El Mercado Modern Cuisine

4.4
85 reviews
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$30 and under
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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 every day 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 special of 3 Tacos for $10, Happy Hour from Tuesday-Friday (5pm-7pm) & all night on Wednesday.
What 85 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.4
service
4.4
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
82% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
1 review
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food was delicious!! Server knew all his stuff from drinks to the menu!!! Super friendly!

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J
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

Food was not very flavorful, overpriced and tapas sized portions although the waiter says it’s for sharing it really isn’t enough for one person. Drinks were also basic and overpriced. Ambiance and service were good though.

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OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on June 19, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 2

We went to celebrate my sister’s birthday. I put it in the reservation notes and it was never acknowledged. Our drinks were hit or miss, one was great the other was terrible and they all came out in different glasses, even if it was the same drink. The menu said the plates were meant to be shared and would be placed in the center of the table. We ordered one dish per person thinking that it would be enough, especially since it said they would be shareable portions.

What a joke. We had to order everything again just to not leave hungry. The second round of dishes looked different from the first, the mole suddenly had cotija cheese, the octopus was a different texture, etc.

The menu clearly says items are meant to be shared. I don’t understand how one single taco is considered a shareable dish. The waiter didn’t give us a heads up on portions or number of items per dish based on our party size.

It ended up being over $50 a person and I am not exaggerating, I had a bite of a taco, three cauliflower florets and a bite of chewy octopus. When we called the manager over to ask him how these plates were not really shareable and how disappointed we were he only gave excuses and said it was clear in the menu that it wasn’t “family style”. I understand family style and I understand tapas, and this was neither. Sad that the manager didn’t hear or understand where our complaint was coming from. So much wasted potential.

I am beyond embarrassed that I booked this for my sister and it ended up being such a flop.

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M
San Francisco
29 reviews
Dined on June 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great new take on Mexican cuisine. Enjoyed our evening. Excellent Margarita. Wish I had arrived earlier for their happy hour. Fit for foodie interested in exploring new twist on Mexican food.

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KD
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I met my daughter for brunch late Sunday morning. The service was outstanding and the food was even better. I'm looking forward to going again.

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OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Phenomenal cuisine with an atmosphere that works for a casual or formal dining experience.

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LQ
Los Angeles
16 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 2

Food was awful. Two of the entrees came out when everyone else was finished. Most came out cold and they weren’t busy. Poor selection of drinks. Terrible service. And not very nice. Poorly lit and dirty. No wonder it wasn’t busy on a Saturday night.

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RH
Orange County
8 reviews
Dined on May 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Unique twists on traditional recipes and high quality ingredients combine to create a very enjoyable dining experience. Cocktail list is sure to please!

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AM
1 review
Dined on May 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely a amazing meal , traveled 4 hours away with my family and whir blown away . The food was delicious, great atmosphere with incredible food and service . I ordered a “Italian Wolfe” cocktail and was so good and the presentation with the infused smoke was 💯💯‼️ Excellent dining experience Martinez Family

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JT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on May 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This restaurant is a true gem. The food is delicious, the service great, the ambiance beautiful, and the cocktails are inspired! Try the Italian Wolf or the Hot Queen, if you want an adventure in sight and taste.

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LA
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 4

Food is a little esoteric. Food comes out at different times for the table, which is offputting, and they forgot my meal entirely and had to put in the order again after everyone at my table was finished (on Mothers' Day). They did take the meal off the bill. They are trying to serve traditional foods in a non-traditional way, and it doesn't always work. The ambiance is very nice but the restaurant is loud.

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CB
Orange County
26 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The decor of El Mercado isn't overly done and don't be put off, their cocktails are fantastic and their dishes are so creative and flavorful. We were recommended to try this place out and we're glad we did. The camaraones a la diabla had heat and spice and the rice porridge cooled it off. The mole had great flavor and the chicken was juicy and tasty. The carnitas, don't miss the carnitas, the char on the outside and the melt in your mouth meat was on point!

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AP
1 review
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Oil lamps on the tables fill the dining room with the smell of burnt fuel. It’s unhealthy. Candles burn much cleaner and don’t detract from an otherwise fantastic dining experience.

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J
1 review
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I met a friend at El Mercado for an early dinner. Our reservation was so early that the restaurant had a quiet and inviting atmosphere. It was wonderful because my friend and I wanted a place to talk and hear each other. The service was excellent and the menu was explained to us very well. The food was fantastic. It was our first time there and by the end of dinner we were already planning our next dinner there. I went home and told a friend about it! Thank you for everything!

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OT
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything about this place is superb

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and drinks. Loved the patio

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OT
1 review
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing cocktails, food, and most importantly service. Abraham was a fantastic server with a ton of knowledge of everything on the menu. Will definitely be back!

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AM
Orange County
3 reviews
Dined on March 17, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 2ambience 3

Location is great, ambiance is great but the service was slow ( 2 servers for 4 tables so not sure why it was so slow). We went during brunch and the menu is very limited. They were out of the cocktails I wanted to try and the food was flavorless. I was very excited about this place but definitely disappointed. I do not recommend.

