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Cater to Your Late-Night Cravings at These Local OC Restaurants

By: Randa Akeel & Marissa Wright

Sometimes, the most mouthwatering cravings happen after most restaurants are already closed, especially here in Orange County where everything seems to wrap up around 10:00 p.m. Now, the constant Yelp-ing for late night restaurants in Orange County is finally over. We have compiled a list of late night restaurants in Orange County that will satisfy your taste buds on every level. Whether you are craving Mexican food or Japanese cuisine, we’ve got you covered. Here is a list of the best restaurants in Orange County to eat and drink after 10:00 p.m. These will bring a whole new meaning to the term “fourth meal.”

Show us what you’re grubbin’ on in the wee hours. Use #localemagazine!

Cruisers

 

This hidden gem on the Balboa Peninsula will satisfy your after-midnight carb cravings. The full menu is served until at least 1:00 a.m. everyday and includes Chicago-style pizza, loaded nachos, chicken wings, mac ’n’ cheese, sliders and chicken tenders. Wash down your late-night munchie meal with an ice-cold beer or a signature cocktail like the American Mule: a twist on a Moscow Mule, spiced up with Tito’s Vodka distilled in the good ol’ U.S. of A. The best part? Cruisers has a late-night happy hour seven days a week from 10:00 p.m. until midnight! Plenty of cocktails and killer food make this spot a late night destination.

Open everyday until 2 a.m. 

801 E Balboa Blvd
Newport Beach, CA 92661
949.220.9414 | www.cruiserspizzabargrill.com

 

Saddle Ranch

Be sure to stop by Saddle Ranch located at Triangle Square before hitting up Costa Mesa’s thriving bar scene. Everything on their menu is served all day! First timer? Try their famous Jalapeño Mac ’n’ Cheese or the Hollywood Burger, two signature dishes that taste even better late at night. Still can’t decide? You can share the Monster Platter, which is an assortment of delicious Saddle Ranch specialties, including baby back ribs, onion rings, mini cheeseburgers, jumbo chicken wings and sweet potato fries served with a variety of sauces. Also, don’t leave without ordering the infamous, melt-in-your-mouth Cotton Candy Tower, standing at three feet tall. Warning, this is not your average cotton candy treat. Looking for a mellow night out? Relax on the patio after dinner sipping on drinks and enjoy roasting s’mores with friends around one of their outdoor campfire pits. 

Open everyday until 2 a.m.

1870 Harbor Blvd
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
949.287.4652 | www.thesaddleranch.com

 

La Vida Cantina

 

This New Mexican restaurant tastes even better after hours! Enjoy a lively atmosphere and delicious food and drinks while lounging with friends at the outdoor bar featuring five fire pits. Their menu consists of fresh, high quality ingredients and traditional recipes used to create authentic dishes with a modern twist. Choose from an extensive cocktail menu featuring premium tequilas, an array of signature margaritas and uniquely crafted martinis. Pair a refreshing and tangy margarita on the rocks with their flavorful Enchiladas Suizas, consisting of two shredded chicken enchiladas in a green tomatillo sauce topped with shredded lettuce, Mexican cream, and cotija cheese. Don’t forget to order Ceviche de Camaron made with shrimp, mango, red onion, cucumber, cilantro, serrano pepper and tomato. Your taste buds will thank you for it! After all, where else can you get a sweet flan after midnight on a Friday night? 

Enjoy Late-Night Happy Hour Monday through Friday 10 p.m. until close.   

La Vida Cantina
1870 Harbor Blvd
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
949.612.2349
www.lavidacantina.com

 

After’s Ice Cream

 

The infamous “Milky Bun” is innovative, delicious and Instagram-worthy. The process is simple. First, you order your donut, glazed or unglazed. Second, choose your ice cream flavors. Third, choose from a variety of sweet toppings. And lastly, indulge. It’s the perfect combination of hot and cold, different textures and flavors that is changing the world of donuts and ice cream. Challenge your taste buds by ordering the “Milk and Cereal” Milky Bun, consisting of vanilla ice cream inside of a glazed donut topped with your choice of cereal toppings such as Frosted Flakes, Fruity Pebbles or Captain Crunch. This one of a kind combination of textures and flavor will have you back in their long line for another to-go!   

Open every day from noon to midnight.

