10 Quick Eats Near SAC You Never Knew Existed

Puerto Madero
Puerto Madero’s empanadas combined with their “gaucho” chimichurri sauce make this restaurant one of Santa Ana’s hidden gems./ Jose Servin/ el Don

Trying to stuff in an entire meal for lunch may be difficult for many students. A quick snack or skipping lunch altogether is not uncommon if students are on campus all day. But skipping meals can lead to fatigue, according to the website prevention.com, which could distract from  learning in the classroom. We’ve scoped out some new and hidden restaurants around campus worth checking out if you have some time before the next class.

By Aurielle Weiss / el Don
Aurielle Weiss / el Don


Flavor is the life force at GD Bro Burger.

The red bun looks suspicious, but their burgers are creative. From red or plain buns, to different aioli and truffle style fries, flavorful pairings are numberless at this nearby burger joint.

If you love spice, try the Juan and Only Burger, loaded with jalapeño cream cheese, pico de gallo and avocado chipotle mayo. Not enough? Add their truffle fries with an aioli curry sauce.

The Italian herb chicken sandwich with marinated lemon herb chicken, spinach, tomato and avocado garlic aioli is fashioned for a lemon lover. This one is a nice alternative to a beef burger.

For the not so daring customer, the Herd Dat Burger is just a tasty as their more adventurous burgers.

Their craft food, knowledgeable and friendly staff, affordable prices with all menu items under $10, and quick service is really their best recipe. —Aurielle Weiss

Address: 2321 E. 4th St.
Phone: (714) 595-1768
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday-Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 10 p.m.

cemitas 1
Laura Garcia / el Don


If you are up for a new type of Mexican food then a cemita is a must. La Cemita Poblana is one of the few places in Santa Ana to get this traditional Puebla dish along with other great tasting food-all under $10.

La Cemita Poblana serves mulitas as a fried quesadilla-like dish filled with cheese, onions, cilantro and your choice of meat. Although most quesadillas are folded in half and cooked on griddles, mulitas comes as a flat circle, with a crispy-yet-soft texture on the outside.

Their namesake dish, is like a torta except the ingredients are stacked between a sesame-seed bun that is firm enough to not have your meal falling apart in your hands. Inside cemitas are avocados, peppers, quesillo, jalapenos, chipotle and your choice of meat.

Overall, La Cemita Poblana is Mexican food done right. —Laura Garcia

Address: 519 S. Main St.
Phone: (714) 664-0892
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

soltani 2
Itzel Quintana / el Don


The flavor that is packed into each plate and the quality customer service make up for the small menu at Soltani Restaurant.

The chicken koobideh is a ground chicken skewer. This plate, along with all the others, is served with grilled vegetables, a salad and steamed basmati rice topped with saffron, giving the rice its yellow color on the upper layer.

The “ground” in ground chicken might be enough to scare some off but it does not taste any different than “whole” chicken. Cut a slice of chicken, add a bit of grilled tomato, wrap a piece of lavash around it with basmati rice and you’ll have yourself a Persian taco.

Another option is the beef koobideh. It has all the elements of its chicken counterpart in the way it’s cooked, but it’s better suited for those who like the taste of meatballs.

The boneless chicken kabob is marinated and fire-broiled, giving it a unique orange color. Don’t let that alarm you, this option is flavorful and well-portioned.

If ordered as a “mini,” each of these plates total to $6.47 without a drink. Soltani has a nicely ornamented dining area but also offers take-out and delivery.

The wait can be long, but because your order is prepared in front of you, it’s worth the wait.–Itzel Quintana

Address: 610 E. First St.
Phone: (714) 558-2000
Hours: Sunday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

lantern grill
Kevin Vasquez / el Don


Located in a corner between a 99-Cents store and Pronto Pizza, Lantern Grill can be missed in the blink of an eye.

It opened last November in a spot that provides a modern and relaxing atmosphere students can appreciate.With electrical outlets at every table and free wi-fi, it’s an ideal location for lunch while catching up on school work.

The restaurant is divided into two rooms with a couch in one.

Full meals consist of chicken, pork or beef with sides of rice, vegetables and a fruit of your choice, averaging under $10 dollars. Appetizers, ranging from grilled shrimp to dumplings, are around $5, making it affordable to any student.

Lantern Grill also offers a variety of drinks like milk teas, coffees, slushies and weekly specials

Because it’s so close to campus this place is great to grab a quick bite to eat between classes. — Kevin Vasquez

Address: 1722 W 1st St
Phone: (714) 667-7964
Hours: Monday-Friday 9:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Saturday-Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m

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C4 Deli
Photo By Emilio Rodriguez / el Don


C4 Deli is a good alternative lunch joint that won’t hurt your wallet.

It’s a modern version of a deli for someone looking for a new local lunch spot. The deli offers soups, salads, sandwiches and burgers, giving customers quite a list to choose.

