Tag: places to eat

Let’s Give Thanks

Best macaroni and cheese from Center City Anaheim

We went in search of the ultimate comfort food in Center City Anaheim for a little Thanksgiving meal inspiration—and we were not disappointed. We also learned a valuable lesson in the process: there is no such thing as bad macaroni and cheese. Some are better than others, and some are more exotic, and some barely resemble the old standby Kraft Macaroni & Cheese in the reassuring blue box, but it’s all good. So we tracked down the best mac and cheese dishes in and around the Packing District to help you complete your holiday menu.

Georgia’s Restaurant

Georgia’s in the Packing House is a real-deal, honest-to-goodness Southern restaurant and we had high hopes for their cheesy creation. Again, it’s only a side dish here, but when you accompany it with golden fried chicken, mashed potatoes, collard greens, and corn bread, it pretty much checks all the boxes for comfort food, and everything here tastes fresh and homemade.

Georgia's Restaurant mac and cheese dish.

‘Soulful Sides’ mac & cheese dish with a half rack of St. Louis BBQ Ribs and corn on the cob from Georgia’s Restaurant.

Primo Sports Bar & Grill

Back over on the Center Street Promenade you’ll find Primo Sports Bar & Grill (formerly Cafe Primo, who formerly served an exquisite lobster macaroni and cheese, but let’s try not to think about that). Their latest version of mac ‘n’ cheese comes as a glorious main dish topped with crispy bacon. Now we’re getting somewhere. Elbow macaroni, toasty bread crumbs, bacon bits, and chives take this dish up a notch. Bonus order: they also serve bacon mac ‘n’ cheese balls if you don’t want a meal or if you prefer spherical food.

Note: Primo Sports Bar & Grill has since officially closed down as of January 2017.

Primo Sports Bar's 'Bacon Mac N' Cheese' dish

Primo Sports Bar’s ‘Bacon Mac N’ Cheese’ with bread crumbs, bacon bits, and chives.

The Kroft

The Kroft (in the Packing House) dials up the heat on their Chili Mac ‘N’ Cheese with macaroni, cheese sauce, chili, bacon, herb breadcrumbs, and green onions. Again, this one’s only a side dish, but a hearty one at that.

Chili Mac N Cheese from The Kroft

Mac and Cheese with chili, bacon, herb breadcrumbs, and green onions at The Kroft restaurant.

The Blind Rabbit

This list would be woefully incomplete without including the enigmatic Blind Rabbit. This speakeasy bar is in the Packing House and is hidden behind a wall of sake barrels downstairs next to the hot pot restaurant. Look for the tiny brass rabbit for your way in, but be sure you have a reservation, the secret password, and an appetite for exotic food and craft cocktails. If you remember nothing else about your day in Center City, you’ll remember the Duck Confit Mac & Cheese. With savory duck, al dente cavatappi macaroni, and a three-cheese béchamel sauce, topped with shaved Parmesan and fried garlic bits, this is one that raises the bar.

You can find directions to Anaheim’s restaurants with the best macaroni and cheese here.

Vegetarians and Carnivores Break Bread!

Carnivores and vegetarians unite at these restaurants in Center City.

So you meet someone new and decide to go out for a bite to eat. Then it happens. You hear the “V” word. He or she is a vegetarian. Yikes. What’s a sworn, hardcore meat eater to do? Is it a deal-breaker? Not necessarily.

Fortunately, there are more options than ever for carnivores and vegetarians to break bread and have a civil meal at some of the best vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Anaheim. In fact, you can find some of the best vegetarian dishes at places you would least expect.

The following list serves as a solid guide of places to eat that satisfy both meat and vegetarian diets. Now, if only you meat lovers could get past the disapproving glances from your date.

vegetarian-friendly restaurant menu options

Scrumptious vegan burgers and juicy meat patties piled high on the same menu. A foodie’s dream come true.

Gypsy Den

If you want to ease into your uneasy communion, the Den is a good, friction-less destination where you both can find something right up your alley.

It’s a casual, funky, charming location right on Center Street Promenade with vegetarian dishes that include the Quinoa Veggie Burger, Vegetable Lasagna, and Vegetarian Chicken Enchiladas. They also have several good vegan options—including the Vegan Chicken Wrap, hummus and pita, and a green salad.

