Best Places to Eat in Buena Park, California

Food & Drink

Buena Park, located in Orange County, California, is about 30 minutes from LAX on a typical day. With a focus on the amusement park, Knott’s Berry Farm, the town is a fun time for the whole family. It is a fun summertime destination and has seasonal special events like Knott’s Scary Farm and Knott’s Merry Farm, making it the perfect year-round destination. For more amusement park fun, Disneyland is only 10 miles away.

You’ll need some fuel for all of these outdoor activities, and Buena Park restaurants offer a wide variety of dining options, from fast food to fine dining. These are some of the best places to eat in Buena Park, listed in no particular order.

Thank you to Visit Buena Park for hosting my stay.

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Broken Yolk Café

Conveniently located across from Knott’s Berry Farm, the Broken Yolk Café on Beach Boulevard is the perfect restaurant for breakfast before heading to the amusement park.

An acai bowl: acai berry sorbet topped with blueberries, fresh strawberries, banana, granola, shredded coconut, and honey at Broken Yolk Cafe in Buena Park
An Acai Bowl at Broken Yolk Café

I over-ordered as the menu offered so many options that were out of the ordinary. For dessert, yes, dessert at breakfast,  I tried the acai bowl: acai berry sorbet topped with blueberries, fresh strawberries, banana, granola, shredded coconut, and honey. You can transform this into a vegan option by substituting the granola and honey for sliced almonds and organic agave.

Piper’s Pro Planning: Since this is one of the best places to eat in Buena Park, you may find a line. To save time waiting in line, visit their website and join their waitlist. While it isn’t a reservation, it will save time waiting in line. They’ll text you when your table is ready.

The exterior of Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant in Buena Park
Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant in Buena Park

Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant

In the mid-1930s, people came from everywhere to enjoy Mrs. Knott’s fried chicken dinner, an American comfort food. They’d often experience a three-hour wait for a table in Mrs. Knott’s restaurant. Hence, Knott’s Berry Farm grew out of creating entertainment to keep guests busy during their long waits for Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant.

Today, located just outside the gates of Knott’s Berry Farm, Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant is still serving those same fried chicken dinners. The restaurant has grown substantially from its original 20 seats to one of California’s largest restaurants.

We opted for the traditional favorite, Mrs. Knott’s famous fried chicken. The three-course dinner starts with your choice of a thick, comforting chicken noodle soup or a cherry rhubarb appetizer. They accompany the first course with all-you-can-eat buttermilk biscuits, butter, and boysenberry jam. A house salad comes with the soup. Then comes the fried chicken with mashed potatoes and country gravy, served with corn. The chicken is moist inside, with a crispy coating on the outside, just like Mrs. Knotts used to make. Another side option is cabbage seasoned with ham. For dessert, enjoy a slice of Boysenberry pie.

Gluten-free and vegan options are also on offer.

Piper’s Pro Planning: Located within the California Marketplace, if you need to wait, you can do some shopping, and they’ll text you when they have your table ready.

Spurs Chophouse at Knott's Berry Farm
Spurs Chophouse at Knott’s Berry Farm

Knott’s Berry Farm Restaurants

Knott’s Berry Farm offers dozens of rides, shows, and attractions in four themed areas. You can experience world-class thrills like the Silver Bullet, California’s largest inverted coaster. Join the Bear-y tale, and jelly blast your way through the Country Fair in an interactive 4-D adventure. Defy gravity at a 96-degree drop on HangTime, California’s first dive coaster. Then, hop on the renovated Ghost Rider, the West Coast’s longest, fastest wooden roller coaster.

If you spend the day at Knott’s Berry Farm, you’ll need sustenance to keep you going through all those experiences. The Ghost Town Grill offers table service in a Western-themed setting. They have both indoor and outdoor patio seating. I prefer a served meal to standing in line for my main meal. The options include soup, salads, sandwiches, and full entrees like salmon and fried chicken.

Since this is Knott’s Berry Farm, where they invented Boysenberries, I had to have a slice of Boysenberry pie and a scoop of Boysenberry ice cream for dessert. The Sarsaparilla float is another fun dessert you won’t find anywhere else in the park.

Ask your server if you need gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian options.