13662 Newport Ave
Tustin, CA 92708
www.aftersicecream.com

 

Chunk-N-Chip

 

Need a late-night ice cream sandwich fix? This family-owned business creates seasonal craft ice cream served between two oven-warmed gooey cookies. For the adventurous ice cream sandwich connoisseur, create your own concoctions! You can even add two flavors of ice cream between two different freshly baked cookies. Their signature ice cream sandwiches are always available to order as well. Try the “Bahama Mama, ” consisting of macadamia nuts with pineapple and white chocolate or the “Blu-Laventine, ” including lavender blueberry ice cream between two snickerdoodle cookies Now that’s what I call a tasty combo!

Open Sunday through Wednesday until 9 p.m., Thursday until 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m.

201 E 4th St
Santa Ana, CA 92701
562.650.0374 | www.chunknchip.com

 

Izakaya Honda-Ya

 

Fresh and colorful sashimi, perfectly pickled kimchi, fish grilled to perfection and a relaxing ambiance accompanied by a cold Sapporo is the epitome of excellent Japanese cuisine. After all, the word “izakaya” in Japanese means “a place to eat and drink, sitting down, comfortably.” Satisfy your seafood cravings during a late-night sushi dinner at Izakaya Honda-Ya in Tustin. You will be sure to perk up taste buds you never knew you had. This restaurant serves an extensive menu ranging from unique sushi rolls such as the “Sexy Roll, ” a spicy tuna roll made with seared albacore and garlic butter sauce on top or delicious bowls of ramen or udon noodles. First timer? Order tasty potstickers and mixed shrimp tempura as appetizers or share a mixed sashimi plate. Their flavorful tapas plates are also worth noting like the thinly-sliced beef tataki or the salmon carpaccio made with vinegar soy sauce.

Hours: Open for dinner until 1 a.m., Monday through Saturday; until 12 a.m. on Sunday.

556 El Camino Real
Tustin, CA 92780
714.832.0081 | www.izakayahondaya.com

 

The Pizza Press

 

After a fun day at Disneyland, experience delicious new creations, order classics pies or “publish your own pizza” that is prepared right in front of you with unlimited topping options! This unique, open-late pizza parlor features a Roaring Twenties decor consisting of quirky newspapers from back in the day. The Pizza Press is a newsworthy restaurant serving newsworthy pizza that everyone loves. Be sure to try The Times Pizza, made with extra virgin olive oil base, Mozzarella cheese, grape tomatoes, red onions, smoked Gouda topped with fresh cilantro and Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce and pair it with a cold glass of Pineapple Cider. While you’re at it, add a side order of Garlic Cheesy Bread made with extra virgin olive oil, Mozzarella cheese, aged Parmesan cheese and Italian herbs served with a side of marinara sauce. Also, don’t forget to end the meal with your “Daily Scoop” of sweets from their dessert menu and treat yourself to an ice cream sandwich or an ice cream float!  

Open until 1 a.m. daily.

1534 S Harbor Blvd
Anaheim, CA 92802
714.323.7134 | www.thepizzapress.com

 

Playground

This restaurant, located on the corner of Fourth and Spurgeon in Santa Ana’s East End, right across from the Yost Theater, is the place for unique small plates and craft beers. With 15 different beers on tap and a list of 60 bottled beers, there is something for everyone. Experience new American small plates like the Imperial Wagyu, consisting of caramelized acorn squash, pickled pearl onions, apple butter and bacon jus or pan-roasted wild mushrooms, consisting of sweet plantains, black bean puree, jerk pineapple salsa, Maui onion and cilantro. End the night and sweeten your palette with a passion fruit and guava sorbet from the dessert menu or the Black Mission fig sticky toffee pudding. Enjoy!

Open Tuesday through Thursday until 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday until 12 a.m. Sunday, open until 9 p.m.
220 E 4th St #102
Santa Ana, CA 92701
714.560.4444 | www.playgrounddtsa.com

 

Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen

 

Another exceptional late-night Japanese restaurant that has a variety of menu options to choose from, such as ramen, udon, sashimi and more. You can also enjoy late-night shabu-shabu, which is a traditional Japanese hot pot. It is prepared by briefly submerging a very thin slice of meat, or a slice of vegetable and tofu, in a pot of boiling water. Once the meat and vegetables are cooked, they are dipped in a citrus ponzu sauce or sesame sauce. Yum! Oh, and you can order a homemade cream brûlée with fresh cut strawberries and kiwi on the side or green tea ice cream for dessert!

Open until 11:15 p.m., Monday through Friday.

