Mercado - Santa Monica
Mercado - Santa Monica

Mercado - Santa Monica

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.mercadosantamonica.com/
  • Phone: 3105267121x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Monday - Wednesday: 5pm - 10pm, Thursday & Friday: 5pm - 11pm, Saturday: 4pm - 11pm, Sunday: Brunch 10:00am - 3pm, Dinner 4:00pm - 10pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Visa
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Executive Chef: Jose Acevedo
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Beer, Full Bar, Late Night, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies)

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Santa Moinca
  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Parking Details: Parking Structure 5 is closest to the restaurant.
A word from Mercado - Santa Monica
Mercado in Santa Monica is an inventive mix of food, atmosphere and tradition, reflecting the heart & soul of New Mexican dining. The main dining room is an eclectic fusion of modern design, accented with classic touches, that create the ultimate in intimate upscale dining while remaining accessible and comfortable. The menu, created by Chef Jose Acevedo, exemplifies the cuisine and flavor of he and co-owner Jesse Gomez’s deep Mexican roots, featuring items such as Chef Acevedo's signature Carnitas, created from a recipe handed down through generations. With tortillas made by hand, the finest meats, poultry and seafood, flavorful sauces, carefully crafted ceviches, enchiladas and tacos, produce from the local farmers' market, and everything made from the freshest ingredients, Mercado offers handcrafted cuisine, artful design, warm atmosphere and service that is both friendly and informed to guide each guest through the dining experience. We look forward to having you join us soon!
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Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerHot Spot
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMexican
Mercado - Santa Monica reviews from OpenTable diners
101 reviews since July 2, 2014
Overall Rating4.2
  • Food4.3
    Service4.1
  • Ambiance4
    Noise LevelEnergetic
88% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (54)good for groups (36)hot spot (36)neighborhood gem (32)vibrant bar scene (24)great for brunch (16)special occasion (15)great for lunch (10)romantic (5)kid-friendly (4)late-night find (4)notable wine list (1)Show More
  • Kind of a holy grail
    SimplemanVIP
    Dined on 10/23/2014
    Although it was very noisy, the food was so good that I want to go back frequently. I love street-style Mexican food, but I really love unusual and aspirational dishes of high Mexican cuisine. Every dish was splendid. We had a spectacular cauliflower small plate, some pastor tacos, and a corvina dish that was worth the journey, all by itself. Good margaritas, friendly service. It was really a good evening out.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food, the service DISASTER
    Piggy1017
    Dined on 10/21/2014
    This was my second time here and I now know why it took me so long to go back. The SERVICE is lackluster. Everyone is beautiful but there indifference is... Well indifferent. We had to keep asking for the same things over and over again. Very inconsistent margaritas this time as well. My husband loves the carnitas and I will return and get them to go from now on! I would love to recommend this restaurant as I feel it's a great local spot but after this past tues experience on the fence.
    Special Features:
    hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Exciting Menu
    jaow
    Dined on 10/12/2014
    Fun and interesting menu served by a very motivated staff. Wonderful margaritas - blood orange particularly refreshing. Food is yummy but can be over-spiced if one is not used to it. Great vegetables from farmers' market. Seafood good and also generous portions. Meat also very well prepared. Superb tres leches dessert. Must sit upstairs if you want to talk to friends.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • My food finding
    SMfoodiefinder
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    If you're visiting SM or if you haven't been lately, Mercado is one if my favorite neighborhood gems. A split second reservation came through immediately and without wait. Food is def one for the foodies and meat lovers. The need ribs and the carne Asada are a must for reasons of taste, quality and price. The corn is amazing with a hint of spices that goes well with their margaritas! Will def be back again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Appetizing
    Footsie
    Dined on 10/2/2014
    Got in at 6:00 Thursday, restaurant was mostly empty, but was rocking by the time we left at 7:30. This place gets loud, unless you go upstairs. The specialty margaritas (cucumber/jalapeno) are lovely, tamales (carnitas) were exceptional, the vegetable dishes (elote, rajas) vibrate. Go for the Dos Gringas tacos. We never get as far as the big plates.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Upscale Mexican go-to spot
    onehungrygirlVIP
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    Loved each course of our meal; I'd recommend this over most of the places found in the higher foot-traffic areas.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Food Slow Drinks
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    Food was great as always. Drinks were very slow to get (at the bar and our table)... seemed like a new bartender was in training.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Amazing Food
    socaldaniel
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    I'm pretty critical when it comes to Mexican food and my date isn't really a big fan of it at all. BUT we were both blown away by the food here. Do yourself a favor and get an order or two of the Dos Gringas small plate.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great food and drinks!