Carnivores, on the other hand, will feast upon the Cubano Press with slow-roasted pork, spiced ham and pepper jack. Or the Carved Roast Beef Sandwich smothered with provolone, caramelized onions and horseradish aioli.

ADYA

Next up is ADYA in the Packing House, a hip, vegetarian-friendly food bar serving up inventive Indian street food and craft beer. Here a clever vegetarian could probably fool a devout carnivore into ordering a vegetarian meal and he or she would be none the wiser.

There’s the Pav Bhaji, a very meaty tasting veggie Sloppy Joe. And there’s also the Kaathi Rolls which are griddled wraps served with Chutney, some with chicken or lamb, but some vegetarian. They also have some nice kebabs and curries with Tandoori Chicken and the classic favorite Chicken Tikka Masala for something a little more hearty.

ADAYA restaurant's spread of veggie and meat dishes.

ADAYA’s colorful spread of veggie and meat dishes.

Umami Burger

Just across Farmers Park from the Packing House is Umami Burger. This is carnivore heaven with a large menu of burgers with some very interesting flavors and ingredients. The word Umami can be translated from its Japanese origin as a “pleasant savory taste” and is considered there as one of the five basic tastes (in addition to sweetness, sourness, bitterness, and saltiness).

Their beef burgers include the anything-but-basic “Umami” with parmesan frico, shiitake mushrooms, roasted tomato, caramelized onions, and Umami ketchup. There’s also the Truffle Burger, Sunny Side, and the popular Manly, plus ahi and turkey burgers.

But their Falafel Burger will satisfy any diehard vegetarian with its falafel patty, beet infused couscous, crushed avocado, romaine, and tzatziki. There are excellent salads too, including the Roasted Portobello and the Truffled Beet.

Friends having fun out to eat at Umami Burger in Anaheim Packing House.

Cheers to piled-high meat and veggie burgers at Umami Burger in Anaheim Packing House.

Healthy Junk

If you really want to do your vegetarian friend a solid you should probably take them to Healthy Junk. Close your eyes and point at the menu and you’ll find some kind of vegetarian or vegan option that’s guaranteed to please.

Most of their dishes contain some kind of meat substitute, possibly with a funny name, like the Philly Chez Stake. They also have “Junky Tex-Mex” tacos with “meaty” crumbles, “Fish” Tacos, and a “Better” BLT with “Bacon.”

One dish both carnivores and vegetarians alike can agree on is the Bunny Love cake with freshly grated carrots and vanilla frosting for dessert.


Find directions to check out the vegetarian-friendly restaurants listed above.

5 Best Sandwiches in Anaheim Packing District

mouth watering sandwich loaded with toppings

Remember when a sandwich was a little lunch meat between a couple slices of bread? The following creations will make your grade school bologna sandwich look pretty pathetic. Here are the five best sandwiches CtrCity Anaheim has to offer in and around the Packing House, so let the lunch tour begin.

Best sandwiches Anaheim has to offer.

Fresh baked bread piled high with meat and veggies, then smothered with melted cheese and toppings. Get your sandwich fix today in CtrCity.

The Black Sheep

A well-executed grilled cheese sandwich is a work of art, and ingredients are key. Although The Black Sheep in the Packing House will use Kraft Singles on occasion (in their aptly named #7 sandwich: The Kid), but raclette is the ideal melty gooey cheese for a perfect grilled cheese. The #3 has plenty of raclette along with pickled red onions, cornichons (pickled gherkins), and potato chips (yes, inside the sandwich), all on OC Baking Company’s marble rye bread.

Kroft

Also in the Packing House. If you’re craving something a little meatier—or a lot meatier—The Kroft serves an outstanding porchetta sandwich. It’s made with pork belly, loin, and cracklings, salsa verde, seasoned arugula, and caramelized onions on freshly baked ciabatta. It was our top-ranked sandwich at The Kroft, but its Short Rib Melt and Prime Rib Dip were both also in the running.

The Iron Press

The Iron Press (in the Packing House) has put a new twist on everybody’s favorite sandwich: The Monte Cristo. Choose ham or turkey, then add gruyere cheese, mixed greens, and strawberry jam, then put it all on a batter-fried waffle. The Iron Press is also known for their spicy Fried Chicken waffle, a terrific selection of craft beers, and their addictive tater tots.