Their jaw-tiring sandwich, the C4 Club costs a little bit over $10 with crisp veggies loaded on top of fresh ham, turkey and bacon, leaving its conqueror feeling satisfied but not heavy.

They have a variety of craft beers and wines to choose from. Happy hour is offered Tuesday through Sunday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., all day Monday, and other events like Trivia Tuesdays and Bottomless Weekends. Emilio Rodriguez

Address: 200 N. Broadway
Phone: (714) 263-1555
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday 11 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Nguyen's Kitchen
Christina Alvarez / el Don


Simple fusion food is the theme of Nguyen’s Kitchen.

Even though the menu is small, they have sandwiches, crawfish pasta and Cajun fries. The best part? Each item on the menu is less than $10.

To go along with your freshly marinated pork banh mi sandwich, served with their mouth watering green sauce, try a Thai tea or Vietnamese iced coffee. If you’re still feeling something on the sweeter side, they also have miniature macaroon ice cream sandwiches.

This restaurant is a perfect place to grab lunch between classes alone or with friends. —Christina Alvarez

Address: 445 S. Main St.
Phone: (714) 771-5410
Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Cafe Calacas Interior
The aesthetics of the food and decorations adds a vibrant atmosphere to this cafeteria./ Arleeny Escarcega/ el Don


Cafe Calacas offers Mexican food and beverages.

A 4th Street Steak Burrito costs $8.64 and a Verde Steak Torta is $9.69. Their steak burrito with white rice, steak, beans, and some avocado could be bigger for the price. It also had a tiny side of green salsa, but Tapatio or Valentina would have added more bite. It did not include a side order or a drink. A bit pricey for a basic burrito. The food entrees range from $4 to $10.

The torta looked like a better deal compared to the burrito. For $9.69, the plate comes with the torta and a side of chips, slaw, or soup. Be wary of stale chips though. With the extra cost for a drink, the total comes up at $13.17.

For breakfast, there are more combinations that aren’t as pricey as lunch options. A bagel with cream cheese or cafe de olla costs about $5.50. There are waffle plates for about $7 and coffees, smoothies, or frappes from $2.50 to $6.

Parking is available in front of the location and along the street. However, be sure to take enough loose change as meters are required for the parking lot. —Arleeny Escarcega

Address: 324 W. 4th St.
Phone: (714) 662-2002
Hours: Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

los grandes
Photo By Rosalia Cato / el Don


Los Grandes serves delicious and affordable Mexican food and refreshing aguas frescas.

They sell combos and a la carte items that come in big portions.

Two carne asada tacos and a drink cost $ 8.07. Each taco is priced at $2.75 and $2.18 for a drink.  The tacos are large and come with two tortillas served with meat, lettuce, guacamole and hot sauce on the side.

To keep your options open you can also order a wet burrito and a medium drink for just over $10. The wet burrito is filled with meat of your choice, topped with red sauce and sour cream. This is served with rice, beans and pico de gallo.

The location offers a clean and spacious seating area ideal for study sessions as you wait for your food.

Los Grandes is a perfect alternative for students who are looking for good and affordable food near campus. —Rosalia Cato

Address: 1736 W. 5th St.
Phone: (714) 647-9862
Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday 7:00 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.

pig pen 2
Photo By Itzel Quintana / el Don


Bacon lovers unite at Pig Pen Delicacy.

The pork belly fries are a must-try for any first-timer. The fries have the right amount of crunch mixed with cheese, pico de gallo and bacon add a quirky touch to the dish. If ordered with a soda, the total comes out to about $10, but the fries are filling enough to stand alone as a main dish.

The pork belly sliders are small, but enough to leave the casual eater satisfied. The soft bacon is easy to chew and loaded with a strong barbeque taste. Contrasted with the pork belly, veggies in between the buns add a slight crunch. The two sliders with a soda totals to about $10.

Inside 4th Street Market, there is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, but if you’re grabbing a quick eat in between classes you can order to-go.

If you are driving make sure to take some change for the metered parking spots and parking structures. — Itzel Quintana

Address: 201 E. First St.
Hours: Sunday-Wednesday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Gol/ With a large dining area, delicious Latin American food and multiple LCD TV screens airing the latest sporting event, Puerto Madero is a definite score./ Itzel Quintana/ el Don


Puerto Madero Market is a combined supermarket and restaurant on the bottom level of a non-descript building that also houses an income tax office and a women’s health clinic.

But the eclectic food from various Latin-American countries featured on the food markets menu is anything but plain.

They feature full-sized sandwiches, of which the $7 chivito, a bacon, rib-eye steak and ham concoction crammed between two sesame seed buns, tops the list.

The real pull-factor at Puerto Madero, though, is their empanadas. They sell for $2 each or $8 for half a dozen, and are stuffed with either meat or vegetable options.

Every meal deserves a splash of their homemade “gaucho” chimichurri sauce, which adds a hint of unforgettable spice. — Jose Servin

Address: 1225 W. Seventeenth St.
Phone: (714) 547-5900
Hours: Sunday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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