    jensingoVIP
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    Try the corn - oh my goodness is it fantastic. The food was delicious - had the enchiladas with mole sauce. Definitely would have it again. Service and energy was lively and fun!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great fun!
    philwupdxVIP
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    My partner and I shared several "small" plates from the regular and happy hour menus that were just perfect for an early dinner. I could eat a gallon of the guacamole! Combine with great drinks and fabulous service, Mercado is a must return!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Our First Brunch at Mercado
    Wickedwitch2
    Dined on 9/7/2014
    I've dined at Mercado several times for dinner, but this was my first time for brunch. Everyone in our party was very pleased with our meals. The guacamole and very fresh chips always are a treat. I had to take a picture of my Farmers' Market Chile Relleno because it was so beautifully displayed on the plate. Delicious, too. Best of all, although we all were pretty full, we couldn't pass up the flan. And nobody does flan as well as Mercado!!! (I could say the same for carnitas!!) Mercado and Yxta simply never fail to please.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, hot spot, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fantastic Authentic Mexican
    Fantastic
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    Very good food with a nice wait staff. Happy hour is pretty good, but could use more selection.
    Special Features:
    hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Traditional Mexican with a twist
    Mexicanfoodlover
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    Really good food but upstairs dining area is awful, it's hot and cramped. Nice bar and great drinks.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Unassuming but great find
    Mema
    Dined on 8/28/2014
    We were looking for Mexican food and wanted something new and different. This was a great find. My only suggestion is if you do not like spicy food, get all the sauces on the side since my level of spicy is very different then the restaurants. I am pretty whimpy when it comes to spicy and the waitress said that the spice level was not that high. After my mouth was burning, I realized that that I should have had the sauces on the side so I could evaluate it for myself.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great for group hangout
    Vee2dine
    Dined on 8/25/2014
    Love the place and will come back. Food was amazing and in the right portion. Service was very welcoming and warm. Ambience supports group and couple dining or just hanging out.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 8/24/2014
    Really enjoyed dinner! Great food, lot's of fun & festive vibe.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • guest
    guest
    Dined on 8/24/2014
    adventurous tastes well served, polite & competent wait staff, high noise level
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Review
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 8/24/2014
    Extremely!!!!! noisy. Non-comfortable seats at the table. House Margaritas with basically no Tequilla. What more can I say? Oh, very sloppy presentation with the pork sandwich...not able to pick it up off the plate to eat without a mess. We were big fans of La Serenata...this doesn't cut it.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • lovefood
    Dined on 8/24/2014
    I tried it because I had a BBE coupon but I wouldn't go back. Can get better cheaper latino food elsewhere.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Love this place
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/24/2014
    I have been here for both dinner and brunch. The food is great and reasonably priced. The service is always great, you can always find someone to get you something if you don't initially see your waiter. I would recommend making a reservation on Opentable before coming in, it makes things much easier.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Accomidating
    dabey
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    I reserved a table for 6 for my birthday dinner. I specifically chose Mercado for their happy hour so I was extremely disappointed when the host told us we could not get happy hour prices because we reserved our table through open table. The description on the website needs to be much more clear about reserving through Open Table. After speaking to the manager, Mercado was able to honor the happy hour prices for my group. I was very thankful.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Loved the place
    Johnboyabz
    Dined on 8/18/2014
    A good and lively restaurant pretty loud with good food and service
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Brunch at Mercado
    SandyjkVIP
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    Reasonable prices and ample portions were found at this Santa Monica restaurant. Staff was very friendly and efficient. Had a delicious large breakfast burrito and the homemade tortillas were excellent.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Canitas & Flan Heaven!
    JenRecommendsVIP
    Dined on 8/11/2014
    The best I have ever had with both - no lie. Great cocktails, great service as well. Go!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Slipping?
