Anaheim has some fantastic eateries waiting to be discovered, whether you’re taking a break from the overpriced fare at Disneyland or just passing through town. Here are four of our favorites, from a magical Tiki bar and a hidden brunch gem to an Indian comfort food spot located inside a renovated 1919 citrus-packing house. No mouse-eared pancakes on the menu, we promise.
The Scratch Room
Located inside a modest strip mall between a Subway and a hair salon, The Scratch Room is a total find, and true to its name: Home-style breakfast and lunch dishes made with love and plenty of Mexican flair. The sunny yellow wall and two silver pig statues flanking the kitchen bureau put you in the mood for the legendary brunch. Come early, before Disneyland opens, and enjoy the absence of lines and presence of massive omelets, skillets, Benedicts and breakfast burgers ($8-$11 each). Everything is served hot, including their sweet daily loaves (banana bread, on our visit). Lunch consists of tacos, sandwiches, salads and half-pound burgers ($8-$12).
What to order: The Bad Hombre Benedict alone is worth the 7-mile drive from Disneyland — fresh tamale cakes topped with juicy carnitas, eggs and a homemade salsa verde so good it made our taste buds quiver for more. You’ll also want the Classic Breakfast Burger ($8.95). It’s a warm brioche bun slathered in onion aioli and snuggling a thick house sausage patty, American cheese and a sunny-side egg. Drippy perfection. Starving? Get The Hungry Man ($11.75), a wood block of three eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, potatoes and a short stack of pancakes or French toast. Or share this protein platter with the table. This could be the best brunch deal in town.
Details: Open 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday; until 1 p.m. Monday; 2415 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim; www.thescratchroom.com
Pandor Artisan Boulangerie & Cafe
Pandor (an abbreviation of pain d’or, or golden bread) is tucked inside the Packing House, a two-level food hall with a large central atrium surrounded by more than 20 cafes, bars and other kiosks. The Packing House is Anaheim’s foodie hub, so it gets very loud and crowded. Most of the eateries open at 11 a.m., but this superb bakery, the third location from Francophiles Tiffany and Raffi Sepetjian, starts pouring its house-blend coffee, roasted by local Lord Windsor Coffee, and serving fresh-baked pastries (including the best almond croissants in town) and sweet and savory crepes at 9 a.m. Lines can be long on the weekends, but the OMG Bar alone is worth the wait.
What to order: That OMG Bar ($4.95) is a cross between a cake and a lemon bar — soft, buttery, sweet and cream cheesy with light flakiness on the outside. The crisp and flaky Dronuts (croissant-based doughnuts) are equally sought after and typically sell out, so get yourself a few for later, if you snag a spot in the morning line. On the savory side, go for the French Burrito ($12), a crepe stuffed with scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, Spanish chorizo, tomato, onion, Swiss cheese and spicy harissa. Don’t miss the original and pistachio financiers, which are ultra moist with that perfect marzipan flavor. Grab a half-dozen for the road.
Details: Open at 9 a.m. daily. 440 S. Anaheim Blvd., #214, Anaheim; pandorbakery.com
Adya Fresh Indian Flavors
This fantastic Indian comfort-food spot is located directly across from Pandor on the upper level of the Packing House. The menu specializes in inventive and classic dishes, including kebabs ($10-$14) from the tandoor, freshly-made curries and kathi rolls ($7-$8.50), wraps filled with potatoes, paneer, chicken or lamb. But one thing’s for sure: Everyone comes here (and to Adya’s Irvine location) for the creative, Sloppy Joelike pavs ($7.50-$8.50). Chef-owners Shachi Mehra and Sandeep Basrur offer a unique selection of chaat, desserts, beer and wine. They also support local farmers and sustainable practices.
What to order: Start with fresh, addictive Bhel Puri ($5.49), made with puffed rice, cucumbers, tomatoes, peanuts and mango. Then onto the pavs: We loved the Lamb Pav ($8.49), with spiced minced lamb and pink pickled onions on a buttery bun ($8.49), as well as the Vindaloo Chicken Pav ($7.99) made with spicy pulled chicken, vinegar and chiles. The pavs are served with a side salad and cilantro-mint chutney. Adya crafts specialty sodas, as well. On our visit: A refreshing concoction called Masala Soda ($3.50) made with savory lime soda, black pepper and cumin. It’s not for everyone, but I thought it paired brilliantly with the Amritsari Tikka ($12.49), boneless chicken thighs marinated with chiles and lime juice and served over lemon basmati rice.
Details: Open at 11 a.m. daily; 440 S. Anaheim Blvd., #201, Anaheim; http://adyaoc.com
Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar
Even Disneyland employees flock to this wondrous watering hole at quitting time for the tropical cocktails, shareable bites and mystical effects. The small enclosed Tiki hut is inspired by the Jungle Cruise, so don’t be surprised if walls shake like volcanic eruptions, Tiki totems have wandering eyes and bartenders call out orders like wild pirates. When someone orders the bourbon-lemon-and-mint Shipwreck on the Rocks ($12), bells ring and fake lightning changes the color of the room. Seating is first-come, first-served and it gets quite busy. In the evenings, grab a table on the torch-lit terrace adjoining Trader Sam’s for live Hawaiian-style music.
What to order: The cocktails are sweet but the Mosquito Mojito ($11.25) is also refreshing. It’s made with strawberry rum, organic agave nectar, falernum, mint and fresh lime juice topped with soda water. Sam’s No-Booze Brews are tasty too — and the kiddos (welcome in the bar until 8 p.m.) will like them. Try the Skipper Sipper ($5.25 with souvenir mug) made with tropical juices, organic agave nectar, falernum, mint and fresh lime juice topped with soda water. For eats, we loved the panko-crusted Chinese Long Beans ($9) with sriracha aioli. Another good one: Shrimp Tacos ($11), three corn tortillas stuffed with sautéed shrimp, cabbage and lime tartar sauce served with a fruity tropical slaw. Hungrier? Have the Angus Hawaiian Cheeseburger ($13) all to yourself. It’s a one-third pounder with caramelized pineapple, havarti cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato and teriyaki sauce on a multi-grain bun.
Details: Open at 11:30 a.m. daily inside the Disneyland Hotel, 1150 West Magic Way, Anaheim. Peruse the menu at bit.ly/2tJQKr8.
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