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El Mercado Modern Cuisine, Santa Ana, CA
Award-winning

El Mercado Modern Cuisine

4.3
4.3
311 Reviews
$30 and under
Mexican
El Mercado Modern Cuisine brings you the daily adventure of obtaining fresh ingredients from the market to cook the perfect supper.

At El Mercado Modern Cuisine, we take this everyday trip and transform it into a modern dining experience.

We carefully choose our ingredients for our hand-crafted cocktails and dishes to bring you the best expression of our Modern Cuisine.

Offering a Taco Tuesday & Thursday special of 3 Tacos for $12, Happy Hour every day (5pm-7pm). Bottomless Mimosas on Sundays from 11am-3pm. All night Happy Hour on Wednesdays.

Live Entertainment from Friday - Saturday from 7pm - 10pm and Sundays from 11:30am - 2:30pm.

Make a reservation

2 people

7:00 PM


Booked 6 times today

Order delivery or takeout

Additional information

  • Dining style
    Casual Dining
  • Cuisines
    Mexican, Global, International, Latin American
  • Hours of operation
    Brunch Fri–Sun 11:00 am–3:00 pm Dinner Tue–Thu 5:00 pm–10:00 pm Fri, Sat 3:00 pm–12:00 am Sun 3:00 pm–9:00 pm
  • Phone number
    (714) 338-2446
  • Payment options
    AMEX, Discover, Mastercard, Visa
  • Dress code
    Casual Dress
  • Private party facilities
    Let us plan your special event. Celebrate your birthday, private corporate event, happy hour gathering, etc. We have multiple options from our Patio, Dining Room and semi private lounge area.
  • Private party contact
    Jose Cerrudo: (714) 338-2446
  • Award-winning
    1. MICHELIN Plate 2022
  • Neighborhood
    Santa Ana
  • Cross street
    3rd Street
  • Parking details
    Public Lot
  • Additional
    Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Gluten-free Options, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Takeout, Vegan, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

What 311 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant

4.3
4.3 based on recent ratings
  • 4.2Food
  • 4.3Service
  • 4.2Ambience
  • 3.9Value

NoiseModerate

311 Reviews
  1. Ojos

    Los Angeles

    13 reviews

    3.0

    13 reviews

    Dined 6 days ago

    overall3food3service4ambience2
    This is a trendy place for younger people than us. Good vibe and energy. Our server was an attentive and friendly young man. The ambiance, music, and the focus on alcohol are clearly evident. The Hibiscus Margarita looked fantastic and was pretty tasty but weak. Best served during Happy Hour so you don't pay full price. We ordered the cauliflower appetizer and it was the most delicious of all the dishes. The cauliflower was not overcooked and retained its fresh taste and feel. The saltado and light sauce were perfect, sweet caramelized red onion, with a hit of soy sauce. And the homemade chips were a much better take on Peruvian Saltado fries. Since it was Tuesday we ordered some tacos, shrimp, and pork belly. The corn tortillas were fantastic! We also had the chicken enchiladas which were pretty good. The white rice was nicely seasoned and the black beans were pureed and tasty, don't skip those. The Chicken Tacos Ahogados were a bit of a disappointment. They are not really tacos, they are flautas which are typically made with a flour tortilla. Ahogado means drowned, the flautas were crispy, and sitting in a bowl with a tasty jugo featuring avocado slices, radishes, herbs, and spicy serrano chile slices. The chicken inside was dry, stringy, and not very tasty. Good thing there was enough juice to soften it up with. The dessert was a flourless Mexican chocolate topped with ground pistachios and served with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream. Delicious!

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  2. RobertD

    Las Vegas

    2 reviews

    3.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on September 17, 2023

    overall3food2service2ambience3
    We were first seated at a table let then 10’ from the band, which made it impossible to communicate. Moved us our side Service was slow

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  3. Daniel

    1 review

    1.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 17, 2023

    overall1food1service3ambience1
    Carne Asada was not prepared medium as requested. Flavors of most dishes were bland, cocktails were too sweet, food came out at different times (perhaps the restaurant is not staffed for our group size of 7). Service was slow, perhaps they were understaffed.

