Fullerton is a small but mighty city in North Orange County. You’re probably most familiar with Fullerton due to its Cal State campus, and you’ll definitely find students everywhere. Fullerton is also home to families with diverse backgrounds who have been here for generations. This diversity helps create an abundance of great food options, and our guide to some of the best restaurants in Fullerton has something for everyone.
Getting its start in the early 1970s, Rutabegorz was one of the first health-conscious restaurants to open in Orange County. Don’t let the “healthy food” label fool you–this trailblazer is definitely one of the best restaurants in Fullerton. Rutabegorz serves up warm pastries, a variety of vegetarian options, and, of course, salads. Salads often get a bad rap for being plain and unfilling, usually deservedly so, but here at Rutas, they are anything but. Though many of the 20+ salads on the menu are refreshingly tasty, we highly recommend the garlic chicken salad: garlic chicken, tomato, cucumber, carrot, avocado, crunchy noodles, and caramelized walnuts all on a bed of crispy lettuce. Top it off with their zingy balsamic vinaigrette and instantly feel revitalized.
$$ Sandwiches, Salad, Italian
9. Curry Hut
Curry Hut in Fullerton is the perfect spot if you’re looking for something fast but don’t want to sacrifice quality or flavor. Leaning into the “fast-er food” concept, Curry Hut offers most of their dishes serve-yourself style, so you really can get a great meal in minutes. As you walk through the door, enjoy being greeted by the comforting smell of warm spices and freshly-baked naan. Never fear, Curry Hut doesn’t short-cut any of their dishes though. Many of their items are marinated overnight and cooked in an authentic clay oven to reach maximum flavor. The chicken tikka combo with basmati rice and garlic naan is a great place to start, but don’t be afraid to branch out with less familiar dishes–Curry Hut does them all so well.
8. Nick the Greek
Running errands or have a few minutes to grab something during your lunch break? Nick the Greek is the perfect place for a quick, convenient bite that never sacrifices quality or flavor. While the idea of putting fries in a chicken gyro might not sound authentic, the slow-cooked chicken on a rotating spit definitely makes up for it. The unexpected duo topped with Nick’s specialty mustard-based sauce makes for a dynamic gyro that absolutely hits the spot. This family-owned restaurant and its modern take on Greek food is definitely worthy of a spot on our guide to the best restaurants in Fullerton.
Nick the Greek
$$ Greek, Mediterranean, Kebab
7. Crepes Bonaparte
If you’re looking for a sweet treat around Fullerton, Crepes Bonaparte is the way to go. What started as a single husband-and-wife-run food truck has expanded into two full storefronts plus several additional food trucks that rove around the city plus offer onsite catering. Order the HazelBerryAna, a crepe stuffed with fresh strawberries, banana, and Nutella, all topped with whipped cream and a chocolate drizzle, for the sweet crepe of your dreams. Sweet not your thing? Crepes Bonaparte also offers savory and breakfast-all-day crepes that are equally delicious. Gluten-free readers rejoice: Crepes Bonaparte can make any crepe gluten free.
Crepes Bonaparte – Fullerton
$ Desserts, Creperies, Caterers
6. Mr. Katsu
Mr. Katsu is a mom-and-pop-style diner that serves Japanese katsu sandwiches that are mostly traditional but with a few creative twists. Our go-to is the habanero pesto sandwich. The crisp katsu (a breaded pork cutlet) paired with the fresh coleslaw and the heat from the bright habanero pesto all packed between the toasted sweet bread makes this one heck of a sandwich. Add a side of potato croquettes (essentially panko-crusted and fried mashed potato puffs) for the ultimate unforgettable fast-casual meal. Mr. Katsu is one you won’t want to miss on our guide to the best restaurants in Fullerton.
$$ Sandwiches, Asian Fusion
5. Matiki Island Barbecue
Matiki Island Barbecue is a family-owned restaurant serving up some of the best Hawaiian food around, making it a no-brainer for our guide to the best restaurants in Fullerton. Choose from a selection of fresh, perfectly grilled meats to round out your plate of white rice and tangy mac salad. The short ribs are not to be missed, and we can’t help but give a huge thumbs up to the enormous beef ribs–sharing definitely recommended on those. And, if you happen to be a Disney fan who also happens to be in Fullerton, we have great news: Matiki serves dole whips. And while they are missing some of that pixie dust “magic” found at the parks, they do make for a delicious sweet treat after a hearty meal.
Matiki Island BBQ
$$ Hawaiian, Barbeque, Comfort Food
4. Chicana Vegana
Chicana Vegana is a 100% vegan restaurant that will have you questioning whether you thought you disliked vegan food or you’ve simply never had vegan food that was done right. Open seven days a week, this innovative restaurant in downtown Fullerton serves up Tex-Mex leaning offerings (soy-based al pastor and carnitas, cashew nacho cheese, and, of course, good old rice and beans) and burgers. Our go-to is the signature fries topped with soy al pastor. At Chicana Vegana, everything is so well-seasoned and executed perfectly that we never once have to wonder where the meat is.
$$ Vegan, Mexican, Burgers
3. The Good Fish and Noodles
The Good Fish and Noodles is the place to grab a plate of poke in Fullerton. A build-your-own type of place with customizations galore, The Good Fish excels where similar restaurants come up short: the quality of the fish does not disappoint. Beyond poke (whether in bowl, roll, or burrito form), The Good Fish’s extensive menu also includes ramen and teriyaki bowls, which are equally customizable and delicious.
The Good Fish and Noodles
$$ Seafood, Ramen, Poke
Broth-less ramen, also known as mazemen, is the stand-out dish at Mogumogu, an LA-born restaurant that has (luckily) made its way over to Orange County. Mazemen is everything you love about ramen without, you guessed it, the broth. Enjoying mazemen to its full potential requires a fairly specific technique–no worries, the helpful staff are happy to give you the full run-down. The word mazemen translates to “mixed noodles”, so it’s no surprise that you’ll be vigorously mixing your noodles (preferably with your chopsticks). After enjoying a few bites, add in a vinegar-based sauce for an extra punch of umami. Finally, once the noodles are gone, end your meal with a small bowl of white rice to finish off the remaining sauce. Mogumogu truly is an unforgettable dining experience.
1. Mr. BBQ
Rounding out our guide to the best restaurants in Fullerton is Mr. BBQ, an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ restaurant that’s packed with flavor and long lines. Don’t let the long wait scare you off, though, as this is one spot you do not want to skip. Mr. BBQ’s quality meats and iconic banchan (side dishes) will have you addicted in no time. Our favorite proteins include brisket, bulgogi, and top sirloin steak. An extra order of kimchi and spicy cucumbers are both a must.
$$ Korean, Barbeque