Other dining options at Knott’s Berry Farm include—Baja Taqueria, Boardwalk BBQ, Casa California Restaurante, Chicken-to-Go, Coasters Diner, Fireman’s BBQ, Grizzly Creek Lodge, Johnny Rockets, Longboard’s Grill, Miner’s Mac & Spuds, Papas Mexicanas, Spurs Chophouse, Wilderness Dogs and Drinks, several pizza options, and numerous snack shops.

Piper’s Pro Planning: At the Ghost Town Grill, get in line for lunch about 20 minutes before they open so you can grab a seat during their first seating. Otherwise, you may have quite a wait.

Carrot Cake at Porto's in Buena Park
Carrot Cake at Porto’s in Buena Park

Porto’s Bakery & Café

While you’ll find several regional locations, I visited the Buena Park location on Beach Boulevard. Yelp voted Porto’s Bakery & Cafe the #1 Restaurant. The family-owned business still uses many of the original recipes Rosa brought from Cuba in 1963.

At Porto’s, they’re known for their signature potato balls. Fried like a traditional croquette but stuffed with various fillings, these exceeded my expectations.

Black Bean Soup at Porto's
Black Bean Soup at Porto’s

I love black bean soup; their version was thicker, and a slice of bread accompanied it. Request it without the cotija cheese for a vegetarian option.

The ham and cheese croissants are perfect for breakfast, while for lunch, try the ham and cheese croissant sandwich. The sandwich is bigger and includes lettuce and tomato. They make their traditional croissants with European-style butter.

For more details on Porto’s Bakery & Cafe, check out my dedicated article here.

But the menu isn’t all bakery items and savory sandwiches. If you like arroz con pollo, try the plato de pollo, a grilled citrus chicken breast. The chicken is skin-on, marinated, grilled, and flavorful, served with cilantro salsa. The salsa combines herbs, citrus, crushed red pepper, and a bit of avocado. They serve the dish with Cuban-style black beans, jasmine rice, and maduros—sweet fried plantains.

Porto’s Cuban roots result in many Cuban-inspired items on the menu. Cakes like tres leches, dulce de leche, and Rosa Porto’s pineapple Cuban cake. Another Cuban option is the guava strudels. But this famous bakery also has many baked goods from other regions.

Piper’s Pro Planning: Don’t worry about a long line. The employees know how to manage the line to move quickly.

Black Cauldron Martini at the Cauldron in Buena Park
Black Cauldron Martini at the Cauldron in Buena Park

The Cauldron Spirits & Bar

The Cauldron Spirits & Bar sits on Beach Boulevard. The 17th-century, witch-themed bar named Best Neighborhood Bar conjures up an evening of delicious drinks and pub-style bites. You’ll be transported back to a French-inspired pub adorned with antique furniture, a spell-binding cauldron spirit, and secrets hidden around every corner.

For a light meal to go with their witch’s brew, try the Croque Monsieur sliders and wicked frites. The sliders came three to an order, with sliced ham and smoked Gruyère cheese served on Hawaiian rolls, topped with a garlic mustard Mornay sauce, with strawberry puree for dipping. You’ll have several add-on options for the thick-cut fries, including bacon jam, mustard Mornay sauce, Cajun seasoning, and garlic Parmesan butter.

The menu features a variety of French favorites, like beef bourguignon, French onion soup, crepes, and escargot.

One spooky cocktail was the black cauldron martini, which features vodka, Kahlua, and cold-press coffee.

Piper’s Pro Planning: They have one private lot that may fill up quickly on busy nights. I suggest carpooling or using a Ride Share option to avoid parking headaches. The parking lot entrance is off Paloma Avenue.

Ribeye Steak at Gaucho Grill in Buena Park
Ribeye Steak at Gaucho Grill in Buena Park

Gaucho Grill, One of the Best Places to Eat in Buena Park

Gaucho Grill, located on Orangethorpe Avenue, reminds me of my six months in Argentina. This steakhouse features a twist on traditional with Argentinean flavors. The way the menu reminded me of my time in Argentina was a pleasant surprise. Gaucho Grill is a great place for a nice dinner.

They offer a variety of choices in their empanadas. An appetizer plate has three empanadas, which you could cut in half for a table of six if you have a multi-course meal. They’re larger than the empanadas I often had in Argentina.

Our main course was the tomahawk ribeye, a stunning bone-in steak perfect for sharing. We accompanied the grass-fed Argentinian-style steak with chopped salad, creamed corn, and au gratin potatoes.

