Danube, Old city plaza, 111 West Avenida Palizada,
San Clemente, Phone (949) 218-5186
famousal Spanish colonial plaza in which the
Blue Danube is located dates back to early San
Clemente when Ole Hansen was building his Spanish
Village by the Sea. Originally it was the site
of the jail and fire station. After that followed
a series of restaurants. Then, in 2002, Chris
Toufanpour and his wife Parvin arrived in San
Clemente from Austria via New Jersey. The couple
rescued the by now somewhat dilapidated 8500
square foot site. After two years of amazing
renovation the Blue Danube opened. Decor was
rustic with touches of elegance. But the Toufanpour's
kept renovating. Two more fireplaces were added
along with the beautiful wedding chapel and
a new banquet room. Two jail cells were converted
into unique private dining rooms, a large patio
gained two bars and was enclosed in custom wrought
journey has been like watching a butterfly emerge.
Now the Blue Danube has become quite elegant
with a few rustic touches like the exposed beam
ceiling. And still the metamorphosis continues
unabated. Eight custom stained panels have been
delivered. They are in the style of Viennese
artist Gustov Klimt whose work is featured on
the menu and the wall. They are being installed
along the main entrance facing the plaza.
are many additional interesting touches besides banquet
friendly size and unique decor. Executive Chef Ali
possesses thirty years of experience in Orange County
at such places as the original Newport 17 and Chez
Carrie. The newest staff addition is Neil Wallace
with twenty-one years experience as the food &
beverage manager of the Queen Marry. Chris was a concert
pianist in Austria so the sound system is outstanding
and the musical entertainment from jazz to classical
is always well chosen, of high quality and at the
appropriate volume. There is live entertainment almost
every night. George, the Italian hunk, plays guitar
and croons love songs on Friday and the concert guitarist
Ricardo from Chile dazzles on Saturday. Then there
is the Las Vegas Review and Dinner Mystery Theater.
All this and prices are amazingly low!
continental menu includes Austrian schnitzels, Hungarian
Goulash, French Chicken or veal Cordon Bleu, Duck
a la Orange, Chicken Marsala, Peppersteak and Filet
Mignon. These long time favorites are being expanded
to include more seafood and other entrees.
Blue Danube Cafe next door to the main facility is
newly opened for lunch inside or on the patio. Prices
are also amazingly reasonable, starting at $5.90.
Half a dozen lunch salads range from Chicken Breast
$7.90 to Grilled Salmon $10.90. Soup & Salad combinations
range from $7 to $8. Two of my favorite pasta dishes
are the Blue Danube anytime are Spinach Ravioli with
sundried tomato sauce and Spaghetti Bolonaise $8.90
lunch, $11.90 dinner. Miscellaneous European entrees
include German Bratwurst $7.90 with fries & sauerkraut,
roasted pork loin as Schweinsbraten and Chicken Marsala.
crepes offer a variety of fillings and toppings involving
fresh fruit, hot chocolate, almonds, brandy and fresh
whipped cream. Austrian Iced Coffee involves hot espresso
and rich ice cream topped with whipped cream. For
extra kick, add a splash of your favorite liquor.
wine list contains some interesting European selections
and is reasonably priced with many available by the
glass at $5-$7. Outstanding German beers, some on
draft. Martinis $7. Full bar. Outside patio.
& Murder Dinner theater (prix fixe menu approximately
$59) on alternating Saturday nights is a blast for
a full evening of entertainment. The constantly changing
plot features local professional actors.
Las Vegas Show & Dance Review is scheduled to
open May 12th with three shows nightly on Saturdays
starting at 10:00. Call for reservation details.
weekly dance classes followed by an evening of "clubbing"
commence in April. Open mike night is weekly. Call
for expanding live entertainment schedules. Dancing.
features regular menu & specials. Mother's Day
5 course prix fixe menu. Exit 5 freeway at Palizada
towards the Ocean. Just below Camino Real.
Restaurant Review - THE SAN
Who Put the “POW” In
by Maggie Zeibak
decades America has had a passion for Chinese food.
When the craving strikes, we simply rush out to dine,
or pick up the phone to order take-out. We all have
our favorite dishes and preferences of fried or steamed
rice, but preparation varies from restaurant to restaurant.
Perfecting the art of offering a varied menu of hot,
sizzling dishes is the spacious New Mandarin Garden
tucked away in the Old City Plaza.
