For a long time Anaheim was only known to be home to Disneyland, the Convention Center, and the Anaheim Ducks Stadium. But things are changing rapidly in the biggest town in Orange County. Anaheim Guide.
It somehow always starts with food — no matter if you are changing your body for the better or a city. When the old Sunkist packing plant became home to a food hall in 2014, Anaheim got onto the radar of food enthusiasts. It’s not for nothing that Orange County is called Orange County; back in the days the area was mostly known for the large plantages growing citrus fruits, and Sunkist house was where the orange beauties were packed. The space was neglected when plantages start disappearing, but smart business brains turned the beautiful Mission-style building into a foodie paradise. Today the Anaheim Packing House attracts folks from all over the nation, making it a welcoming addition to the city.
The food hall is packed with diverse restaurants ranging from world cuisines ( Mexican, Vietnamese, French, Indian, etc.) to food trends like bubble tea, grilled cheese or shaved ice. There are no chain stores; every vendor is carefully selected to match the criteria of a local, organic and sustainable.
You really want to skip your breakfast and come to the Anaheim Packing House very hungry. There is plenty of outdoor seating to rest for a while and indulge in all the deliciousness.
We think all of the restaurants are worth trying, but if we had only 2 hours to spend here this is our master (food) plan:
Option #1: Get some crispy dorados (Mexican potato tacos) with guacamole, Baja fish tacos, and a large refreshing agua fresca to share at Urbana. The colorful, Mexican spot with ‘Dia de Los Muertos’ theme has a fresh, modern menu and excellent craft cocktails. It’s famous for lunch but also great for groups since they have more seating space than other restaurants.
Option # 2: In need of a warm bowl of pho? We suggest, line up at Sawleaf Cafe, a modern take on Vietnamese fare. From banh mi to rice noodles and more. A must try are their sweet potato fries — with a bahn mi spin — and limeade.
Take a walk around the building, digest and snap some Instagrams.
Time for a small snack.
You can opt for a melty, cheesy grilled cheese from the Black Sheep, a grilled cheese bar. Yes, a whole bar dedicated just to grilled cheese. Heaven, right? Or maybe you are craving something sweet; then Crepe Coop is your spot. Their crepes can compete with every Parisian crepe ( if we may say so).
If you want something new and fun, try out the shaved snow fromI Am…, the smoothie and shaved snow counter specializes in cups filled with the said shaved snow (made with milk) in different flavors topped with rice puffs, fruits, nuts, and syrups.
And now comes a real insider tip. There is a hidden cool, speakeasy in the building, the Blind Rabbit. It’s not easy to find, it has no sign, but we will give you a hint: find the sake barrels and enter. The Blind Rabbit serves some extraordinary good craft cocktails, and they also offer a food menu. Make sure to check out their“house rules“ so you know what awaits you.
Due to some easy regulations on brewing beer, Anaheim is becoming a true microbreweries hub. Just next to the Packing House, are two superb breweries, which couldn’t be more different.
The Anaheim Brewery is an homage to traditional German breweries and beer gardens. The husband and wife duo, Barbara & Greg Gerovac, took over the old brewery in 2010 after living and working in Bavaria for years. The Anaheim Brewery has a strong focus on togetherness. They want their customers to come in, enjoy a beer or two over lively conversations, without any distraction in from of a TV or similar. They even ordered the real German beer garden tables which are more narrow so you can get close with your friend and develop a good conversation. The brewery has different beers on tap like Anaheim 1888, Anaheim Hefeweizen, Anaheim Gold, Coast to Coast IPA and few other rotating beers. Fun fact: If you look closely at their beer bottle tags, the illustrations might remind you of a drawing style you have seen somewhere. We will help you remember. They resemble a bit the Disney style since the illustrator also works for Disney. Cool, right?
On the other side of the Packing House is theUnsung Brewing Co. With the superhero theme, Unsung is a modern brewery mixing Midwest brewing craftsmanship with California’s innovative spirit. The founder, Mike Crea, loves superheroes and he pays tribute to all the unsung heroes out there with its beers. The walls of the tasting room are painted with superhero murals and the interior refreshingly modern for a brewery. They have their own beers, but also guest beers rotating on the tap. Most famous is the Buzzman, a Mutant American Ale, a “crisp, light, low ABV brew inspired by the”Lawnmower Beers” of the Midwest.” The brewery is located in the Make Building, a former orange marmalade factory turned hip space with an outdoor seating area, community tables inside and will be also home to a BBQ joint and whiskey distillery.
Alittle bit further down the road ( about 5 min walk) from the Packing House is the Center Street dotted with new shop and restaurant. Center Street is part of the Anaheim Packing District and a small destination in itself. There is an amazingly delicious taco shop, Pour Vida (don’t miss the nacho fries!), there is a cool writing coffee shop,Ink&Bean, a barber that serves beer, a cheese shop and much more are joining every day.
Anaheim Downtown is still in development, but it’s also one to put on the “neighborhoods to watch” list. And you see, you already spent a whole day in Anaheim even without thinking about Disneyland. For more inspiration what you can do in Anaheim, visit their official website.