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Sep 18, 2007 03:11 PM

Coming to Irvine. Need tacos.

Hello Westcoasters,

How is everyone doing? I am coming out to LA next week for some work and I am dire need of a real taco. An authentic taco (you know, order in spanish, no gringos, stove may be in a vehicle). I used to live in Phoenix and there were great taquerias all over the place. Here in the DC area there is a very small Mexican population and it takes a lot of work to get to an authentic taco. Anyway, I am staying near John Wayne airport. I know Irvine is the opposite of authentic mexican cooking, but can I get to it quickly or relatively quickly?

Thanks a lot!!

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  1. Your in luck! Santa Ana is only a few minutes away and has a great abundance of authentic Mexican food. You can find some great taquieras there. I can't think of any specific names, but I know that other hounders will provide some good stuff. This link may help:

    1. None really in Irvine. Nothing really near the John Wayne airport, which is mostly chains. Taleo Mexican Grill is more upscale and has really good quality food. Haven't ordered the tacos there, so not sure if it fits the bill as authentic.

      I tend to prefer the gringo-ized hard-shell tacos, but haven't really found one that I've fallen in love with and order all the time. SuperMex fits my gringo taco cravings.

      Your best bet is likely in Santa Ana. Unfortunately, I don't frequent the restaurants in that area enough to recommend the best places. I've heard Taqueria de Anda mentioned a few times, but haven't been there yet to verify how good it is.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Wonginator

        The Great Taco Hunt blog might be a good resource to read thru, but it does cover LA taquerias more than those in OC. If you have access to a car and want to drive around, it might be worth reading.

        I'm getting hungry just looking at the photos on that website.

      2. Authentic tacos in Irvine....

        If you're staying near John Wayne, you're sorta midway between Santa Ana and Costa Mesa's taquerias. With the traffic patterns around here, you're probably better off heading south to Costa Mesa for your quick taco hit. I got the perfect place for your authentic, nongringo taco fix, too.

        I've written about it till I'm blue in the face, so I'll link you to some past writeups:

        El Toro Bravo Tortilleria
        739 W 19th St, Costa Mesa, CA 92627

        1 Reply
        1. re: Professor Salt

          I love this place. It can be a bit intimidating for first timers. If you go during lunch hour there will be a line, but don't worry it goes fast. I was quite unprepared and overwhelmed the first time and they had a laugh at my expense. When I went to pay, the cashier asked me if I wanted ketchup with my taco.

        2. There are pretty much no tacos worth eating in the city limits of Irvine. Authentic order-in-Spanish taquerias are pretty scarce in the 949 in general. Hie thee to Santa Ana (but be aware it's not the nicest place after dark), Anaheim, or even Costa Mesa.

          1. from John Wayne, you can make it to Taco Bravo on 19th and Placentia. I am usually only gringo girl there. They make their own tortillas, salsa, etc. You know you have it authentic when I am the only one ordering in english!

            1 Reply
            1. re: trahastings

              Hi trahastings,

              What do you recommend there? I've only been once and tried the asada taco (way underseasoned meat), and the carnitas (ditto). Wasn't impressed enough to return, but perhaps I'm missing the good stuff?

              The made to order tortillas are a nice touch, but they tasted like Maseca dough, not ground from nixtamal like El Toro Bravo's (or El Gallo Giro's in Santa Ana).Hot off the griddle is nice, but not enough to overcome the meh fillings I ate that day.

              Hey, we're lucky to have all these options. sekelmaan only wishes he had it this good in DC!