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Sit Down Mexican in Santa Ana, or other Orange County cities?

Calvinist Aug 4, 2011 04:52 PM

We'll be staying in Irvine for a week visiting family, the beach and Disneyland. When we lived there 20 years ago we used to eat at a couple of Mexican places in Santa Ana, La Perla and La Costa (La Costa customers at the time were about 95% Spanish-speaking).

Anyone have any sit-down Mexican recommendations? I like the places @ 19th St in Costa Mesa, but they tend more to the taqueria style.


  1. Tapeworm Aug 12, 2011 11:11 AM

    If you're looking for upscale Mexican, there's Taleo in Irvine.

    Taleo Mexican Grill
    3309 Michelson Dr, Irvine, CA 92612

    1 Reply
    1. re: Tapeworm
      Calvinist Sep 20, 2011 11:41 AM

      A little update. When we were down in August we ate at the Taco Rosa in Irvine. Good food, fit the bill after a day at Disneyland. I would go back if the opportunity arose.

      Then I was unexpectedly back down last week, and found a couple of more hole in wall places I really liked.

      First, Taqueria Zamora, 3121 S Main St Santa Ana, CA 92707. Inexpensive, home made tortillas, large portions and a lot of variety. Had a pork dish in red sauce once and a carne asada plate the second time. Beer and wine only. Mostly Hispanic customers, very freindly owner. My wife had camarones. All very good.

      Second was Super Antojitos, 2949 Fairview Rd Costa Mesa, CA 92626. We stopped for lunch, so I only had a chicked tostada, but it was very tasty (and, yes, cheap) and the salsa was nice and hot. I'm guessing it used to be a 50's diner, as it's a lage space and had a couple of counters.

      Taco Rosa
      13792 Jamboree Rd, Irvine, CA 92602

      Taqueria Zamora
      3121 S Main St, Santa Ana, CA 92707

    2. n
      New Trial Aug 11, 2011 03:23 PM

      Sol Cocina is good, a tad upscale, and close to the water.

      Sol Cocina
      251 East Coast Highway, Newport Beach, CA 92663

      1 Reply
      1. re: New Trial
        ocshooter Aug 12, 2011 09:36 AM

        I found Sol to be very good, but ridiculously overpriced.

      2. scottca075 Aug 4, 2011 07:44 PM

        One of our long time favorites for the ambiance is Moreno's on Chapman Ave not far from El Modena High School.

        I assume you are talking about El Matador and Su Casa in Costa Mesa. Love them as old school Sonoran style places.

        For sit down in Santa Ana, maybe Casa Oaxaca, Las Brisas De Apatzingan, La Cocina De Mi Abuelita (weird 50's diner interior, but good food) and El Rincon Chilango for DF style food.

        In Orange, Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen, but this is upscale, foodie Mexican food, not hole-in-the-wall Mexican food and Ostioneria Bahia Mexican Seafood #1 & #2, these aren't quite hole in the walls either, but great, great food.

        Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen
        141 S Glassell St, Orange, CA 92866

        Casa Oaxaca Restaurant
        3317 W 1st St, Santa Ana, CA 92703

        El Matador
        1768 Newport Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92627

        Cocina Restaurant
        4901 Durfee Ave, Pico Rivera, CA 90660

        Ostioneria Bahia Mexican Seafood
        4429 E Chapman Ave, Orange, CA 92869

        Las Brisas De Apatzingan
        1524 S Flower St, Santa Ana, CA 92707

        El Rincon Chilango
        1133 W 17th St, Santa Ana, CA 92706

        3 Replies
        1. re: scottca075
          Calvinist Aug 10, 2011 06:20 PM

          Thanks much - to clarify I meant the West 19th places in Costa Mesa, like Taco Mesa and El Toro Bravo. Your recos were just what I was looking for

          El Toro Bravo
          975 W Foothill Blvd, Azusa, CA 91702

          1. re: Calvinist
            ocshooter Aug 11, 2011 09:04 AM

            If you like Taco Mesa, you should try Taco Rosa, which is the upscale sister. I have only been to the one in Irvine, but if they are all similar, you get quality food, a decent price, and margaritas. For me, a requirement.

            Taco Rosa
            22922 Los Alisos Blvd Ste P, Mission Viejo, CA 92691

            Taco Rosa
            2632 San Miguel Dr, Newport Beach, CA 92660

            Taco Rosa
            13792 Jamboree Rd, Irvine, CA 92602

          2. re: scottca075
            adamclyde Aug 11, 2011 12:04 AM

            Excellent suggestions. It wasn't clear to me from the OP's question whether (s)he was looking for a nicer sit down, or just simply any good mexican where she can sit down. The comment about El Toro Bravo being more taqueria style seems to mean maybe (s)he is looking for a slightly more upscale place?

            So to reiterate your point, the first four you recommend aren't high on decor at all (with El Rincon being the lowest in the ambiance department, and a bit more taqueria style as it focuses a lot on the antojitos). But good food all around. I like La Cocina de mi abuelita's tacos al vapor. Plus, eating tacos next to an Elvis statue is pretty cool. Chilango's quesadillas with huitlacoche are very good. Better than their tortas, I think, which had been previous recommended to me.

            Along the same lines of hole-in-the-wall-but-able-to-sit-down places is El Moctezuma #2 on Harbor Blvd in Garden Grove, just a stone's throw from Disneyland. Not a lot of seating, but pretty good oaxacan food. The tlayuda's I had were really good.

            For more of the nicer-ish sit down, Enrique's in Long Beach is quite good. I realize that's not close to Santa Ana, but you mentioned going to the beach... depending on which beach you go to (seal or even Sunset/HB) it's not too far.

            Cocina Restaurant
            4901 Durfee Ave, Pico Rivera, CA 90660

            El Moctezuma Restaurant
            809 N Fairview St, Santa Ana, CA 92703

            El Rincon
            326 E Palmdale Blvd, Palmdale, CA 93550

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