18315 Brookhurst St #1
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
714.962.8971 | www.shinsengumigroup.com

 

Anjin

How late? 1 a.m. every day
Why do I go? To reward myself

I’ll be honest. I have never been to Anjin before 11 pm, so I don’t know if it’s a good date spot or somewhere to take your mom but it is an amazing Japanese BBQ (Yakiniku) place that shouldn’t be missed. I have never ordered the same combination of items when I’ve enjoyed Anjin, but I couldn’t live without the short rib soup. It’s like the perfect significant other—satisfying, comforting and tender. It comes out in a giant, steaming bowl with green onions, egg, potato, and (of course) the short ribs. Personally, I am in the throes of a serious, on-going romance with the broth. I’ve never seen myself as the “relationship type”, but I would put a ring on the broth’s finger in a minute. Once I’ve had my soup, I can go in almost any direction with my JBBQ and have never been disappointed. I like to order stream of consciousness style and just tell the server anything that jumps out right at that moment, or I’ll end up lost in the options. Some highlights for me are the marbeled prime rib eye, prime new york, pork cheek, mixed vegetables, and the mixed seafood (shrimp, scallop and squid). The seafood is always super fresh and a side of veggies helps me feel like I’m making my mom happy. I would recommend getting some rice to help fill you up, however. Anjin is more about the quality than the quantity and not the place to try to do an all-you-can-eat style meal. When you go, be prepared for there to be a wait but be assured that it will all be worth it. The tiny venue is somehow not claustrophobic and allows for an intimate experience with attentive service. Next time you’re feeling nocturnal, do yourself a favor and put your name down for a table. You’ll thank me later.

3033 Bristol St, Suite N
Costa Mesa, CA 92626 | 714-979-6700 Eat Late in OC

 

El Gallo Giro

How late? Open 24 hours
Why do I go? Cheat meals happen

Having grown up in southern California, I know I have been spoiled with how many Mexican food options there are, but El Gallo Giro is a whole different ball game. El Gallo Giro serves up some of the most authentic Mexican you can get without having to befriend someone’s abuela, and they’re open all night. You can’t not like that. Their best seller is a quadruple meat sandwich, known as the Torta Cubana, and is made of pierna adobada (marinated pork leg), milanesa (breaded steak), ham, seasoned head cheese, Panela cheese, refried beans, avocado, tomato, lettuce and pickled jalapenos. Every time I order one my only complaint is that my stomach is too small, and I can’t eat more of it in the first sitting. If you aren’t in the mood for a sandwich, the tacos and sopes are perfect. You have tons of choices for your protein: spicy carnitas, tender carne asada (grilled steak), juicy al pastor (marinated pork), pollo asado (chargrilled chicken), or lengua (beef tongue). Whatever you choose, make sure you get an agua fresca to wash it down. Prepared fresh daily, they rotate what flavors they’re offering from mamey (a peach flavored fruit), horchata, banana, mango, tamarind, jicama and strawberry. They are the perfect pairing for the rich, spicy food you’re enjoying while standing at one of the bar tables in front of the windows. You may miss sitting down while eating, but I never have.

1442 S. Bristol St, Suite 1A
Santa Ana, CA 92704
714-549-2011 | www.gallogiro.com

 

Oh Those Donuts & Deli Sandwiches

How Late? Open 24 Hours
Why do I go? People watching

There is something magical about the glowing yellow and red sign ushering you to Oh Those Donuts because I struggle to pass it. The building itself looks run down, the paint job is kind of a joke, but inside you’re greeted by the sticky smell of fresh donuts. My sweet tooth is fully functioning, but I usually come for the sandwiches. They have a stack of order forms by the counter with pencils and encourage you to order your sandwich exactly how you want it. The bread is always fluffy and fresh and coupled with a pile of deli meat and veggies that could scare those who are not fully warned. The added bonus of Oh Those is definitely the show that comes while you wait for your sandwich. Between drunk girls leaving the Newport peninsula and the random, crazy bums, you are usually just moments away from something amazing or hilarious from happening.

1734 Newport Blvd
Costa Mesa 92626 | 949-646-4046 Eat

Pho 54

How Late? 3 a.m.
Why do I go? Lightspeed service

Having worked in the service industry for the majority of my adult life, I really have an appreciation for the minimalist style they have at Pho 54. They have a ton of tables inside and usher you to one almost immediately. The menu has all the favorites— pho, vermicelli, rice dishes, spring rolls— and it comes out so fast you won’t have time to be tortured by the sight of so many people already enjoying. The pho bowls are huge and have the most meat I’ve seen without having to order extra. I usually run out of noodles before getting to all my protein. The servers mostly leave you alone and I suspect they don’t fully understand what I’m saying any way, but I like it that way. After a day of saying, “yes” to people while, at my own serving job, the last thing I really want is the overly enthusiastic server who wants to really sell me. Bring on the mute staff of Pho 54 and a giant, steaming kiddie pool of pho, but don’t forget to get cash before or you’ll have to use their ATM in the front.

