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Excellent Authentic Mexican in LAGUNA!

Hi all...was on the LA board long ago, moved to NYC, and now I'm back in OC visiting... but I just had to tell everyone about my favorite little Mexican joint in Laguna Hills named "La Rana". Its the best, most authentic restaurant in the entire area. The best tacos el pastor, pozole, fish tacos, chiliquiles, and more...
Friendly staff too. Don't go expecting ambiance. Just really good, fresh, Mexican food.

27001 Moulton Pkwy (Oso Pkwy)
Laguna Hills, CA 92656
949.643.2899

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  1. Wow, you had me excited for a sec. Laguna Hills is very different from Laguna Beach and about 9 miles away. But if it as good as you say then a trip down the toll road is worth it.

    1. haha its not that far! This is no taco loco or wahoos....;)

      1. LAGUNA... great... oh hills? Not so great. Anyways will try it out in spite of the fact you dissed Taco Loco.

        2 Replies
        1. re: 1000steps

          haha you guys make it seem like laguna beach and hills are sooooo far. if you like authentic mexican then there's really NO WHERE in laguna beach (that i know of) that has it....

          taco loco is good and all. it is what it is...

          1. re: junglekitte

            I was recently pleasantly surprised with the chorizo breakfast burrito at Adolfo's in Laguna Beach. Very tasty and authentic.

        2. The place you want to go to for authentic Mexican food is Taqueria Y Tortelleria El Campion—31921 Camino Capistrano in San Juan Capistrano. English is spoken as a second language. They have all kinds of freshly prepared meats (pastor, carnitas, buche, lengua, etc. They make wonderful tacos and full plates. They have horchada and liquidos such as papaya and mango. Not much atmosphere, not really a restaurant although there is a counter and a few tables. Just good, real, authentic Mexican food. They also have a retail store, carneceria, tortillas and all kinds of Mexcian canned goods. Be prepared to be stuffed after eating lunch there.

          1. None of which withing walking distance of Laguna Beach ;-( Oh well, there's always La Sirena, Taco Loco & Javier's for 'Laguna-style' Mexican...

            1. had a great meal at Las Brisas, I think that's in Laguna Beach? (possibly Niguel?)

              1 Reply
              1. re: jacquelinec

                That was you. I heard that Las Brisas served a couple of good meals last year. :-)

                One should avoid resaturants owned by the El Torito chain.

                The view is awesome though.

              2. I heard Las Brisas is actually better to go for the drink and the view. If I'm at Laguna Beach, which would place would you guys recommend if I want to do MINIMAL TRAVELLING: Javier's or Taco Loco?

                For dinner, I'm more in to the food than the atmosphere. LOVE fish tacos, moles, etc.

                Thanks!

                1 Reply
                1. re: Liquid Sky

                  Totally different. Both excellent in my opinion but Javier's is a sit down place and can be costly - still fun and loud though. Taco loco is a small curbside place that has roughly 10 seats and the best guacamole in the world to put on their blackened mushroom quesadillas.

                  Only go to Las Brisas for sunset cocktails.

                2. Las Brisas has the best view; good for ogling females or males; nice to walk along the path in front. Food was much better than I remember it from previous occasions so they may have upgraded their chef, not cheap but not out of sight. But not the be-all and end-all for Mexican food by any means. Have a drink outside and enjoy the eye candy and the view of the Pacific.

                  1. the point of my post was to mention a truly AUTHENTIC mexican experience. i've been to most of the restaurants previously mentioned and you cannot compare it to La Rana (or probably the one in san clemente, haven't been there though) ....practically like comparing apples and oranges...

                    oh well

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: junglekitte

                      I think we're just more upset after getting all excited after reading your title thinking that it was actually in Laguna (where I'll travel a big 7 miles south tomorrow to stay on the beach for 8 nights) - sorry - will check out your authentico when I'm not paying the big $$ for a house on the beach within walking distance of downtown Laguna...

                      1. re: junglekitte

                        Your tip is appreciated, don't worry :)

                        This just goes to show that Laguna Hills isn't Laguna Beach. Apples and oranges indeed.

                        1. re: junglekitte

                          Calling Laguna Hills "Laguna" is a bit odd, but not odd enough for everyone to hijack this thread into a "Laguna Beach Mexican food" thread.

                          I live a couple miles from La Rana and noticed it recently. I'll try it soon based on your recommendation. What style are the fish tacos? (Breaded fish or grilled?)

                        2. Do they have any good desserts at La Rana?

                          1. i'ved lived in in laguna for 23 years. they are all relatively close. especially since good dining so scarce! i'm willing to drive to laguna beach, laguna hills, aliso viejo, or laguna niguel for something tasty.

                            to each their own.

                            ps. their fish tacos are fried i believe. they also have shrimp.
                            ps2. deserts consist of flan or tres leches (i think) never got them before.