Whether visitors make the effort experience the real Anaheim or find themselves in the tourist green zone that is Disneyland, they are rewarded with a fun and flavourful city built for foodies. Underneath the veneer of Joe's Crab Shacks and Bubba Gump's, there is an exciting food scene in the city just waiting to be explored. For those that want to discover Anaheim's culinary secrets, here are some excellent places to start.
For the foodie that finds themselves in the whimsical bosom of Disneyland's magical embrace, the happiest place on earth is not without its unique eating establishments. The Rainforest Cafe is sure to please the discerning palate and need for atmosphere that every adventurous eater has. The Rainforest Cafe combines flavourful American cuisine with the wild atmosphere of the rainforest. Diners can enjoy Atlantic cedar-plank cooked salmon with hazelnut and Frangelico butter or St. Louis style pork spareribs while surrounded by the sights and smells of the rainforest. While the adults enjoy their unique cocktails, children can enjoy the rainforest plants and animatronics animals found throughout the dining room.
Ruth's Chris Steak House
It is unlikely that visitors to Anaheim can go anywhere without hearing about the infamous Ruth's Chris. Ruth's Chris is the premiere steak house in Anaheim and a can't-miss destination for any foodie worth their salt. What makes Ruth's Chris Anaheim different from any other run-of-the-mill steak house? For starters, Ruth's Chris Steak House serves up only the finest cuts of USDA Prime beef that are available. The steaks are broiled at 1,800 degrees and served on plates that are heated to a toasty 500 degrees. This assures that the steaks that diners enjoy stay hot, juicy and top quality from their first bite all the way to their last. These fantastic cuts are served alongside New Orleans-style appetizers, perfectly paired side dishes, homemade desserts and fresh seafood for all those surf and turf fans out there.
Creativecommons.org/ Domas Mituzas
Benihana in Anaheim is as much a dinner as it is a show. For the foodies that want that feeling of community while they enjoy their food, they will find no place better. Diners at Benihana are seated at communal tables of eight to ten where their personal, talented chef will perform the ancient art of Teppanyaki. The chef slices, dices, grills and steams your meal in front of your eyes all the while performing tricks with the food. Whether diners choose juicy steak, succulent seafood or tender chicken, it is guaranteed to be cooked to perfection all while teasing the taste buds and treating the eyes. For those that desire a more intimate affair, Benihana is accommodating. Their sushi lounge is filled with equally talented chefs that prepare the freshest sushi rolls, sashimi, and maki all with similar flair as the Teppanyaki chefs in the communal dining room. The only different here is that diners will have smaller and more intimate seating at the bar or in the lounge.
Can't be satisfied by the chain seafood places around Disneyland? Well, Roy's is Anaheim's answer to the foodies that want fresh and creatively flavoured seafood while in the city. Culinary pioneer and restaurant namesake Roy Yamaguchi opened his first Roy's restaurant in Honolulu in 1988, but has since decided to spread his passion for cuisine, fresh ingredients and hospitality to the city of Anaheim. Today, local chef Ron Plata blends classic technique, fresh local seafood and Pacific Rim flavours into innovative creations like their Rim Fire Calamari with roasted Japanese mushrooms and a sweet Thai chili glaze or the Crab and Sweet Corn Crusted Barramundi with sun-dried tomatoes and shiitake anisette cream. All of this paired with their spectacular unique cocktails and award-winning wine list.
Earl of Sandwich
With a name like Earl of Sandwich, this restaurant has big shoes to fill. Earl of Sandwich Anaheim is located in Downtown Disney and delivers what has been called the world's greatest hot sandwiches. Their signature creations each begin with handcrafted loaves of artisan bread baked to order and utilize only the freshest ingredients that would make the Earl of Sandwich himself proud. These high quality ingredients are turned into culinary delights like the capicola, salami and mortadella-packed Italian or their signature Original 1762 sandwich consisting of roasted beef, sharp cheddar and horseradish.
Buca di Beppo
In between all the seafood, steak and sandwiches of Anaheim is the authentic Italian cuisine served up at Buca di Beppo. This eclectic Italian restaurant serves up family style meals in a beautiful vintage style establishment. It is the sort of iconic Italian place that one would see on television, with checkered table clothes on the tables, Italian superstars lining the walls and classic tunes by Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin permeating the dining room. Commitment to the old way of doing things does not stop at the decor, though. Their food is all done with classic Italian and Italian-American recipes. From pizza done the way it was when it was first invented to fresh, handmade marinara sauce that saturates their pasta and meatballs. With real Italian restaurants becoming a scarcity, Buca di Beppo is a welcomed sight.
Cortina's Italian Market
Cortina's is an Anaheim staple, but in 2013 it was almost completely consumed by fire. Thankfully, it has since recovered and reopened after generous donations from the community. This sandwich shop is beloved by the city for its hefty and flavourful sandwiches that utilize handmade and natural ingredients. Their most popular sandwich is the Fireball. This sandwich has spiciness that builds upon itself with whole peperocinis layered onto of a wad of spicy cured capicola. Alternatively, there is their sausage sandwich where the bread barely holds the subtly spiced homemade sausage links that are split in half lengthwise and layered with sweet peppers. Both sandwiches are over stuffed, messy and may completely break down if you hold it wrong. All sandwiches at Cortina's are like that, but it is the quality of ingredients and the unique weaving flavours that make it one of a kind in Anaheim.