15420 Brookhurst St
Westminster 92683 | 714-839-9096

 

Incheonwon BBQ House

How Late? Midnight
Why do I go? To eat my body weight in meat

When I think of not judging a book by its cover, Incheonwon comes to mind. The first time I went, I didn’t know what to think of the nondescript building with minimal signage and decor. Everything changed once the server started guiding us through the meal. Their prices are bordering on insane – $18.99 for their basic all-you-can-eat (option A) or $22.99 for the more premium (option B) – and they will feed you until you explode. If I’m not with one of my less adventurous friends, I always get option B. I dream about spicy baby octopus and their short rib soup (I might have a problem). And their bottomless sides are the perfect pairing for the meat overload you are about to inflict on yourself. If the quality of food isn’t enough for you, the service will win you over in a heartbeat. The servers are on their game here. Sometimes I think they have the tables bugged because they will appear out of nowhere like Korean ninjas and have exactly what I was just saying I needed. If they’re quiet (like they usually are at night), most of the servers will even do the work and cook your meat for you, too. Forego the rice, you’ll want to have room unless you’re a competitive eater (or my bottomless pit of a roommate). Don’t forget the ice cream—it’s the right sweetness and will settle your stomach. Late Night Restaurants in Orange County

13321 Brookhurst St – Garden Grove 92843
714-638-9292 | www.ggibbq.com

Eat Late in OC

Zipangu

How Late? 11 p.m. M-Th, 1 a.m. Fri & Sat
Why do I go? Designer sushi cravings

Nestled in the back of the Lab in Costa Mesa, Zipangu is sometimes easy to miss. However, if you are looking for a quiet lounge atmosphere with upscale cuisine, this could easily be your new favorite. Their late happy hour is mostly items for $10 and under and a nice variety of sake cocktails that won’t break the bank. Start with some chile garlic edamame and Japanese fried chicken (karaage) while you think about what rolls your group is feeling. The Vampire Roll will ward off its namesake with albacore and cucumber topped with more albacore, avocado, and crispy garlic chips with garlic, jalapeno sauce. If you’re with a date, just make sure they eat some too— this bad boy is potent. If you aren’t a garlic lover, the Shrimp Twister (spicy tuna, shrimp tempura and avocado with aioli and eel sauce) or a classic Crunchy Roll will be there for you. Wash it all down with a Tokyo Mojito, and you’ll feel the sins of the day slide out of frame.

2930 Bristol St
Costa Mesa 92626
714-545-2800 | www.zipanguoc.com Eat Late in OC

 

Harbor House

How Late? 24 Hours
Why do I go? I don’t know what I want

The first time I went to Harbor House it was because I heard they had a covered patio and that was good enough for me. What has kept me coming back is the enormous menu and consistent grub. The pickiest eater could find something on this menu that would make them happy, so this is my go-to when I have a mixed crowd of preferences. If I’m behaving myself (read: on a diet), I’ll get a Good Earth sandwich on squaw and marvel in the mound of crisp veggies that arrive. Most visits, though, I will probably be found with a burger and a side of pancakes in front of me— just because I can. The old school movie posters and kitschy decor will transport you to a simpler time while the servers refill your coffee or grab you another beer if it’s before 2 a.m.

Multiple locations
www.harborhousecafe.com Eat Late in OC

 

Cassidy’s Bar & Grill

How Late? 1 a.m. M-Th
Why do I go? Magic Sauce and stiff drinks

I have heard Cassidy’s described as the best worst bar in Newport Beach, and generally I would have to agree. If you’re only enjoying the strong drinks, you’re selling your experience short. It took me years to actually order a burger. Not because I heard anything bad (there is nothing bad to say), but because the drinks got me before I had the chance. When I finally enjoyed my first Cassidy’s burger I was mad at my friends for not making me do it sooner. The burgers are a half pound beauty with all the usual cast mates — grilled bun, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and a little mayo— but Cassidy’s has a homemade horseradish sauce that can only be described as magic. It’s like steak sauce, and BBQ sauce had a really peppery baby and an absolute must for your burger. Next time you’re looking for something to soak up some of your drinks, grab a burger and while you’re in there, play a little punk on the jukebox. It’s the right thing to do. Late Night Restaurants in Orange County