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  4. OpenTable Diner

    Mexico City

    16 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    16 reviews

    Dined on September 16, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Food is amazing. It’s our go-to place when craving Mexican food. The cocktails & mocktails are refreshing and delicious as well. We ALWAYS order the guacamole obviously, quesadilla, shrimp tacos and the carrot cake. You can never go wrong.

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  5. RaulL

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 15, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Loved this place, excellent service, super friendly staff, amazingly delicious food, awesome drinks, and great ambiance. Good place to go with friends, a date, or family. A little pricy, but it’s worth it because it’s quality. Cocktails are amazing! Loved the “Ay Madre” and the “Italian Wolf”, recommend those. Other drinks looked amazing as well, didn’t get to drink any of the others, would have if I could have but had to drive! Visit El Mercado!

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  6. Galycali

    Los Angeles

    4 reviews

    vip
    1.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on September 9, 2023

    overall1food1service1ambience1
    Food was very salty and just overall not good. Music is too loud. Service was slow and not welcoming. Just didn’t feel like a happy place. Parking was a pain as well. Not in the best area.

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  7. ZacharyF

    Orange County

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on September 9, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    What a great place to have a pleasant dinner. The food was amazing. This is one gem that I’ll be going back to on a regular basis.

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  8. Pete

    Orange County

    17 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    17 reviews

    Dined on September 3, 2023

    overall4food5service4ambience5
    Had a lovely meal during Sunday brunch. Live entertainment good selection of breakfasts and lunch entrees. Food is excellent

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  9. Gonza

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 25, 2023

    overall3food3service3ambience3
    They charge extra 20% ( service fee) in your bill.

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  10. BrianF

    Los Angeles

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on August 19, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Awesome date night, great food and cocktails, thank you!

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  11. wynediva

    San Francisco

    26 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    26 reviews

    Dined on August 7, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    This was an unexpected surprise for all of us. The food was so incredibly flavorful and all made from scratch! Do NOT miss the mole, it transports you back to Oaxaca Mexico with one bite. The cocktails were delicious and innovative and the service was impeccable. Can't wait to go back!

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  12. dibou

    Los Angeles

    11 reviews

    4.0

    11 reviews

    Dined on August 6, 2023

    overall4food4service4ambience3
    Cute restaurant with really wonderful food. The cocktails were amazing as well. Service was very good. The only issue we had was the loud music - there was a band (and they were great) but it was loud and it made it hard to have a conversation. Next time we’ll sit outside in the patio. Great food though!

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  13. Shaz

    Los Angeles

    6 reviews

    4.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on August 2, 2023

    overall4food5service4ambience4
    Amazing pork belly tacos. Great mezcal margaritas. Good Taco Tuesday deal.

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  14. JimG

    Washington DC

    36 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    36 reviews

    Dined on July 27, 2023

    overall5food4service4ambience5
    Incredible Mezican food. Best I've ever had. Very unique. An explosion of flavor in all dishes.

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  15. NeslihanA

    Switzerland

    2 reviews

    3.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on July 26, 2023

    overall3food3service4ambience3
    Totally over rated...the food was not really tasty.

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  16. DanielB

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 15, 2023

    overall5food5service4ambience4
    Happy hour menu was on point💯we ordered one of everything and we were not disappointed. Also ordered shots and all of them were tasty. Will go back for the dinners.

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  17. MichelleK

    Los Angeles

    4 reviews

    2.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on July 8, 2023

    overall2food2service3ambience4
    The food was bland…I ordered the chips & guacamole as an appetizer. I ordered the carnitas and a side order of rice & beans. The appetizer needed salt & spice. The carnitas were edible…but, not incredible. The beans has the oddest flavor & the rice had no flavor at all. I ordered a margarita which had salt which won the flavor contest! I wouldn’t recommend for a meal…Note: The guitarist was great!

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  18. Buddy

    Los Angeles

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 2, 2023

    overall4food4service4ambience3
    We enjoyed our food and drinks. Our server was knowledgeable and attentive. The live music scheduled was cancelled which was a bummer but will recommend the restaurant.