Iron Press' famous Monte Cristo sandwich: ham + jam, smothered with cheese and greens sandwiched between waffles.

Iron Press’ famous Monte Cristo sandwich: ham + jam, smothered with cheese and greens sandwiched between waffles.

Georgia’s Restaurant

Last stop in the Packing House, you’ve got to try Georgia’s BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich. This is real, down-home Southern cooking with Creole-inspired recipes. Their BBQ sauce is on the sweet side and the tender, gently pulled pork is piled high and overflowing. Their fries are amazing, but the sweet coleslaw is a great complement to the sandwich.

Tony’s Original Deli

If you’re looking for a true deli experience, head just down the road from the Packing House to Tony’s Original Deli on Anaheim Boulevard. It’s called “Original” even though they’ve had different owners over the years, but inside it feels like a step back in time with all the funky old signs and memorabilia. And it’s more than just a deli with the bottle shop and full bar. But if you’re in the mood for an authentic pastrami sandwich, this is the place. It’s enormous, heaping with Vienna beef pastrami, Swiss cheese, and pickles on rye bread. The Reuben is outstanding also, and don’t forget the potato salad.


Find directions to track down the best sandwiches from our list.

19 Restaurants and Eateries

Are chain restaurants your worst nightmare? Are you more food truck than drive-thru? Rather starve than choke down a microwave burrito? You’ve come to the right place. Below you’ll find some outstanding options in a very specific part of town: Anaheim’s Center City.

A great place to start is the Anaheim Packing House, the renovated orange packing warehouse that’s now a vast foodie’s paradise. There are some sit-down places, but there are a whole bunch of countertop vendors who seem to have all brought their boutique food operations under one roof. It’s two floors of almost every ethnic food you could imagine with a bright atrium in the middle, communal tables, and outside decks on either side. Where to start, where to start.

Crêpe Coop

Breakfast! In the lower level of the Packing House, the Crêpe Coop makes sweet crêpes and lets you create your own conical concoction. You might consider one of their signature ones, like the OG with strawberries, Nutella and whipped cream. Or the Fruity Pebbles, made with vanilla gelato, strawberries, mango and actual Fruity Pebbles (hence the name). My favorite is the Night Crêpe made with green tea gelato, blueberries, mangos and honey.

Pandor Bakery

Also a terrific choice for breakfast, with sweet and savory crêpes, and their signature Dornut. Or maybe it’s a Cronut. At any rate, it’s a donuty thing made with croissant dough, then topped with cinnamon sugar or stuffed with different fillings. They also have outstanding omelets, paninis and salads.

Black Sheep

Almost next door to Pandor you’ll find the Black Sheep grilled cheese sandwich bar. You can go old school with The Classic, or get crazy with goat cheese, caramelized onions, roasted tomatoes and arugula pesto. The Man has salami and smoked cheddar, and The Pork comes with swiss, porchetta, harissa garlic aioli and onion jam. It’s all good.

The Kroft

The Kroft is the brainchild of Matthew Tong and Stephen Le who created the popular SWSH Shabu Shabu, and they have another winner here. Their fresh, locally sourced menu includes rotisserie meats and prime rib along with house-made soups and hand-cut fries for their specialty poutines.

ADYA

Chef Shachi Mehra presents a California take on classic Indian food with bold flavors and spices. There are kebabs and curries, from mild to spicy, pavs, Bombay’s version of the sloppy joe, and kaathi rolls, griddled wraps served with chutney. Their naan bread is a must, and the goat cheese naan is a meal in itself.

Ecco Pizza

If you’ve forgotten what real pizza tastes like, try Ecco’s Naples-style, wood-fired, thin crust classics. Even a basic Margherita pizza is outstanding with crushed San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella (not that bagged, shredded stuff), fresh basil and olive oil. Don’t worry, they’ve got plenty of meaty options for you carnivores, too.

Georgia’s

Georgia’s is the real deal. Barbecue pulled pork, fried catfish, hush puppies and fried chicken. True Southern comfort soul food. And if you have any room left, gotta have the sweet potato pie.

The Iron Press

Waffle sandwiches. Craft beer on tap. Done and done. Is there anything that isn’t better on a waffle? No. Clearly no. Fried chicken? Burger? Fried egg? Prosciutto and gruyere? The list goes on.