Owner, Jack Cheng, bought the restaurant from a friend
19-years-ago, but hadn’t any idea that San Clemente
would grow the way it has. “I didn’t know it was so
nice and I am very lucky to be here. When I first
took over I decided to remodel and paint the place
in softer colors. I changed the menu to reflect a
blending of Cantonese and Szechuan flavors which appeal
more to American tastes. Cantonese cooking is not
spicy and most of my customers like spicy dishes,
so I add hot peppers to create more of a unique Szechuan-region
style. You can spot those dishes on the menu by the
chile pepper drawing next to the item. We’re a family-operated
business and I have nieces, nephews and cousins working
here and my cook, Charlie Chen, has been preparing
meals for over 18 years. Often, we cater corporate
parties, sometimes for over 100 people – just tell
us what you’d like.”
Lunch time is a bustling time with workers from neighboring
businesses and the nuclear power plant, coming to
dine in a limited amount of time. Almost immediately
upon sitting down, a pot of hot tea is served and
in no time at all, a cup of steaming Hot and Sour
Soup, guaranteed to wake up those sluggish taste buds.
After that generous serving, you’re not so ravenous
any more – but wait – there’s another plentiful portion
coming your way. Served on blue and white oval plates
your entrée arrives piping hot straight from the kitchen.
This is when you don your eyeglasses to identify the
peppers hiding in the mound. If you’ve ordered a spicy
dish – they can be hot, so deftly push them to one
side with your chopsticks or you’ll be experiencing
the ‘pow’ in Kung Pao.
dishes include Orange Chicken or Beef, crispy meats
smothered and cooked in a tasty sauce that encourages
you to take bite after bite and leave nothing to take
home. The Chow Mein (it means “soft noodle”) isn’t
spicy and you can choose between beef, shrimp, chicken,
pork or vegetable and only spend $8 or less. Now that’s
a lunch time bargain to chow down. Be sure to check
the specials on the board at the entrance of the restaurant
– these are Mandarin Garden’s special dishes and include
Sizzling Scallops and Beef ($14.95) and tasty Sesame
There is a Health Menu featuring choices for vegetarians
and assuring us that these items are Low Fat, Low
Sugar, Low Salt and No MSG added. As we become increasingly
more aware of what we put into our mouths, this is
a menu selection we should check out first.
Is anyone in the mood for a plate of crunchy steamed
vegetables accompanied by your choice of a Hot Garlic
or Ginger Dipping Sauce?
Reminding us not to miss the ($12.95) Sunday Champagne
Brunch, Canton-born Cheng mentioned that Family Style
dinners are also available starting at $14.95 – it
looks like a whole lot of food, but great if you have
a tribe of teenagers to feed. That’s the best part
about Chinese food, with such a variety, there’s something
He also said, “Next time you come in, try the Honey
Walnut Shrimp. We make it a little different from
everyone else, as I like to have subtle lemon undertones,
rather than the shrimp being overpowered by honey.
Once you’ve tried this dish you’ll order it again
and again. That’s why whenever I say goodbye to my
regular customers I always say ‘See you tomorrow’
as I know that they will come back and I will be pleased
to see them.”
Garlic features prominently in some dishes – welcomed
by some, shunned by others. Change the taste by chomping
down on your obligatory fortune cookie (did you get
a good fortune?) or help yourself to the complimentary
mints. Either way, you’re going to leave the restaurant
Much of the Chinese New Year celebrations revolve
around food and giving children the traditional red
envelope containing money. Everyone at the restaurant
wishes San Clemente “Gung Hay Fat Choy” (Happy Chinese
New Year) and if you want to know who put the “Pow”
in Kung Pao – well, Jack did, of course. b New Mandarin
Adele's Hollywood Cafe HAS BEEN
DESIGNATED THE BEST Breakfast in San Clemente
BEST Breakfast in San Clemente can be found at
Adele's Cafe. Adele Lux, was born and raised in
San Clemente and spent 20 years as a waitress
in local establishments. She saved her money and
in July of 1998 she accomplished her dream of
establishing Adele's Cafe. It didn't take long
for "Adele's" to become a local's favorite for
both breakfast and lunch. Adele's Cafe is located
in Old City Plaza, the site of the original San
Clemente jail house. As Adele says, "We're only
hard to find the first time." Once you try any
of Adele's breakfast specials, you will go back
again and again. The next time you want a great
breakfast accompanied by great service and a very
pleasant and friendly environment, head for Adele's
and find out for yourself why Adele's Cafe has
been designated the BEST Breakfast in San Clemente.