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  19. RachelH

    Orange County

    5 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on June 18, 2023

    overall4food4service4ambience4
    Everything We had was delicious, fresh & unique -the brussel sprouts and guacamole where great appetizers. For meals we had the pulpo a la plancha which was cooked perfectly and the chicken taco ahogados & the rib eye special which were also very good. The mezcal cocktails were incredible - the italian wolf, tiene tambou were exceptional. Also enjoyed a cocktail with pisco which we had never had and it was refreshing and delicious called- chilcano criollo. Servers, staff were very attentive, Guitarist playing was nice too

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  20. AmberW

    Orange County

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on June 16, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    The restaurant had delicious tacos. They have a special on Tuesdays and Thursdays for tacos, so I recommend going on those days. Their house margaritas were delicious, I recommend the passion fruit margarita. It was so delicious! The ambience was very nice, but dimly lit. It is also a big space the echoes, so it make get loud at times. Overall would Recommend. Just a note, it may be hard to get parking. I would come a little bit earlier to hunt for a space to park.

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  21. randyG

    Orange County

    11 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    11 reviews

    Dined on June 11, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Food presentation and service was outstanding. Main course dinners are a little pricey but with the new cost of everything going through the roof, I guess they are within reason. Live guitar music added to the ambience but being an open high ceiling dining room, noise level from other patrons was somewhat distracting from the music itself. The area has been revitalized and we will be back. Atmosphere inside was warm and inviting.

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  22. Emend

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 10, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great customer service. Amazing ambience. Live music is a nice touch to the place

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  23. Lace

    Denver

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 10, 2023

    overall3food3service3ambience4
    The food in the price tag that came along with, It just wasn’t worth it, unfortunately. We ordered close to seven different dishes to be eaten family style and we weren’t given new plates once. We were also not given serving utensils for all of the dishes. Unfortunately, the food was very under seasoned and left much to be desired. Overall a very underwhelming dining experience.

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  24. RBfromHB

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 4, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great place to done with friends. The tapas style menu let's patrons explore the chefs creations with nominal fiscal impact. El Mercado is a great value, cocktails were good and make sure you get some smoked mezcal. The flourless cake dessert was delicious and capped the experience. Bring a friend, or two or three for an epicurean delight.

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  25. CBass

    New York Area

    5 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on June 1, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    This place is great. We haven’t ever had something we haven’t liked whether dinner or brunch. The flavors are bold and fresh at the same time. Definitely worth a trip to DTSA to eat here.

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  26. DJ2432

    Los Angeles

    19 reviews

    2.0

    19 reviews

    Dined on May 28, 2023

    overall2food2service4ambience4
    Im sorry to say we were disappointed with this restaurant. Everything looked so good but wasn’t. We ordered chips and salsa to start which you have to pay for and the chips were stale and the salsa had absolutely no flavor, which I’m not sure how you make salsa with no flavor. Our meal was also just ok. For the prices they charge we expected a better quality. The ambiance was very nice but we probably won’t go back. Sorry!

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  27. OpenTable Diner

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 26, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    This was one of the best experiences I have had with a restaurant in a long time. The quality of the food was excellent, the ambiance and service were great, and the place was clean! Highly recommend

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  28. OpenTable Diner

    Orange County

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on May 17, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Excellent margaritas. We started with roasted brussel sprouts, they were great, and then ordered shrimp tacos. Everything was very good. I'll be back!

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  29. CezieJ

    Los Angeles

    19 reviews

    vip
    3.0

    19 reviews

    Dined on May 14, 2023

    overall3food2service3ambience3
    Presentation was nice, but the food was bland. We ordered the green enchiladas, the shrimp tacos, and the French toast. It seem to take far too long to get our food. The best part was the margarita the wait-staff recommended.

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  30. OllieP

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 14, 2023

    overall3food5service2ambience4
    Great, regional food with a modern flair. Food was impeccable. Great place for a sit down meal if you have time; not a great stop for a quick dinner/brunch so be sure you set aside time. Service was attentive when present, but sparse in general. Kitchen took awhile to prepare our food. Overall a good experience if you understand the above.

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  31. DanR

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 14, 2023

    overall3food3service3ambience2
    Place is ok. Food is ok. Service is ok. Overpriced for ok food.

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  32. BeatrizA

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 5, 2023

    overall3food3service5ambience4
    The waitress was very friendly and knowledgeable. The cocktails server recommended were excellent. The ambiance was energetic with live music. Was disappointed with the food after reading such great reviews I was expecting better.