Piper’s Pro Planning: They serve some sides family style so take care that you aren’t over-ordering, or if you’re traveling, you have a way to refrigerate leftovers.

Beach Boulevard Club
Inside the Beach Boulevard Club Before the Show Begins

Beach Boulevard Club

Beach Boulevard Club is an over 21 hot spot featuring dueling pianos, elegant cocktails, and delicious bites. As you enter this classy cocktail lounge, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to the Prohibition days of the 1920s. They offer a complete menu with a full-service cash bar that includes a variety of drinks. The focus here is the entertainment and cocktails over the food.

Our group had a great time with the dueling piano bar. While this was the first time I’d participated in this type of entertainment, I’d heard of the concept. They took requests and solicited a high degree of audience participation.

Piper’s Pro Planning: Plan to arrive one hour before showtime. Be sure to have cash on hand for tipping requests.

Il Fiora a restaurant at the Source OC
Il Fiora a restaurant at the Source OC

Foodie Tour of the Source OC

Take a self-made Foodie Tour at the Source OC on Beach Blvd. As Southern California’s newest entertainment venue, they offer a unique, innovative dining and entertainment experience. A prime foodie destination, they also feature many Korean street foods with bold flavors throughout the mall. Some Korean favorites in the OC Source are— Myungrang Hot Dog, M Korean BBQ, Gangnam House, and DPot. Take time to sample a few and find your favorite.

Ramen & Tsukemen TAO

Chef-owner Toshimasa Sano of Ramen & Tsukemen TAO has accolades from many. Food critic, the late Jonathan Gold from the Los Angeles Times called him “the king of tonkotsu sister restaurant in Los Angeles.” The Michelin Guide awarded his 20-seat ramen restaurant the Bib Gourmand rating, referencing its “soul-stirring comfort food, made with passion and dedication.”

Sano trained in Tokyo, and his restaurant specializes in miso ramen and tsudemen. He serves white miso ramen, which originated in Hokkaido, Japan, and red miso ramen, a popular dish in Tokyo. What’s unique about his Japanese ramen is that the broth takes 40 hours to make, resulting in an intense broth. The chef then pairs it with fresh Kobayashi Seimen noodles from Hokkaido.

Izakaya Ichie is another Japanese favorite located within the Source OC.

Basilur Tea & Coffee
Basilur Tea & Coffee

Basilur Coffee & Tea

You’ll want to go to Basilur Coffee & Tea for their tea and coffee. They’re known worldwide for their beverages. While you’re there, sample some of their homemade dishes and pastries. While I’m a ham and cheese croissants fan, I had to pass on them here in favor of the soufflé pancakes. They are light, fluffy pancakes with hand-whipped cream, fresh fruit, and maple syrup.

Piper’s Pro Planning: Basilur Coffee & Tea makes the perfect first stop for a weekend brunch and your morning caffeine hit.

Kitakata Ramen Ban Nai

While not within the Source OC, located on Orangethorpe Avenue, Kitakata Ramen Ban Nai is a Korean restaurant you won’t want to miss. They have one of Japan’s top three local ramen styles. Kitakata ramen features hand-crumpled noodles, selected pork bones that make a light, flavorful broth, and Chashu pork slow-simmered in imported soy sauce.

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Amy Piper
Amy Piper

While Piper is a lifelong Michigander, she’s had adventures worldwide. Bomb-sniffing dogs chased her in the middle of the night in Bogota (working late), gate agents refused her boarding to Paraguay (wrong visa), and US Marshals announced her seat number on a plane while looking for a murder suspect (she’d traded seats). It’s always an adventure! She even finds exciting activities in her home state of Michigan, where she lives in Lansing with her husband, Ross Dingman, her daughter, Alexis, and two granddaughters.

BOOK YOUR TRIP

Let’s get something on the calendar! Here are some of Piper’s Pro Planning links to help you book your trip.

Plan your flight and book your airline ticket with these links:

Plan your overnight accommodations anywhere from national chains to private homes with:

Plan to save on all of your activities, from tours to attractions. These links will help:

Visit my resources page for more planning help.

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Welcome to Follow the Piper! Discover interesting destinations, and practical planning tips for packing more travel into your everyday life.

Our founder and author, Amy Piper, is a freelance travel writer, blogger, photographer, and author specializing in luxury and multi-generational travel. She is a native Michigander who travels through the lens of a food lover and has been to 41 countries and 45 states.

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