Sure we only had 48 hours in town, but ya gotta eat! A little bit of research ahead of time and a lot of taste testing resulted in this short list of Must Haves for every budget. Make sure to visit these outstanding spots!
Breakfast or Lunch: Dory Deli
The name did not sound like what it was, so it took a while for us to commit. SO glad we did! Balboa Peninsula's Dory Deli knocked it out of the park, and every person in our group was simply delighted. With breakfast menu items like Chicken and Waffle (a big hit at our table), the Yoga Pants Burrito (egg whites, feta, and other misc healthy items) and the Sweatpants Burrito (doused in cheese sauce), the only thing left to consider was how spicy to order our Bloody Mary's. We rolled out of there with bellies satisfied and ready for a walk on the beach. Which was just outside the door!
Lunch or Dinner: Saigon Beach
"Don't get phomo - eat here!" I'd stumbled across a lot of great reviews about Saigon Beach. And I was intrigued because it appeared to be completely unremarkable. It sits in a strip mall, and almost invisible as you drive past. But so many past customers had said it was out of this world. And hey, we all know that a fancy exterior does not equate to quality, so I made sure to have dinner here our first night.
Such super-smart marketing to post a list of their top 5 items on the wall (thank you!!). We ordered 3 of those 5: the Porky Belly Bao Slider, Grilled Pork Vermicelli, and the Banh Mi, and... oh my gosh... we were blown away. Abso. Lutely. Delicious.
This meal was so good that the next morning over coffee we admitted to each other that we were both still thinking about it. And we agreed that we would go back before we left! So, yes, late on our second night (after we'd already had dinner and weren't really even hungry anyway), we swung by to get more of the deliciousness. It was 9:00PM, but their Open sign was still on so we walked right in. They said they were actually closed and all they had left anyway was the 420 Green Rice. We bought 2 orders! And yes, it too was fricking fantastic. We immediately ate it in the car on the way back to our hotel. So. We're officially obsessed and still think of it often. If you live in the area, maybe you could send us a care package? We'll make it worth your while, I promise.
Dinner or Happy Hour: Javier's Cantina
Ok ok, time to get a little fancier. Of course at some point during our stay we had to check out the famous Javier's Cantina, so we chose Saturday evening happy hour. Javier's is located down the Coast Highway a few miles near Crystal Cove State Park, so we got to see the gorgeous sunset as we made our way. The place was packed - filled with customers dining, others sitting at the bar, and still more crowded in the lobby waiting for tables. We walked right through, and with a super friendly server's help, we scored a table in the bar very quickly. Service: fantastic. Drinks: delicious. Bar food: delicious. People watching: totally amazing. When it was time to leave, it was kind of hard to peel ourselves out of there!