Best Sunday Brunch
Anaheim White House
887 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim 714-772-1381
This was a tough category to think about. Brunch means different things to different people. Do you want the all-you-can-eat Vegas-style buffet or a fixed-price meal that includes endless mimosas or champagne?
I tend to think of both, and certainly the No. 3 vote-getter, Taps, rises to the occasion as one of best buffet brunches in Orange County.
But if you want an elegant, fixed-price brunch in a sophisticated setting, give the Anaheim White House a shot.
For $28.50 per adult and half-off for children, brunch offers an amazing variety of selections with big portions. The seven first-course options include escargot, calamari, gnocchi, fagioli soup, ravioli and two different salads.
For the second course, the choices get even tougher: Eggs Florentine, Cartier Tenderloin of Pork, Vuitton Grilled Chicken Caesar, Fendi Omelet al Formaggio, Versace Tilapia, Dolce Gabbana Sand Dabs, Zenga Rigatoni Formaggio, Vuitton Panino di Pollo alla Parmigana, Ferre Beef Tri-Tip, Prada Insalata Caprese.
All adult meals come with champagne.
Dessert choices are just as fabulous: profiteroles, which are cream puffs filled with vanilla pastry cream or Dolce al Zabaglione, vanilla cake filled with Chantilly cream and fresh strawberries. The latter is certainly the fanciest strawberry shortcake you'll ever eat.
Being that owner Bruno Serato is one of Orange County's best-known Italian chefs, I recommend you lean heavily on the pasta dishes. Our favorites: the Zenga Rigatoni Formaggio, a trifecta of savory flavors (Parmesan, bacon and creamy white sauce) melted over large tube pasta. The gnocchi al pomodoro is a safe, classic potato dumpling dish good for kids. Ravioli fans will not be disappointed with the Walter Nudo Ravioli, stuffed with a combination of Italian cheeses in a wild Porcini mushroom sauce.
The service at Anaheim White House is also spot on. Prompt. Precise. Pampering. As a mom of a 'tween girl, I love that our server specifically looked at my kid, instead of me, when taking her order. My daughter rose to the etiquette challenge because she was treated with respect.
So if you're looking to avoid the elbowing of a fast-paced brunch line, take your family to a relaxed Sunday brunch at the Anaheim White House.
You might be surprised at how full you really are after three courses.
- Nancy Luna, Fast Food Maven
1. El Torito
Locations throughout Orange County
Interesting facts: El Torito has nearly 200 food and dessert items on its brunch menu.
As many as 700 people come to brunch every Sunday at each location, said Orange manager Gabino Campo.
Mariachi music is played during brunch to add to the ambience.
Why they're No. 1: El Torito has a brunch that combines Mexican specialties, as well as traditional American favorites. The brunch is festive and lively with colorful decorations, the wait staff dresses in Mexican outfits and mariachi music plays to set the mood. "We want our customers to feel as if they were in a formal Mexican home," said Lowell Petrie, chief marketing officer.
Claim to fame: The Sunday brunch features an all-you-can-eat buffet with items like Mexican specialties such as menudo, chicken pozole (chicken broth with hominy and vegetables), a taco bar with handmade tortillas and brunch staples such as fruit, salads, waffles and made-to-order omelets. Cap it off with a glass of champagne. Among the children's favorites are waffles with cajeta (a kind of syrup) and ice cream topped with whipped cream. El Torito was created in 1954 and came to Orange County in 1959.
Fan favorite: "(The) best selection of food. Waffles (are) the best. (The) atmosphere and view (are) great, too! The view of the harbor is wonderful and service is great!" – Diane Duffy, San Juan Capistrano
Fun fact: Founder Larry Cano chose the name El Torito (little bull in Spanish) for a statue of a small bull that he included as part of the decor, Petrie said.
– Raquel Rubio
2. Sarducci's Capistrano Depot
26701 Verdugo St., San Juan Capistrano; 949-493-9593
Interesting facts: Located next to the train tracks and blocks away from Mission San Juan Capistrano in the city's Los Rios district. You can drive or take the train to get there.
About 400 to 500 customers come every Sunday for brunch.
Claim to fame: Sarducci's was founded in 1985, but is housed in San Juan Capistrano's historic train depot, which was built in 1894. Brunch is a sit-down, a la carte affair featuring specialties such as Sarducci's Double Play with a choice of two pancakes or French toast, two eggs, two pieces of bacon or sausage, a small juice and coffee. Children enjoy the Mouse Cake, which is a pancake with ears, said Dennis Medeiros, one of the two owners. The restaurant is known for its courtyard patio tables that surround a fountain. Enjoy the scenery and watch the trains pass by. Inside, fireplaces set a cozy mood, and paintings by local artists are on display.
Fan favorite: "Great food, lovely outdoor seating, top-notch entertainment and friendly, attentive staff make this the place in south O.C. for Sunday brunch." – Richard Daugherty, Mission Viejo
Fun fact: Century-old pepper trees around the courtyard have been there since the restaurant building was a train depot.
– Raquel Rubio
3. Taps Fish House & Brewery
101 E. Imperial Hwy., Brea; 714-257-0101
Interesting facts: The Jazz brunch includes a huge selection of food, plus champagne or Taps' award-winning beers and sparkling wine.
Claim to fame: Opened in 1999, Taps features an assortment of menus and dining areas, from a 21-seat oyster bar to an outside terrace to enjoy a meal or cigars from the Taps humidor. One special destination is the Jazz Brunch each Sunday with its bountiful buffet. Choose from about 200 brunch items, including classic selections such as seafood, pastries or fruit, or ask the chefs to create your own omelets, one of the most popular items on the buffet. The ambience is "New Orleans decor with Disneyland-style jazz," said General Manager Brady Sherard. For dessert, the interactive chocolate fountain can satisfy every chocoholic's dream with items like Rice Krispies Treats and fruit available for dipping.
Fan favorite: "Great deal for all that seafood, awesome salads. The hot food is always hot, not burned, and the music is great!" – Melody Sadowski, Anaheim Hills
Fun fact: Taps helps the Boys & Girls Club of Placentia and sponsors golf tournaments for the Wounded Warrior Project, which helps Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.
– Raquel Rubio