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Dec 13, 2011 06:40 PM

Mexican in Orange County

Hey - another request, I'm coming home for christmas

I'm looking for some good Mexican recs preferably in Costa Mesa, Santa Ana, Tustin type area since I'll be back at home in newport, so i want to take my gf to some great mexican and I'm not totally up to speed with the best anymore

I'm up for any type of mexican, anything would be great! Thanks!

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  1. I like Taco Rosa, though it may no be 100% traditional. The one in Irvine is right across from the Tustin Marketplace in the Irvine Marketplace.

    If you want hole in the wall places, Los Cotijas in Tustin makes great fish tacos (it is in the shopping center at 1st and Newport, back by the auto supply store.

    Carnitos Los Reyes on Tustin in Orange is another hole in the wall. I don't eat them, but my friends love the chicherones. I prefer the lengua and the carne asada.

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

    Taco Rosa
    13792 Jamboree Rd, Irvine, CA 92602

    Carnitas Los Reyes
    273 S Tustin St, Orange, CA 92866

    3 Replies
    1. re: ocshooter

      ah thanks, never heard of carnitos los reyes

      1. re: Lau

        They have the best refried beans in the world. Seriously. The chicharon and lengua are great.

    2. Whenever my wife and I make the drive to Costa Mesa, our Mexican joint of choice is Super Pollo!

      The sides (rice, beans, salsa, guac) are only slightly above average, but you go for the chicken slathered in garlic butter -- the sum is greater than the parts.

      P.S. I *always* hit Hi-Time afterwards...

      Super Pollo
      1731 Superior Ave, Costa Mesa, CA

      Hi-Time Wine Cellars
      250 Ogle St, Costa Mesa, CA

      16 Replies
      1. re: Joe Blowe

        haha i love super pollo, been eating there since high school....used to go there like once a weekend

        1. re: Lau

          Don't tell me you used to go to Hi-Time after class! ;-P

        2. re: Joe Blowe

          Don't know about most of the food rec's but a big +1 for Hi-Time Wine Cellars! Wonderful for rare, hard to find craft beer.

          Hi-Time Wine Cellars
          250 Ogle St, Costa Mesa, CA

          1. re: sel

            haha yah im very familiar with hi-times, i grew up in newport and that place has been a staple for as long as i can remember

          2. re: Joe Blowe

            Much better than Super Pollo is Juan Pollo off Bristol and the 22.

            One of our long time favorites for the ambiance is Moreno's on Chapman Ave not far from El Modena High School. Very cool patio and they have mariachis sometimes. Not the best Mexican food in OC, but good and the atmosphere is a major plus.

            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. El Moctezuma Restaurant and Mariscos Los Primos are two others to check out.

            In Orange, Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen, it is more upscale, foodie Mexican food than hole-in-the-wall Mexican food and also Ostioneria Bahia Mexican Seafood #1 & #2, these aren't quite hole in the walls either, but great, great food. Mariscos Puerto Esperanza is another good place in Orange and more down market.

            1. re: scottca075

              I went to Moreno's once. I would rather eat nothing but El Torito than go there again. And I like kitchy Mexican, Ernie's in the San Fernando Valley is a long time favorite.

              1. re: ocshooter

                Is Ernies related to the one that used to be in Pasadena on Colorado? Loved that place since I was a kid (40 years ago..scary) but it is long gone.

                1. re: sayrob

                  I think so, but Pasadena was an Ernie Jr's I think. I lived in Pasadena while it was still there, but the places we went to were Manana's (now gone) and La Fiesta Grande. For college students, the all you can eat fajita plates were too good a bargain to pass up. Plus Manana's had huge fishbowl margaritas.

              2. re: scottca075

                ah interesting, a good mexican seafood place would be nice, been a very long time since ive had good mexican seafood

                1. re: Lau

                  Don't go looking for MPE in Orange. RIP quite a while ago. Yet to find a suitable replacement.

                2. re: scottca075

                  Juan Pollo varies, though. The one in West Anaheim is better than the one off Bristol and the 22—the chicken is always so dry. When I need chicken, Mexican-style, I go to King Pollo on La Palma and State College.

                  Ostionería Bahia is a good pick. Mariscos Puerto Esperanza has been closed since June 2010. In its place is an Americanized Mexican place serving crispy tacos. Not bad, but certainly not Mariscos Puerto Esperanza. My current local picks for seafood are Mariscos Mocorito on Katella in Orange and Mariscos Licenciado #2 on La Palma and State College in Anaheim. Do NOT go to Tacos Mocorito in the same plaza as Mariscos Licenciado—ugh.

                  Totally forgot about La Cocina de Mi Abuelita—get the carne en su jugo.

                  And stop for champurrado and pan dulce de anís at Las Tres Princesas on Bristol between Memory/GG Blvd. and the 22. Great little Oaxacan bakery.

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    if u guys had to pick a place for mexican seafood in OC, what would it be?

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                      Sorry to hear about MPE, I don't get to central OC as often as I used to. My last three trips up to Orange I've wound up at Haven all three times because the people I am meeting are all in love with it.

                      I love Juan Pollo so much, I used to drive to the original one on Euclid in Chino to get it before they started expanding.

                3. Trejos in Huntington Beach on a Saturday or Sunday for lunch.

                  Barbacoa and carnitas platter and pork rib stew with cactus.

                  Can't be beat.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Porthos

                    oh yah, u told me that before...may have to try!

                  2. OC Weekly fairly recently did a 10 best tacos spot article.

                    Might help with what you are looking for.


                    Of the list I have been to Taqueria Zamora and Alibrije's (this is a semi-permanent food truck and not a restaurant). Both places make their tacos with handmade tortillas.

                    3 Replies
                      1. re: TNT Adventures

                        Thanks for posting that oc link.

                        The Trompa taco place sounds great!

                        1. re: burntwater

                          Not the most appetizing picture, but I am sure it's delicious!!

                      2. El Rincón Chilango (17th east of Bristol)
                        Birrieria El Chivo de Oro (Flower and 1st)
                        Amorelia Cafe (Harbor and Wilson, CM)
                        El Borrego Sagrado (Main St south of McFadden)
                        El Moctezuma (Harbor and Lampson, GG)
                        Alebrije's (Cubbon east of South Main) - truck
                        Tacos Ruben (Walnut just east of South Main) - truck
                        Tortas Ahogadas Los Primos (5th east of Fairview) - truck

                        But honestly, go just a li-i-ittle bit north and have chilaquiles at Anepalco's in Orange. It's just a few meters north of Santa Ana and... god, the chilaquiles!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                          ah great list! thanks and yes i could do orange, i just said those areas b/c i didn't want stuff way further inland like anaheim etc