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OC Specific -West Costa Mesa 19th St. Recs

I will be moving my office to West Costa Mesa and about 1/2 mile from 19th St. I live in West Newport so I am very familiar with the area. I love great mexican food and often eat in the area. I will no doubt be eating lunch way more often in West Costa Mesa.

I am looking specifically for recs on 19th Street. It is filled with Mexican eateries yet I always find myself going to El Toro Bravo. I have also been to Costa Brava where I like the ceviche and Taco Mesa specifically for the blackened calamari tacos. I have also been to Sushi Shibucho.

Please help me expand my experience.

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    1. re: elmomonster

      Yes I have and I like it very much. I guess I should open suggestions to places nearby on Habor Blvd and 17th street as well, but I think I have tried just about everything on 17th Street.

      I saw that there is a pretty recent opening of another El Salvadorian place near on 19th and Harbor next to where the short lived cupcake place called Dolcissimo used to be. Have you tried it?

      1. re: cdmedici

        El Chinaco...serves pupusas too. Not as hole in the wallish. I think the pupusas are good, I don't remember is there is much difference with Pupuseria San Sivar. They have a salsa bar so you have to get your sauce from there for the pupusas.

        1. re: groover808

          YES! That is the one I was thinking of. I will be sure to check that out. Any pupusas really stand out?

          1. re: cdmedici

            I think I had a zucchini and cheese one or it was some type of specialty vegetable...tasty. Their standard meat ones are good too. The cheese is like molten lava.

          2. re: groover808

            I am addicted to the revuelta (pork and cheese) and calabasa (zuchini) pupusas at El Chinaco. The cabbage slaw that comes with it is awesome too. I like their spicy salsa and tomatillo salsa the best, not a fan of the smoky one.

      2. i lived at 19th and monrovia for a few years - we used to go to a mexican place on the corner that was pretty good (i have no idea what the name was, but it's in a parking lot and is the only restaurant on the corner). my other favs on 17th were picnics, super pollo, and avanti. the deli next to kean also had some pretty good options for a quick lunch

        1. Try the panaderia in the same strip mall as El Toro Bravo. It's a couple doors down from the ETB grocery store. The breads aren't that great, but the tacos al pastor can be decent when they're reasonably fresh. Generally, ETB's tacos are the better bet, but since you're in the nabe, give it a shot.

          Have you tried the fish tacos at El Granjenal? Great grilled fish tacos, IMO.

          You have the TK Burger there too. Tried that?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Professor Salt

            I usually go to the panaderia in the same shopping center as El Metate. Thanks for the tip. I can't believe they also sell tacos al pastor!

            I have never been to El Granjenal. That will be on my list as well. I am sucker for fried fish tacos like at Los Cotijas in Tustin that now be too far to go for a quick lunch. I guess I will be eating healthier fish tacos very soon.

            I go to TK on the peninsula all of the time. Is the one on 19th street pretty much the same menu and quality?

            1. re: cdmedici

              TK on 19th is pretty much the same food. The scenery is prolly better at the peninsula store.

              El Granjenal's grilled fish tacos are a different beast than the fried ones at La Cotija. I vastly prefer Granjenal's. Also ask for the salsa verde. I get a house made agua de naranja with that. Since your tastes and mine align on El Toro Bravo, you might also like my Granjenal picks.

              Also, I don't want to inflate the al pastor at that panaderia beyond what it is. It's definitely not best of breed, just an option for you to try since you're going to be in that neighborhood every day.

          2. Mi Casa on 17th street is pretty good too.

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            Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant & Bar
            296 E 17th St, Costa Mesa, CA 92627

            1. There's also Jugos Acapulco. I like their birria, when they have it.

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              Jugos Acapulco
              745 W 19th St, Costa Mesa, CA 92627

              1. I love BC Broiler myself... on Newport and 18th.

                7 Replies
                  1. re: cdmedici

                    Chicken... you know, a quarter white or whatever you prefer.

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                      No offense to DU, but I think the rotisserie chicken at El Toro Bravo is much better flavored, and juicier. There's also the garlic-heavy Super Pollo, which I also like better than BC Broiler. Perhaps a chicken-off is called for?

                      1. re: Professor Salt

                        I have only had the chicken at Super Pollo which is delicious. I have surprisingly never had the chicken at El Toro Bravo. I usually get the carnitas or lengua their. I

                        I think a chicken-off might be called for :-)

                        1. re: cdmedici

                          Get the chicken at ETB when there's a big pile of them in the steam table. That's when you can tell they're fresh out of the rotiss.

                          With forewarning: on Fridays, they run a very popular whole chicken special. So they don't sell chicken tacos on Fridays because they don't wabt to shred the whole chickens or something. If you didn't understand the bigger picture beforehand, you'd be all "why can't you make me a chicken taco? There's a huge pile of whole chickens right there?" especially if you no habla the spanglish.

                          1. re: Professor Salt

                            I gotchya. Yes...this place can be a bit intimidating if you don't know the system. Not quite like the soup nazi, but I sure felt that way the first time I walked in there many years ago. I do not speak spanish and it was pretty obvious to the employees that I was a ETB rookie. When I got to the counter the guys asked (with a huge grin on his face) if I wanted any ketchup with my order :-).

                        2. re: Professor Salt

                          I'm with DU on this one - I do prefer the chicken at BC Broiler to either Super Pollo or ETB - but I have noticed that sometimes they're burning hard wood, other times it's gas in the oven - I would just be vigilant.