Today marks the start of the FIFA World Cup, and this means either you're preparing for a month of ditching work or not giving a shit. But, culinary-wise, all of you should cheer this soccer tournament, as that means many OC restaurants will offer specials, open at special hours, and overall just be more special than usual.
You can expect the World Cup to be aired at most pubs and countries that serve the cuisines of countries in the tourno, but some do it better than others. So, without further ado…
10. Donde Adela
OC's Colombian community doesn't get nearly enough respect, and it's squad this year is back after a decades-long lost weekend, so welcome them at this tiny Orange restaurant. Be a paisa, and don't sneak in some aguardiente, as they don't have a liquor license. 1707 W. Chapman Ave., Orange, (714) 940-1701.
9. Lola Gaspar
Home base for fans of Spain, or hipsters who once spent a month in Barcelona and thus wear the colors of FC Barcelona…or spent a summer in Madrid and so root for Real Madrid. The owners love their soccer, so I respect them for that, but those hipsters: I remember once, after a Spain victory in some championship or other, a drunken, slovenly bunch of them trying to play soccer in the downtown SanTana promenade immediately afterward. UGH… 211 W. Second St. Santa Ana,(714) 972-1172; www.lolagaspar.com
8. Any Korean Restaurant
The most underrated group of soccer fans are Koreans, so I'd suggest hitting up any AYCE BBQ spot. Recommendations? Oh, half of Garden Grove Boulevard…
7. AVIO Dutch Club
Okay, so this one's a longshot, and it might be closed to the public given it's a private club. But if you have a chance, see a game at this legendary Anaheim Dutch establishment, whose hours have become increasingly sparse over the years as its core membership moves away or dies. The Dutch love their beer and their Oranje, so this place'll be a treat. 1557 W. Katella Ave. Anaheim, (714) 774-2840
6. The Globe Belgian Gastropub
This will be the Garden Grove restaurant's first World Cup, so we're doing this recommendation bases solely on the restaurant's great food and greater beer. We know they won't fail, so go! 12926 Main St., Garden Grove, (714) 537-7471; www.theglobeoc.com
5. The Phoenix Club
Germany's soccer team is one of the favorites to win it all, so you know the celebrations will be epic at this Anaheim legend. And, thankfully, neo-Nazis don't give a shit about soccer, so none of them will be polluting this place during the Cup!1340 S. Sanderson Ave. Anaheim, (714) 563-4166; www.thephoenixclub.com
Next to Mexicans (more on them in a bit), no fan base will be more thrilling to hang out with than Argentines, and while all Argie places will air the matches of the albicelestes, the best fan base will be hosted at this longstanding Garden Grove restaurant. Expect epic parrilladas, generous pours of Quilmes, and more exclamations of “¡Hijo de la gran puta than you ever knew could be uttered by a grandma in a minute. 11025 Westminster Ave., Garden Grove, (714) 638-9595; www.reginaargentinarestaurant.com
3. Chapter One/C4 Deil
Co-owner Jeff Jensen is a huge soccer fan, who with co-owner Jeff Hall has ensured that their two downtown SanTana spots are packed with flatscreens. Even better, their private Red Room will screen the game of the day in fabulous projection TV. Best bet: do one game at one place, for a grand total of three per day. Yeah! Chapter One, 227 N. Broadway Santa Ana, (714) 352-2225; www.chapteronetml.com; C4 Deli, 200 N. Broadway, Santa Ana (714) 263-1555; http://www.c4deli.com
2. The Olde Ship
Perhaps the restaurant with the county's best soccer-watching tradition, the Olde Ship's Fullerton and SanTana locations will not only serve as the home base for English fans, but will also host a large contingent of Uncle Sam's Army, the fan base for the U.S. soccer team. And, unlike almost all of the restaurants on this list, the pub will air virtually all the games, as opposed to just the ones that the loudest fan base want. 709 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 871-7447; also at 1120 W. 17th St., Santa Ana, (714) 550-6700; http://www.theoldeship.com
Kinda like the top spot…
1. Any Mexican Restaurant
More than any other fan base, Mexicans will religiously watch el Mundial, cheering on their perpetually over/underachieving Tri. As a result, nearly every restaurant will have at least one television, from lonchera to taqueria and beyond, broadcasting the game. If you want a specific recommendation, the scenes at Taqueria Zamora and El Calamar in SanTana should be spectacular. Or, better yet, hit up El Fracaso so you can drown the sorrows that will come with cheap beers and epic chichis.