It’s time we have this talk, guys. 

As an OC Native, I could easily say that the food scene in Orange County is drastically improving on the daily. But at the same time, I feel like there are a few popular spots that are seriously overrated.

I’m not saying the food is bad or that I wouldn’t visit these restaurants, but there are certain places I feel are a bit “overhyped” on Yelp, social media or the press for what you actually get on the plate. Here are 5 popular restaurants in OC that are seriously overrated.

The Halal Guys

Halal-Guys-ExpandCredit: Foodbeast

I get why the new Halal Guys restaurant in Costa Mesa is always busy. The street carts in New York are super popular and offer filling grub on the cheap. But part of this popularity is because of the novelty of receiving Mediterranean food out of a cart that would typically serve hot dogs.

When given the option of eating a hot dog, boiled in dirty water, or a bowl of chicken and rice, you would opt for the latter. That’s why New Yorkers love Halal Guys.

But I would never brave the long wait again for Halal Guys’ sub-standard food. I’ve had better gyros, doner kebabs and shawarmas throughout Orange County.  In fact, the chicken and “White Sauce” from Halal Guys tastes like it came straight out of a Del Taco Chicken Soft Taco.

Also, there are no Del Tacos in New York, which could be why Halal Guys’ “White Sauce” is so hyped up.

Plaza Inn

maxresdefaultSource: YouTube

I’m not a Disneyland regular. But I kept hearing that the fried chicken from Plaza Inn at Disneyland is one of the best food items at the park. On a recent visit, I had the opportunity to try it. After braving a 40 minute wait, I received a glorious looking plate of three giant pieces of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans and a biscuit. Is there a wait for everything at Disneyland? 

The verdict? It’s good, but definitely not the best fried chicken in Orange County. I expect my fried chicken to be juicy and filthy on the inside. This chicken was pretty dry. While I was eating my meal in the patio, my eyes glanced at the Little Red Wagon corn dog cart. I made a huge mistake.

Mick’s Karma Bar

micks-karma-bar-2Source: Nick G Photography

There was a novelty to Mick’s a few years back when it opened. A burger joint in a boring, old Irvine office complex?! Strawberry basil lemonade?! Must go! 

Some of this novelty must still live on, as you’ll see plenty of UC Irvine students line up with their #squads for a plate of burgers and fries.

But the reality is, the quality and flavor of Mick’s burgers and fries have gone downhill. My last visit to Mick’s was disappointing. The Karma Burger is not as juicy or as tasty as when I first tried it. I wish the steak fries that came out with the burger would have been hot and salted. Instead, they were cold and limp.

They also discontinued the practice of giving free refills on their iconic Strawberry Basil Lemonade. What a shame.

Market 2 Plate

oSource: Yelp

This is a new “Chipotle-esque” pasta stand that opened in Tustin’s Union Market. Market 2 Plate has received some rave reviews on Yelp, netting a 4.5 star rating, and is consistently busy.

But my first visit to Market 2 Plate was less than amusing. No one guided me through the concept or how the restaurant worked. When I asked for a side salad in the pasta line, I was promptly yelled at by the employee to go to the other side of the store. While the pasta was freshly made in house, the cook on the pasta turned it into a block of dough. The pomodoro sauce is reminiscent of tomato juice.

On top of all that, they serve it blistering hot, where you’d have to wait 20 mins for it to cool down to enjoy it. My tongue was burnt in the process. I like my food hot. But not to the point where I’ll get a third degree burn.

Let’s hope these are just growing pains, because it would be a shame to spoil such a great concept.

Peter’s Gourmade Grill

o-2Source: Yelp

I remember when Peter’s opened in Tustin. It was housed inside a Valero gas station on McFadden and Village Way. There were two employees, the chef Peter and his girlfriend Antoinette.

Peter was a professionally trained chef who would make the most incredible burgers and sandwiches. The wait times would be ridiculous for a burger, because he would put his touch on each burger.

People would bring their lawn chairs and setup a makeshift outdoor restaurant, outside of the gas station. It was a truly beautiful, and delicious, sight.

Fast forward to today, Peter’s is no longer in the Valero station and has moved to a space the corner of McFadden and Newport.

Peter sold the restaurant a few years back. The new owner upgraded the spot dramatically. There are tables, a TV and a soda fountain. The crowds still show up for these burgers and they’re still decent. But they will never be as tasty as the burgers made in that Valero station by the man himself.

What restaurants do you think are overrated? Comment below!

Originally posted 2016-04-12 21:56:42.

Join the Conversation!