Kettlebar

Steam kettles aren’t some trendy, hipster, steampunk idea for cooking, it’s based on the famed Las Vegas’s Oyster Bar and its New Orleans inspired Southern cuisine. It’s a smart way to cook food quick and evenly without overcooking. Try the Kettlebar pan roast with snow crab, shrimp, lobster and chicken. Gumbo with Andouille sausage, shrimp and chicken. But you can’t go wrong with a classic shrimp po’boy either.

Orange Tei

If your only idea of ramen is the cheap stuff that got you through college, you have to try authentic Japanese ramen from Master Shigetoshi Nakamura. The signature Citrus Ramen has a chicken broth base and tangy kick. The Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen with Pork Chashu might be their most popular, and they have a nice variety of sushi rolls as well.

Rolling Boil

A traditional hot pot restaurant with a modern twist serves garden fresh local veggies—in actual garden pails. Choose a broth, pick your proteins, and pick a sauce or two. In addition to chicken, salmon, shrimp, and scallops they have three kinds of beef: New York Steak, Rib Eye, and melt-in-your-mouth Wagyu.

The Blind Rabbit

And when you leave the Rolling Boil, look to your right and you’ll see a wall of Japanese beer kegs. There’s a secret door to the Blind Rabbit speakeasy here, with exquisite craft cocktails served in an intimate, period-decorated micro bar. For foodies, there’s a short but impressive menu featuring duck confit mac and cheese, wild mushroom chorizo dip and deep fried banana bread.

Urbana Fish Market & Mexican Eatery

With its Day of the Dead décor and authentic Michoacán cuisine, Urbana is a must-see. They specialize in street tacos and ceviche with bold takes on seafood and guisados (slow-cooked meats). The hand-made flour and corn tortillas are a bonus. They also have a nice selection of tequilas and mescals and mix up some spicy cocktails.

Popbar

Upstairs near the atrium, look for the long line of people and you will have discovered Popbar. Started in New York City’s hip West Village, these addictive little gelato on a stick treats are a big hit on the West Coast too. They use real fruit and natural ingredients in creating exciting flavors and unusual combinations. Flavors include green tea, peanut butter, pistachio and coconut, and you can have them dipped and rolled in chocolate, sprinkles and nuts.

Hans’ Homemade Ice Cream

Hans’ ice cream is made fresh, in the original Santa Ana location, using only the richest cream from local dairies. In addition to classic favorites, like Butter Pecan and Cookies & Cream, the Hans’ team is constantly inventing new flavors, like Coffee OREO® and Nutella® Krunch. Try them in a shake or sundae or just on a good old-fashioned cone.

That’s a lot of ground to cover—and food to feast on—and that’s all just in the Packing House. Just across Farmers Park from there you’ll find Umami Burger in the historic Packard Building.

Umami Burger

A true gourmet burger with lots of interesting toppings like truffled aioli, miso mustard and bacon lardons, but their real secret is how they prepare their beef. They call the flavor Umami, borrowed from the Japanese, and it’s savory, meaty and described as “the fifth taste.” Using carefully selected and single-source beef, it’s coarse ground, seasoned, then cooked on a cast iron griddle. Sounds simple enough, but you have to taste one. And don’t forget to try the maple bacon sweet potato fries.

Further on, just around the corner, is the Center Street Promenade and the Center Street collection. A couple more places that need to be mentioned are Pour Vida and Healthy Junk.

Pour Vida Latin Flavor

This is Jimmy Martinez’s first brick-and-mortar restaurant and it focuses on his Puerto Rican and Mexican heritage. They make their tortillas in-house (including squid ink ones for their seafood options) and deliver handcrafted tacos to your table with unique and unexpected flavors. There’s pineapple skirt steak, mango pork, tempura oyster and lobster. Everything’s made in house including their salads, fresh-pressed juices, cocktails and sangria.

Healthy Junk

Now something for the vegans. Healthy Junk brings you all your favorite comfort foods guilt-free with meatless burgers, pizza, wings, and fish ‘n’ chips—even a Philly “Chez Stake.” The bar serves vegan beers, organic wines and their juice bar is top notch with fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies, and the open-air “Good Food Court” is inviting and comfortable.

Foodies rejoice! And the next time your significant other says nothing sounds good for dinner, just get in the car and start driving toward Anaheim’s Center City. Then just follow your nose.