2603 Newport Blvd
Newport Beach 92663 | 949-675-8949 Eat Late in OC

 

Kappo Honda

How Late? Midnight on Sundays, 1 a.m. M-Sat
Why do I go? A little bit of everything Japanese

Sometimes I know I want Japanese, but I can’t decide between ramen, sushi or other — that’s when Kappo Honda saves the day. Their menu is enormous (and mostly in Kanji, so don’t be scared) and offers an amazing variety of traditional, home style Japanese cuisine. You won’t catch the chefs putting on a show while they prepare your meal like you might at other sushi and teppan restaurants, but you will almost feel like you’re in someone’s home because that’s how relaxed the environment is. The service is timely and consistent, but you won’t find a server spieling specials to you or entertaining you with stories. They keep it simple and just make sure your food is right, and you have everything you need or want. The menu is mostly tapas-style with small plates to be shared amongst a group. Start with some takoyaki (fried octopus balls) or some fatty tuna sashimi, and then move your way into their awesome yakitori selection. Bacon-wrapped asparagus and chicken wings are always on my list, but the lamb chops, meatballs and pork cheek never disappoint either. Their sea urchin dumplings are an indulgent treat with a creamy uni center and a tender wrapper holding it all together and should not be missed. If you’re feeling less adventurous, all the classic rolls are here or try the delicately balanced Chilean sea bass. Overall, Kappo Honda is exactly what it sets out to be. A place to eat and drink, sitting down, comfortably.

18450 Brookhurst St
Fountain Valley 92708
714-964-4629 | www.izakayahondaya.com Eat Late in OC

 

Mesa

How Late? 1 am
Why do I go? To feel like a grown up

So much more than a lounge with a retractable roof, Mesa delivers in every way. With so many bars and clubs in Orange County falling victim to pretentiousness, it’s nice to find an oasis that enthusiastically serves up designer bites and craft cocktails while making it look effortless. The moment you walk through the wooden doors of Mesa you’re greeted with deep, earthy decor, and sultry lighting inviting you to sit and stay awhile. The small plates menu is perfectly complimented by their selection of signature cocktails. The Clash is a spicy, sweet-tart cocktail with hints of vanilla and cilantro and was the right contrast for the briny fried olives and decadent cauliflower “mac” n’ cheese. All it takes is one bite and you will forget that mac n’ cheese is supposed to have pasta. Rich, truffle roasted cauliflower arrives in a cast iron skillet, white cheddar still bubbling on the bottom, with panko bread crumbs sprinkled on top. If you are in a group, order your own cauliflower mac because you won’t want to share, but make sure to get the Chef Style Mussels because they’re perfect for sharing. For $2 more, your group will welcome a mound of steaming mussels with all the bells and whistles. Bilbao chorizo, chili flakes, and paprika add smokiness and a touch of heat while white wine, green onions, and tableside squeezed lemons brighten the rich, buttery mussels. The only thing better than the mussels themselves could be the pan sauce that is begging to be sopped up by grilled sourdough. For the sweet tooths, a glass of the Kung Fu Girl Riesling is a must with Ernie’s Bread Pudding. The bright and fruity wine will coax out all the layers of flavor happening on that dessert plate. Brioche bread baked to perfection is served up over dulce de leche with vanilla ice cream, pulverized bacon, and broken cashew bits— it is sweet, salty heaven.  If you are of the vegetarian persuasion, try pairing the Bauhaus Tonic with their Veggie Burger. The Bauhaus Tonic is a crisp, clean mix of Hendricks gin with muddled cucumber, a touch of lime, and burnt thyme. It’s a refreshing companion for the savory garbanzo bean-based burger. The patties are made in-house from garbanzo beans, shaved carrot, onion, and parsley and come out crispy on the outside but luscious and creamy in the middle. Stacked high with avocado, chipotle aoili, butter lettuce and tomato, even the biggest carnivore is satisfied. When not lost in admiration for the cuisine, take in some of the original art on the walls and the live music (if it’s Thursday-Saturday). Mesa truly is what Orange County didn’t even know it was missing. Late Night Restaurants in Orange County

725 Baker St
Costa Mesa 92626
714-557-6700 | www.mesacostamesa.com Eat Late in OC

 

M I D N I G H T /// Munchies? Have A Late-Night Bite At One Of These OC Restaurants.

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