Cafes in Downtown Santa Ana

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In order to open Kaffa!, the Kim family decided their first requirement was to create the ideal cup of coffee. Hours of experimentation and a decade of business later, they've found several approaches to this goal. For one, they never let drip coffee sit?every 60 minutes, they pour out the old batch and brew a new one from freshly ground, micro-roasted beans. Cups of joe are also available in pour-over and french-press styles for an ultra-pure taste, and their iced coffee is cold brewed to bring out a strong flavor with little bitterness. As far as espresso, the coffee shop serves theirs in a short-pull ristretto style, which brews a bolder, fuller liquid with less water than standard espresso. These techniques beget a range of specialty drinks, such as lattes and mochas flavored with Monin syrup and topped with artistic froth designs, and iced coffee beverages blended with mint and crushed Oreos. To pair with drinks, the staff crafts a range of paninis and salads that contain more vegetables than the evidence locker from Peter Rabbit's trial.

424 S Main St.
Orange,
CA
US

The flavors you'll find most prominently at Go Fresh are those of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins marinated in Mediterranean spices. Flavorful juices and healthy smoothies take center-stage, with staff blending together yogurt with options such as the Jade made with kale, spinach, four citrus fruits, and mint. And though the juices are healthy on their own, staff can boost protein and nutrient levels with add-ins such as whey protein or chia seeds.

On the other side of the menu, chefs focus on Mediterranean dishes blended with flashes of Indian flavors. This results in fusion dishes such as protein bowls filled with chicken in a mango curry sauce, served with a choice of rice or naan. They use a range of healthy ingredients, from wild salmon stacked onto kabobs to crispy falafel balls filled with hearty chickpeas and spices.

1945 E 17th St Ste 104
Santa Ana,
CA
US

"Niki's is everything fast food should be: unpretentious but good; cheap but plentiful; and fast, fast, fast," raved OC Weekly in 2010 when it awarded the restaurant the title of Best Fast-Food Indian Orange County. Speed isn't everything, though. At Niki's Indian Cuisine, the chefs specialize in coaxing the savory flavors out of items such as chicken and lamb by roasting skewers inside a traditional, clay tandoor oven. The majority of the menu contains vegetarian-friendly dishes?including entrees featuring lentils, eggplant, and curried chlorophyll?all of which can range from mild to pleasantly spicy.

2031 E 1st St.
Santa Ana,
CA
US

When people say Watson Drugs and Soda Fountain has a checkered history, they?re talking about the ever-present tablecloths, which flaunt cheery red-and-white squares that whisk diners back to the 1950s. Here in the more than a century-old establishment, cooks still stack pancakes higher than the Statue of Liberty?s beehive hairdo as kids ogle retro candies such as Necco wafers, Sweethearts, and Clark bars. Come lunchtime, half-pound burgers sizzle on the grill, alongside toppings such as bacon and mushrooms.

Near a vintage Pepsi-Cola sign, soda jerks uncap bottles of root beer and scoop banana floats into glass boats en route to white leather booths or a sunny outdoor patio. The shop also summons nostalgia with its shiny jukebox, vintage postcards, and iconic storefront, which has been featured in films, commercials, and PSAs for time travelers.

116 E Chapman Ave
Orange,
CA
US

At Caf? Tu Tu Tango, edibles and art merge with far more dynamism than your average still life. Paintings and brick pillars surround the tables, where pizzas decked in pears and brie flank the miniature campfires of tabletop s'mores. Murals and mosaics fill the space beneath counters, and plush sofas on the patio replace the chairs and moss-covered motorcycles of traditional outdoor seating. Even the napkins "are a rainbow of jewel toned colors," reports The Food Channel's "Raves & Faves" feature, which labels the restaurant's design "pure local artist eclectic." The review documents the caf?'s other artistic quirks, including the dessert menu's catalogue of painted depictions, the commissioned artists who compose their opuses live in the space, and the range of performers who parade through the restaurant, from belly dancers to balloon artists.

The kitchen makes its own chicken and beef empanadas alongside six types of skewers, which spear meats such as salmon, shrimp, and steak. A classic sangria recipe complements bites of roasted pears or mango-duck quesadillas, and seven specialty pizzas bake in a brick oven. To top off an original lunch date, groups can visit nearby attractions such as Disneyland and the Anaheim Convention Center.

20 City Blvd W
Orange,
CA
US

The Cozy Cave, or living room, of Chapman Coffee House pays homage to Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'i faith. For a two-year period, the spiritual leader sought refuge in a cave, embracing seclusion as an opportunity for meditation. Acknowledging his example, the founders of Chapman Coffee House established the Cozy Cave as "a place for meaningful conversation." On the walls, chalkboards display words of wisdom, dictated by Bahá'u'lláh, as well as artwork from Orange High School students. Groups meet here for daily interfaith devotions; individuals often come to quietly contemplate.

In the kitchen, baristas accentuate Diedrich coffee beverages with artistic flair, manipulating foam into the shape of hearts, houses, and flowers. Cooks dedicate their attention to preparing white-chocolate brownies—a house specialty—as well as grilled paninis. On occasion, live musicians fill the dining area with song. In the winter, a fire crackles in the cozy cave to warm up the dwarves who live in the back.

505 N Glassell St
Orange,
CA
US