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October 04, 1990

The following are summaries of recent Times restaurant reviews by Max jacobson. Prices are based on average cost for a party of two without wine. $--less than $15 $$--$15 to $39 $$$--$40 to $75 $$$$--More than $75


* Belisle's, 12001 Harbor Blvd., Garden Grove. (714) 750-6560. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. $$

After a long day at Disneyland, treat your out-of-town guest to Belisle's. The truck stop-style restaurant in Garden Grove trades on giant platters (once you see the serving sizes, you may want to share a dish), eye-popping pastries and true-grit Americana like grits, mush and corn bread.


* Orange Blossom, 3804 E. Chapman Ave., Orange. (714) 633-1888. Open daily from 4:30 p.m. $$

* Beijing, 2940 E. Chapman Ave., Orange. (714) 744-2491. Open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. $$

Orange Blossom and Beijing are two radically different Chinese restaurants within scant blocks of one another on Chapman Avenue in Orange. Orange Blossom is a dinner house that faces West in spirit, while Beijing is primarily a lunch place with an Eastern bent. Orange Blossom has innovative dishes like butterfly eggplant with a cream-cheese filling and minced pigeon in lettuce cups. Beijing has terrific Mandarin chicken in a vinegary sauce and twice-cooked pork, a fiery Szechwan specialty that has been boiled, then pan-fried with vegetables. Both restaurants are winners.


* Gustaf Anders, South Coast Plaza Village, 3810 S. Plaza Drive, Santa Ana. (714) 668-1737. Open daily from 11:30 a.m. to midnight. $$$

Now that Gustaf Anders has had time to settle in, it has established itself firmly as one of the area's most distinctive restaurants. Ulf Strandberg, a classically trained chef from Sweden who dabbles in many genres, has ironed out the inconsistencies that plagued his kitchen when the restaurant first opened. The wild-rice pancake, sugar- and salt-cured salmon, minced-parsley salad and wonderful house breads all merit a wide detour.


* Mene's Terrace, Orange Tree Plaza, 23532 El Toro Road, El Toro. (714) 830-3228. Open Mondays through Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 5 to 9:30 p.m.; Saturdays from 5 to 10 p.m. $$

Mene's Terrace is like a sun-splashed Aegean taverna transported magically to an El Toro shopping mall. The menu is small, but everything is prepared the way an Orthodox grandmother would prepare it. Tirapita and spanakopita (little cheese and spinach pies in a filo crust) are near perfect. The egg lemon soup is even better. Wonderful char-grilled meats, marinated in lemon juice and Greek spices, are served with rice pilaf and pan-roasted potatoes. There is even complimentary baklava at dinner time.


* Sapori, 1080 Bayside Drive, Newport Beach. (714) 644-4220. Open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 5 to 10 p.m.; Fridays from 5 to 11 p.m.; Saturdays from 5 to 11 p.m. $$

Sapori is a modish, elegant neighborhood trattoria where the cooking is serious. Chefs Adriano and Franco Maniacci hail from Palermo, Sicily, but play no favorites with regard to the many regions of Italian cuisine. Bruschetta di pane Saracena , triangles of roasted wheat bread with a garlic puree, are delightful, and many pastas come blanketed in savory sauces. Suprema di rombo, turbot in a leek-and-watercress sauce, pays homage to nouvelle. Veal Milanese is the best you'll find anywhere.

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