Originally a town known for citrus agriculture and train systems, Fullerton is now a happening spot for culinary wonders. The city still has a quaint, vintage feel, but the restaurants found within are anything but ordinary. From steaks and Korean barbecue to Mexican and British food, the restaurants offer some of the best fare in Orange County. Check out these hotspots, which just happen to be the best in Fullerton.

(Credit: Pie Dog)

Pie Dog
229 East Commonwealth Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92832
(714) 681-1298

With a dynamic atmosphere, an impressive selection of burgers and endless brews to sip on, Pie Dog is the perfect place to kick back and relax. Don’t rush the experience, as there is always something fun happening at this downtown restaurant. Even the standard Hop Dog is simmered in beer, but the handcrafted sausages and house-ground steak burgers are what you’ll want to opt for. There are endless toppings and sauces that can be selected to complete your meal while a variety of sides are available to order as well. A three-hour happy hour takes place each weekday, while monthly ping-pong tournaments and a beer program for regulars also color the spot.

(credit: Jessica S./yelp)

Grits Fullerton
133 West Chapman Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92832
(714) 449-0939

Grits Fullerton is all about two things: the food and the service. Its dedication to its customers makes this restaurant stand out above many others. With a constantly evolving menu full of items that are innovative and interesting (not to mention delicious), Grits is a spot that you can visit over and over again without running out of options. Everything is made in-house, and most of it is made-to-order, so expect to sit back, relax and enjoy time spent with family and friends as you await brunch items like a waffle with bone marrow, carnitas verde chilaquiles, jalapeno cheddar grits, pancake balls and the Thai waffle stack. A few lunch items also dot the menu while the dinner menu is being reworked for fall.

(Credit: Stubrik’s Steakhouse and Bar)

Stubrik’s Steakhouse and Bar
118 East Commonwealth Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92832
(714) 871-1290

With a menu that incorporates a variety of filet mignons, sirloins, ribeye and porterhouse steaks, Stubrik’s is the ideal spot for a steak dinner. Each steak is served with your choice of soup or salad as well as two sides, including items like asparagus, steak fries, broccoli, baked potatoes, sautéed spinach, mixed vegetables and more. But, beyond steak, the restaurant offers savory seafood dishes like mahi mahi, herb-crusted salmon and shrimp scampi, or other meals like lemon-pepper chicken and beef stroganoff. With additional appetizers and pasta plates as well as kid’s meals, there’s something for all diners to enjoy. Pair your dinner with a glass of fine wine, scotch or cocktails like the St. Germain-filled Pear Blossom.

(credit: D’Vine)

132 West Commonwealth Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92832
(714) 592-0001

With a chef that got his training in Egypt, it’s no wonder that the Mediterranean cuisine at D’Vine is especially authentic. Sit at the countertop to watch the food as it’s prepared or enjoy some California sunshine on the adjacent, dog-friendly patio. When it comes time to order, start with a hot, cold or shared appetizer, labeled as a ‘mezza’ on the menu. While hummus, grape leaves and falafel are obvious choices, diners will also find a variety of salads and fatayers. Then delve into the main entrees, which range from shawarmas and kebabs to lamb chops and grilled chicken. The lunch menu also offers a variety of pita pockets. For dessert, D’Vine offers ice cream, rice pudding and the ever-popular baklava.

(Credit: Nicole Robatian)

Hopscotch Tavern
136 East Commonwealth Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92832
(714) 871-2222

Most well known for their selection of whiskey, scotch and microbrews, Hopscotch Tavern also offers an impressive food menu that makes dining at Hopscotch a truly good time. Located inside of an old train depot, the setting itself is part of the experience, but guests can also enjoy a combination of salads, sandwiches, burgers, wraps and entrees like fish and chips, braised short ribs and chicken tortellini. It is also the perfect place for shared appetizers, with an impressive selection of wings, nachos, tacos, flautas, poutine and fries as well as pretzels with cheese dip—the perfect complement for the restaurant’s brews. A new sampler makes it easy to savor many of these flavors while you sip as well.