Breakfast Hot Spots
Christina Scannapiego San Clemente Times
Clemente is home to some great morning eateries.
Here are 15 favorites...
Lux likes to hug. In fact, free hugs are actually
prizes on her Web site that customers can print
out and present at Adele’s Café to collect on.
This type of friendliness isn’t just a marketing
gimmick to gain patrons, though; there’s a real
intensity and excitement in her eyes that says
she really wants to hug. Born and raised in
San Clemente, Adele worked for 20 years as a
waitress all over in town, namely Sunrise Café.
Two decades is a long time to collect a good
customer base and put a chunk of money away—which
is what she did.
“People wouldn’t say ‘Hey, Adele, have you ever
thought of opening a restaurant?’ Adele recalls.
They would say, “When are you opening a restaurant?’”
in 1998, she gave herself a year to meet her goal.
“The first restaurant I saw, I thought, This is the
one I want. I didn’t get it.” Fifteen potential restaurants
later, Adele opened the doors in July of 1998 with
$2,000 in the bank. “Some people would call that financial
suicide. But I could live with failure—I just couldn’t
live with ‘What if?’” Without advertising dollars,
Adele took the grassroots approach: with enough food
to feed about eight along with a menu and a business
card, she went straight to the bank, the gas station
and the grocery store to wrangle her first customers.
“I get business from those people to this day,” she
says. According to Adele, her many regulars often
tell her, “Adele, this isn’t your restaurant—it’s
your kitchen.” She says that since she opened, she
hasn’t lost a dollar, which she attributes to her
passion. “I don’t have to come to work,” she says.
“I get to come to work.”
Adele is definitely a unique character, her story
isn’t necessarily one of a kind. Behind all of the
breakfast spots in town are people who took chances
on their restaurants and have pride in the quality
and labor they’ve put into them—be it a longtime dream
or chance opportunity. The following is a sampling
of San Clemente’s favorite local spots (not including
chain restaurants such as IHOP, Denny’s, Bakers Square
and Carrows) whose owners have built a place for residents
and visitors alike to spend their mornings.
Café 111 Avenida Palizada, Suite C, 949.366.1121,
Breakfast served: 6 a.m.–2 p.m. “I wanted to create
a place where you could come in and be by yourself
and, in a few moments, you’d be joined in the conversation
around the room,” says Adele Lux of her restaurant
located in the Old City Plaza. Her café is bright
with an unintentional retro vibe and huge outdoor
patio. Her blueberry pancakes, omelettes and hash
browns are must-haves.
MOZ Dining Guide
THIS PLACE! I have been eating here for the last year
and I have to say...I have yet to have ANYTHING I
don't like! The food is awesome, the service is wonderful
and the climate is great! I highly recommend this
place to anyone. [28 Feb 2006 20:10:05]
Recommended Dishes: All breakfast plates...or burgers...or
salads... Matt vog2000 at hotmail dot com
Restaurant Review: Los Patios
by Christina Scannapiego San Clemente Times
1/2 Stars LOS PATIOS
W. Avenida Palizada, 949.492.0162
Los Patios, located in the Old
City Plaza near Adele’s Café, has always been
a Mexican restaurant of some kind. But when
Carlos Frutos took over the spot in 2003, he
revamped the entire place. What some used to
describe as “Mexican take-out” became completely
renovated, redecorated and doubled in size.
Now, the family-run business offers extensive
inside dining-room seating as well as outdoor
patio seating and caters receptions and events.
Dollar Tacos are the special all day on Tuesdays,
and Thursdays offer $1 enchiladas all day. Regulars
stand by their seafood dishes like Alida’s Favorite:
chicken breast and shrimp with a garlic chipotle
sauce, rice and veggies. Portions are huge—and
that includes the margaritas. Breakfast burritos
and huevos rancheros are popular among the morning
crowd. And interestingly enough, lunch guests
can even find a Philly cheese-steak sandwich
with jalapenos. A live acoustic guitarist plays
every Thursday night.
our reviews: We don’t claim to be expert food
critics, so instead of faking it for a free meal,
we ask five real customers about their dining experience,
then share that with you. All of our reviews are unannounced
and unbiased. This information is intended to be useful
and is obviously not scientific. Five stars is the
maximum score available.