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Mar 31, 2007 03:59 PM

Irvine - Taco Rosa

Tried the new Taco Rosa in Irvine last night. Having heard so much about Taco Mesa (the team behind Taco Rosa) I was excited to finally taste what all the hype was about. After a 40 minute wait, we were seated and immediately given a complementary platter with a bean, lettuce, crumbled cheese and tortilla "torta" (not sure that's what it's called), escabeche and a little fried roll that I honestly couldn't identify by look or flavor. The carrots in the escabeche were firey hot, and unfortunately we didn't see our waiter or any water for 20 more minutes. Service is their main problem, we ordered an appetizer to share, and then dinner. All came out at once after a LONG LONG wait. First the bad news - the Carne Asada Taco was horrible. I've never had meat as flavorless as this, plus it was lukewarm on top of that. Now the good news, after the interminable wait, the portobello mushroom quesadilla (served on a whole wheat tortilla) was delicious. As was the blackened chicken burritto. My date ordered shrimp salad which was tasty and interesting. I liked the decor, it's upscale and modern yet has a subtle mexican sensibility to it. Taco Rosa is very close by, so I may give it another chance and hope that they fix the major service issues, but I certainly won't order Carne Asada again.

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  1. So it's open. What's the address of the Irvine location? I've only been to the one in Newport Beach. I will tell my friends in OC-- I'm sure they'll be happy to know that there's another Taco Rosa in the neighborhood.

    Had Taco Mesa today for dinner-- good, as always. :)

    3 Replies
    1. re: katkoupai

      Its in the Irvine Marketplace on Jamboree.

        1. re: katkoupai

          Taco Rosa is sort of a strange place in that you have to go at least three separate times ordering something entirely different each time before you make a judgment on it. I'm not saying it's going to be bad the first two times then good after that but that you need a couple visits to take it all in. The staff there at the new one is a little befuddled at times but genuinely helpful. I was there yesterday and ordered the sopapillas for dessert. It took unusually long for them to come and the waiter explained that other waiters kept snatching up what should've been my dessert to take to their (the other waiter's) tables. They didn't even charge me for one of the drinks so that was cool, although it's probably the dessert they should've removed the charge for.

    2. i want to try out their sunday brunch buffet.......

      5 Replies
      1. re: brekkie_fan

        This new location will soon serve breakfast every morning. At least that's what their sign said yesterday.

        1. re: ChristianZ


          thanks for the heads up.

          1. re: brekkie_fan

            Just had a second dinner at the Taco Rosa at the Irvine Marketplace location with my husband. Again, the food was excellent, but the service was again scary. The first time we went (last week) there was a tall older gentleman yelling at the wait staff as they went to/from the kitchen. Many members of the wait staff are so scared that when they finally make it to your table to take your order, they are unhappy and not very customer-service oriented. Tonight when we went again, this tall older gentleman is standing between the checkin counter and the small main dining room. He just stands there watching all of the guest eat and stare down tables that are almost finished so that he can turn over the table. I told my husband, the food is great here, but the service is just freaky. Hopefully they'll get their groove together in the next few months, because the service is pretty poor at a very tasy restaurant. We were having a laugh because the tall man kept trying to bring in groups of 2 to sit in this narrow table between two other tables and each time a couple to taken to those tables, they either ask for another table, wait for another table, or sit down and then move over when one of the tables next to them move over. I think they should just make the tables a group of 4 and 2, because no one wants to sit sandwiched so close between two couples - you can't even have a private conversation that way. Well, enjoy the food, but be wary of the service, probably your last bet when thinking of a place to celebrate anything.

            1. re: twechan

              I agree. Scary is a good word. One would think, based upon the service, that they had no idea what running a restaurant was about - that this somehow is an entirely foreign concept

              1. re: OC Mutt

                I think they know food but not service. Had a conversation with one of the owners when I ate there for breakfast (dinner service blew) and he admitted to the adjustment. Food is good but service is their major challenge and they know it.

                I hope they can make the adjustment before they jump the shark.

      2. I have not had bad service to date at the Newport location of Taco Rosa, but this may be because that location is not as crowded. I imagine the new one is having problems because it's way more crowded and in a busier part of OC (i.e. the Tustin/Irvine Marketplace).

        1. New restaurants need a few months to "iron" everything out, including food and service. This location isn't even advertised on their website yet: http://www.tacorosa.com/contact.htm

          1. Went to Taco Rosa last Sunday for breakfast. The staff was very friendly and other than the complimentary churros with chocolate that you get upfront, the food wasn't very good. I had this shredded beef scramble while my husband had the steak and eggs. Both were so bland - we normally don't use much salt in our cooking, but this was ridiculously tasteless. What a disappointment! We should have just gone to Corner Bakery and gotten a Coffee Bean....