    TabascoGurl
    Dined on 8/10/2014
    We have been going to Mercado since it's fledgling days..LOVED it all...the margaritas, the food and fun atmosphere. But after a year or so, our recent visit was not stellar, like before. One request we ALWAYS make (at least for our dining experience of usually 2 or 3 people) is DON'T RUSH BRINGING THE FOOD OUT! And after requesting that again last night, it was totally ignored. We like to get several small plates...and want to SAVOR them. But again, this is OUR dining preference. If we had a larger group, then yes, bring a few things at a time. Food wise, the tamales usually are fantastic, but this time they were too big, mealy, and rather lacking in flavor. Hope this is just a hiccup of an experience. Dos Gringas are #1.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Mercado is definitely in my top 5
    Momo
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    We invited another couple to dine with us Friday night at Mercado and all of us were wowed by the overall quality of their food. I've dined here several times before with my girlfriends, and I don't think we've ever been disappointed in this place. I'm pretty sensitive about eating in noisy restaurants and eating at community tables isn't my thing either, so if you're looking for a super quiet place to dine, this probably isn't it because it's a vibrant, atmosphere and their happy hour is usually pretty noisy too. Thankfully, we were able to get a really nice table for the 4 of us that was upstairs, and that suited us perfectly. Their carnitas are amazing, love the jicama salad, and I'm addicted to their skinny margaritas too!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Rip off
    EaterVIP
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    These guys are making money hand over fist. Smallish portions of adequately prepared food, weak drinks and high prices. With Border Grill across the street and many other great places in the neighborhood no reason to go back.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Fantastico
    JamesGray
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    We love most Mexican food -- from taco trucks to neighborhood dives to regional cuisine takes. Mercado is one of the few places on the high end of that spectrum. It's very good - not quite fine-dining (which is good, because fine-dining can be too expensive and pretentious), but it's got an excellent menu that's adventurous without straying too far away from what we love about Mexican food. We went one day, then went with friends a few days later - and we'll be back soon. It can't replace all of the Mexican places that we go to - but it's certainly going to be one of my new favorites.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, romantic, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • excellent food!
    Fantastic
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    Try anything and you'll love it! Make a reservation to make sure you get a table.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Sunday Brunch - newly added
    DiscerningDinerVIP
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    It was great to have another option for brunch in Santa Monica with a decided Latin flavor. Have been to Mercado several times, but took the opportunity to have brunch with the family. Since brunch is new at this location, it was not as crowded as it usually is for dinner - which was nice as far as I'm concerned because at dinner, it is quite noisy. Also, the atmosphere in the room is quite pleasant in the day time. The food and service is consistently good at Mercado, brunch was no exception. Our (adult) kids really enjoyed it. Glad to see caritas on the brunch menu, as it is one of my favorite dishes. The kale salad was a great alternative to some of the heavier dishes. The ribs were outstanding.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Drinks & Appetizers are great!!
    Mina
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    Best guacamole anywhere and fantastic bloody mary's. Great spot for happy hour.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great for drinks, apps and dinner
    LspOT
    Dined on 7/24/2014
    Have been here several times. This time sat at the bar with a friend and ordered dinner. Service from the bartender was great. I only have one complaint and that is they sometimes over salt their food a bit.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Happy birthday to me didn't happen
    FoodFoodFood
    Dined on 7/21/2014
    What's the point of adding notes when nobody cares to acknowledge your special day. I was thinking at the very least a HBD song at this trendy place but nada or a complimentary dessert but nada. The only dishes I can recommend are the carnitas, guacamole dip, ceviche, scallops. I ordered the Carne Asada medium rare but it was more like medium well. I'm a meat eater so that pretty much irked me that on my special day where friends are taking me out for this special occasion that I had a disappointing dish. The manager Glenn Hoiby checked on us at the end when the tab was paid and gave me his card and promised me he'd make it up to us but the damage was done.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    great food and great service.The guacamole was quite tasty and the habanero salsa was spicy. All in all- great spot
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good location, but loud
    Vfr292
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    I could barely hear my date. Food was good. Right by The promenade.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, late-night find, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Food4Thought
    Dined on 7/6/2014
    Well designed and acoustically pleasant, Mercado proved to be quite a dining experience. The food was very fresh and well prepared. I am on a GF diet, and the roasted vegetable omelet was delicious. My only beef was that there was no substitution for the potatoes (other than ordering a side of beans). Most restaurants allow sliced tomatoes or fruit. For people without restrictions, the other choices looked healthful and delicious as well.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • good food, a little pricey though
    Nate
    Dined on 7/3/2014
    Great flavors, good food but $10 for a small guac & a few chips? Place could be a little more friendly on the wallet.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • delicious but expensive
    jred23VIP
    Dined on 7/3/2014
    the food was great but a tad expensive for what you get and the cocktails were outrageously expensive. I mean, 20 bucks for a carefully measured shot of tequila with some sugary lime juice added to it?? would go back more often if it weren't for the price gouge..
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 63 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 2, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.3
    • Food4.3
    • Ambiance4
    • Service4.1
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The following 378 reviews are from the Mercado - Santa Monica reviews archive.
  • Yum!
    NG923
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    Went a group of friend and we had a great time! The food was prepared very well but they can work on the service a little more. It took forever just to get a drink and no one really came by when we needed something. Maybe because we were upstairs on the terrace, but overall it's a great spot!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • service
    chris
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    Unbelievable bad service. Waitress ignored us entire time, was rude in every capacity. I had to persuade my girlfriend from complaining to the manager. Most reluctantly I've ever left a tip after a meal. That said, the food was absolutely delicious.
    Special Features:
    hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic