed by a tight kitchen. Service is sharp. Look for a homey meatloaf, laudable fried chicken with yummy mashers and fresh biscuits, and house-made desserts. Modern cocktails and a roomy patio only increase the pleasure factor. 5775 E. Santa Ana Canyon Road, 714-283-1062. Second location (not yet reviewed) in Laguna Beach.
While in the area, also try:
Pair a signature sandwich with a glass of local craft beer. Go during happy hour (every day from 3 to 6 p.m. ) for $2 off most beers. 5701 E. Santa Ana Canyon Road, 714-685-2188
Sip on mango peach tea ($4) and Hokkaido milk tea ($4.25) at this cozy hang. Shareable appetizers include popcorn chicken ($5.50) and cajun fries ($3.50). 5675 E. La Palma Ave., 714-909-0053
Expect farm-to-table hot pot cuisine with protein such as wild-caught salmon ($19). Try the house-made vegan coconut ice cream ($7). 5675 E. La Palma Ave., 714-462-9223