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Best Mexican in Santa Ana?

what's your favorite place?

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    1. El Gallo Giro on Bristol & Edinger always gets solid reviews.

      1. nancy's puebla on 1st street

          1. *bump*

            I've looking for a good (and quick--order at the counter style) stop in between John Wayne Airport and Disneyland...I've read about El Gallo Giro, Taqueria El Triunfo, and the Alebrijes Grill Taco Truck. Thoughts?

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            El Gallo Restaurant
            4421 Las Posas Rd Ste C, Camarillo, CA 93010

            14 Replies
            1. re: christy319

              Try Tacos Neza for barbacoa

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              Tacos Neza
              1320 N Grand Ave, Santa Ana, CA 92701

              1. re: christy319

                Any of the places in Lonchera Lane (that's half a block off either side of Main Street from McFadden to 1st)... though Alebrije's is probably the best choice, or perhaps one of the torta ahogada trucks (or just go to Chago Ahogadas on Main Street). There are good cemitas at La Cemita Poblana. Great birria at El Cabrito on West 1st (they have great salsa de aceite).

                If you're going for lunch, you could get comida corrida (that's three courses, served at once on one tray) at Taqueria La Raza on Warner near Flower. I love their chicharrĂłn en salsa roja and their pork ribs in green sauce, and any of the main dishes will come with either soup or noodles, a basket of four large tortillas hechas a mano, and sometimes rice or beans (or both).

                Honestly, though, one of the best choices for Mexican is closer to Disneyland—El Moctezuma #2 on Harbor and Lampson in Garden Grove. Fantastic Oaxacan food. (They have a Santa Ana location too, and an Orange location, but I think #2 is the best.)

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                Taqueria La Raza
                925 W Warner Ave, Santa Ana, CA 92707

                El Cabrito
                1604 W 1st St, Santa Ana, CA 92703

                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  Thanks! It sounds like I have some good options. It's good to know about El M #2 in case we want to leave Disneyland for dinner, too--I didn't realize there was anything good that close to the park.

                  1. re: christy319

                    There's plenty of good food within 10 minutes' drive of the park. It's a topic that's been covered extensively here, with good reason. In fact I think a thread just went through here a couple of days ago.

                2. re: christy319

                  El triunfo is pretty bad, comparably. El gallo giro is pretty good, but depends on what you order. It had gotten a bit fast foodish in my opinion. In that area das ubergeek mention on main is taqueria sahuayo. Excellent carnitas. Be sure to get it with homemade tortillas.

                  Frankly though, I've been pretty disappointed in the Mexican in Santa Ana since I moved here six months ago. A lot of places, but not many (any?) overacheivers. I need to write a post capturing my notes, but in the meantime I would stick to the recommendation to go to moctezuma on harbor. Or one of the taquerias you find all over in that area of Anaheim.

                  1. re: adamclyde

                    Excuse me. I grew up in Santa Ana and they always had the best Mexican food. Santa Ana is full of MexiCANs, not MexiCAN'Ts. Granted, I can never get my wife to eat tacos there since we end up being so close to Little Saigon and we have to eat Vietnamese food.

                    But I have to stick up for Santa Ana. There used to be a place across from my high school that had the best Carnitas EVER! Ask Gustavo @ OC Weekly. I think he would stand up for Santa Ana too. Anaheim? I've been to some good places, but I <heart> Santa Ana.

                    Gallo Giro is OK. Not my top choice, but there are open 24hrs. And they are open on Xmas!

                    1. re: bsquared2

                      Look, I love Santa Ana. I eat there two to three times a week. But the reason ive been down on the place lately is exactly what you said. Its nearly 100% Mexican so I sort of expect the Mexican food there to be better than it is. Compared to, say Newport Beach, yeah, it's a godsend. But for what it is, i think there is WAY too much mediocrity there. I want to love it more. Also any town lacking a decent al pastor taco falls short of mexican food greatness...

                      1. re: adamclyde

                        To each his or her own, but I much prefer a carnitas taco to an al pastor, I almost never get al pastor.

                        As you mentioned, taqueria sahuayo has a very good carnitas, so Santa Ana has good Mexican to me.

                        1. re: adamclyde

                          And Santa Ana has really good GOAT. And eating goat is real Mexican (or Vietnamese)! I read that Goat is the new bacon too!

                          1. re: bsquared2

                            Yes, el cabrito is good. still doesn't excuse the 99% of mediocre places. Again I'm not bashing Santa Ana, I just think it should have a lot more than it does, that's all.

                            1. re: adamclyde

                              Considering how many mexican restaurants Santa Ana has, I"m sure there are a few mediocre places. 99%? I think that is just wrong.

                              Rather than focusing on these "hundreds" or perhaps "thousands" of mediocre places, I would love to get everybody's Santa Ana favs for :

                              Carnitas
                              Al Pastor
                              Mariscos

                              I"m not going to let anybody say that Anaheim is better than Santa Ana! I may have moved from there after high school, but you can take the boy out of Santa Ana, but you can't take Santa Ana out of the boy.

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                              Marisco's
                              718 S San Jacinto Ave, San Jacinto, CA 92583

                          2. re: adamclyde

                            Ah, that's because you haven't found the al pastor at Tacos Ruben. :)

                            1. re: Das Ubergeek

                              OK, do tell, because my friend google is not helping me locate this curious Tacos Ruben of which you speak, and I must know for myself...

                          3. re: bsquared2

                            BTW, el gallo giro always redeems itself with those glorious agua frescas. If they keep those flowing, I'll always be a customer, even with grease soaked gorditas and soulless tamales. :)