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  33. EllenS

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 4, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Had a large group here and we all had a blast! Service and food/drinks were great. I'd go back in a heartbeat.

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  34. IanM

    Montreal

    2 reviews

    3.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on April 30, 2023

    overall3food3service4ambience4
    Aguachile and guacamole were good, brussel sprouts unfortunately very salty, cocktails were too much ice and cauliflower was ok. A bit disappointing.

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  35. OpenTable Diner

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on April 26, 2023

    overall2food2service2ambience3
    Portions small. Prices high. Food was low flavor. Service friendly but untrained.

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  36. OpenTable Diner

    Orange County

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on April 22, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    My wife and I decided to have a date night, we decided to go to El Mercado. My wife and I have never dined here before and we were a little skeptical at first but as we walked in, we were quickly greeted by the host and was taken to our awaiting table. The service was excellent and the drinks were out of this world. We tried a variety of cocktails and we were not disappointed with the drinks. We couldn’t decide which drink we enjoyed the most. The was so delicious. I had the Tlayula with beef and chorizo. By far one of my favorite dishes. There was a singer who sang really good, she entertained us while we ate. The music wasn’t loud where it makes it difficult to talk but loud enough to hear the music in the background. If you are looking for restaurant with good food and drinks with a little musical entertainment, look. No further and just try El Mercado, you will not be disappointed.

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  37. OpenTable Diner

    Cancun

    10 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    10 reviews

    Dined on April 15, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great ambient, awesome service and AMAZING Food, seriously people run, hurry up and have this great experience.

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  38. MaroU

    Orange County

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on April 9, 2023

    overall5food5service4ambience4
    Absolute gem, and a great quality price ratio. Great tasting food (the best Brussels sprouts I had in my life), with top notch presentation. Not sure why Michelin hasn’t given them a Bib Gourmand award yet, but it’s coming.

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  39. NinderC

    Orange County

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on April 5, 2023

    overall5food4service5ambience5
    The cauliflower and brussel sprouts were amazing. I did not like the crust on the Mexican pizza.

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  40. KathiF

    Palm Springs

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on March 26, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Celebrated Niece’s birthday for brunch service. The staff is very accommodating and having my Mom who is walker bound was very impressed at Mercado. We enjoyed Carnitas, Breakfast Burritos and most of all the desserts were top notch.

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Safety precautions

  • Cleaning & sanitizing

    • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
    • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
    • Sealed or wrapped utensils used
    • Common areas deep-cleaned daily
    • Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
    • Contactless payment available
  • Physical distancing

    • Limited number of seated diners
    • Distancing maintained in common areas
    • Extra space between tables
  • Protective equipment

    • Waitstaff wear masks
    • Diners must wear masks unless eating or drinking
  • Screening

    • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace

FAQs

El Mercado Modern Cuisine offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (714) 338-2446.

El Mercado Modern Cuisine is rated 4.3 stars by 311 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable.

Make a reservation

2 people

7:00 PM


Booked 6 times today

Order delivery or takeout

Google Map for El Mercado Modern Cuisine

301 N Spurgeon St, Fl 1, Santa Ana, CA 92701

Additional information

  • Award-winning
    1. MICHELIN Plate 2022
  • Cross street
    3rd Street
  • Neighborhood
    Santa Ana
  • Hours of operation
    Brunch Fri–Sun 11:00 am–3:00 pm Dinner Tue–Thu 5:00 pm–10:00 pm Fri, Sat 3:00 pm–12:00 am Sun 3:00 pm–9:00 pm
  • Cuisines
    Mexican, Global, International, Latin American
  • Dining style
    Casual Dining
  • Dress code
    Casual Dress
  • Parking details
    Public Lot
  • Payment options
    AMEX, Discover, Mastercard, Visa
  • Additional
    Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Gluten-free Options, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Takeout, Vegan, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Phone number
    (714) 338-2446
  • Private party facilities
    Let us plan your special event. Celebrate your birthday, private corporate event, happy hour gathering, etc. We have multiple options from our Patio, Dining Room and semi private lounge area.
  • Private party contact
    Jose Cerrudo: (714) 338-2446
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