(credit: Maila H./yelp)

The Cellar
305 North Harbor Boulevard
Fullerton, CA 92832
(714) 525-5682

Those looking for an upscale, romantic restaurant in Fullerton should check out The Cellar. One of the most longstanding eateries in town, it was erected in the 1960s, with an Old Europe style that lends itself to architectural arches, warm fireplaces and sparkling chandeliers. The basement location makes the lighting even more magical without interference from the sun, and the menu is inspired by French favorites and fresh ingredients. Try something different each time you visit and you won’t be disappointed, with dishes like lobster bisque, duck, lamb, steak, salmon and various soufflés as well as things like bone marrow, escargot and truffle mac ‘n’ cheese. A separate bar menu provides offerings like craft brews and cocktails made with aged rum or Irish whiskey.

(credit Alan De Herrera)

Matador Cantina
111 North Harbor Boulevard
Fullerton, CA 92832
(714) 871-8226

Offering lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, each of the menus is filled with a blend of traditional and contemporary dishes inspired by authentic Mexican cuisine. Start with shrimp ceviche or short rib sopes; they also offer nachos, carne asada fries and jalapeno poppers on their list of starters. While you can choose from a hearty selection of tacos, burritos, enchiladas, fajitas, salads and quesadillas, the house specials include a steak with cilantro chimichurri sauce, chicken chile relleno, chilaquiles and the Drunken Shrimp. They also host specialty nights, including Taco Tuesday, drink discounts on Mondays and Wednesdays and half off premium tequila on Thursdays.

(credit: The Olde Ship)

The Olde Ship
709 North Harbor Boulevard
Fullerton, CA 92832
(714) 871-7447

For a fun time filled with plenty of tasty British food—something that isn’t incredibly prevalent in O.C.—stop by The Olde Ship. Meant to resemble a British pub, the restaurant has a comfortable ambiance intended for locals to hang out, make new friends and enjoy good conversation in addition to food and drinks. Some of their unique appetizers include sausage rolls, clam chowder, fish bites and Scotch eggs. Breakfast is served all day so while you can get various extras, but the Great British Breakfast will give you more food than you can likely handle. The Olde Ship also offers great British dishes like fish and chips, prime rib with Yorkshire pudding, corned beef and cabbage, bangers and mash, cottage pie and Salisbury steak.

(Credit: The Public House)

The Public House
138 West Commonwealth Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92832
(714) 870-0039

The Public House was created by Evans Brewing Company to serve as both a restaurant and taproom. Visit to sample the company’s craft beers, including the Sail Boat, O.C. Pale, Morning Nectar, Stout At The Devil, Triple Berry Wheat, Chocolatté and more. These sips are paired with perfectly selected plates meant to complement the drinks. A must-try is the restaurant’s signature sausages, which are infused with Evans beers. Diners can also share starters like poke, house-made chips and guacamole, pulled pork mini tacos, chili cheese fries and warm pretzels or savor bigger plates like flat iron steaks, cod filets, fried buttermilk chicken and grilled portabello mushroom caps. The menu also includes burgers, salads, brick-oven pizzas and desserts.

(credit: ED L./yelp)

305 North State College Boulevard
Fullerton, CA 92831
(714) 441-0000

Those looking for an all-you-can-eat joint should visit Mr BBQ, a Korean barbecue restaurant that has graced the Fullerton area for three years now. Open every day of the week, Mr BBQ offers an eclectic menu full of premium meats and other ingredients that you cook tableside. The extensive selection includes wagyu beef belly, brisket, finger short ribs, marinated sirloin and even Hawaiian sausage. While you may have a long wait depending on the day and time you visit, that is standard for Korean barbecue restaurants. This one offers games to play while you wait and has quick service once you’re seated.

Ashley Ryan is an Orange County native that loves traveling, live music and photography. She blogs at Pure Wander and freelances for a variety of publications including Newport Beach Magazine and Laguna Beach Magazine.