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B
1 review
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

Unfortunately my experience here was more than unpleasant. The wait (even having a reservation), the service, the quality of the food was all disappointing. We were seated in the lunge area to order drinks before our table was ready, no one ever came over to order our drinks. Our table was ready, so we sit and the tables are rocky/uneven. They finally order our drinks for my drink to come first, waiting 10-15 minutes until the next drink, then another 8 minutes till the final 2 drinks. As courtesy, I waited till everyone got their drinks. We started with 2 appetizers - one came out (poor taste, no salt) - but the second never arrived. We decided to close out and eat out meal elsewhere. We’ve gone to the one in Santa Monica, and it was like they are two separate restaurants.

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CD
1 review
Dined on March 7, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

The food is very good and interesting, but the noise level is way too high, making for an uncomfortable experience. Even when the restaraunt was not busy, one could hardly hear people at our table. But when the restaurant got busier, you had to shout to be heard.

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OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on March 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome dinner after a long day at the convention center in Anaheim. Highly recommend the Brussels sprouts!

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OC
1 review
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

This is a modern, fun take on traditional Mexican cuisine. The restaurant has a dim industrial modern interior. The bartender is amazing and makes masterful cocktails, definitely worth trying. The dishes are sort of like tapas and you can order several and share. I especially enjoyed the Pulpo (octopus), enchiladas and arrachera (skirt steak), didn't care too much for Tlayuda and the mole was pretty good. Service was good, not great. Our server brought the check when we were nearly done with the dinner without asking whether we wanted dessert. There are only two dessert choices listed on the menu (a sorbet and a flourless chocolate cake) plus a chef's choice, but I got the feeling that they are not big on dessert!?
Overall a good experience and I would recommend El Mercado Modern.

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GW
Columbus
14 reviews
Dined on February 19, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 3

Very unusual menu - had we seen the menu we would not have gone - modern must mean unusual dishes and small portions.
Quality was good - just not what we think of as a Mexican restaurant

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OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Great service and delicious food flavor profile was well balanced very quiet place perfect for couples.

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n
Los Angeles
16 reviews
Dined on February 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic business dinner at one of my favorite spots.

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OT
San Diego
3 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Santa Ana has been a great date night spot for the past few years. So when I saw a spot my wife and I hadn’t tried I was excited to see what it was about. Ultimately we were let down by the experience. My cocktail was lackluster and my wife’s entree was over done.

But both of those are likely forgivable. What surprisingly made for a less than stellar night was just how unbelievably loud the restaurant was despite not being anywhere near capacity. As much as it makes me feel like an old man (and I am not) to complain about noise it was the first time I have ever not been able to hear a server while they addressed a table.

I would consider stopping by again but with much lower expectations.

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MR
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

This was my second visit and it was just as great as the first; we like it for dinner before shows at the Yost or The Cavern. The carnitas were very flavorful and crispy and the mole chicken was delicious, but my favorite was the tlayuda - sort of a flat bread with black beans, pea puree and other little gems. Very pretty and very tasty! Our waiter was also a delight (unfortunately I didn't get his name). Highly recommended!

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s
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 4, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 5

The food was not good enough to make up for the terrible service.

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OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on May 28, 2017
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Very friendly waiters, out of the ordinary dishes, comfortable but a little expensive. An excellent list of mezcales worth trying in the future.

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OT
Orange County
4 reviews
Dined on May 26, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A spectacular Place, great ambience and food that is to die for.

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L
Los Angeles
45 reviews
Dined on May 14, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Neighborhood gem! Brunch was wonderful!!Food was superb! Love this place! OPEN FACED PAMBAZO and enchiladas verdes. Drinks were AMAZING!!! Recado, Reina, Del Toro & Calle Cuatro!! Can't wait to go back for more. Jorge was a great bartender/Host!!

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JH
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on May 7, 2017
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

A;ready have enjoyed tapas and drinks here one evening. Decided to come back for brunch and we loved it! Cocktails on point and the food is amazing!

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PS
Palm Springs
44 reviews
Dined on May 7, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Incredibly delicious and unique. Every item on the menu was outstanding. I would drive back from Palm Springs every Sunday for brunch.

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K
Louisville
9 reviews
Dined on May 5, 2017
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Incredible food. Wish they didn't make even basic rice and/or tortilla extra.

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OT
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on April 28, 2017
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

The portion sizes vary wildly and it would help to note that in the menu beside each one.

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OT
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on April 28, 2017
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Great spot! The meat -eaters in our group loved the carnitas in particular. I am a vegetarian and would have loved a little more flavorful options, it the drinks and environment were awesome and the options I did have were good. Especially the quesadilla.

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OT
Orange County
4 reviews
Dined on April 14, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome experience in a fun area.

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OT
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Innovative menu, great cocktail selection, excellent service. A delicious addition to the DTSA restaurant scene. Outdoor patio is perfect for those who want to dine with their dog.

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OT
Orange County
5 reviews
Dined on April 11, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Tasted most of the dishes! All fantastic! Very happy with our choice for my dads bday dinner. Great cocktails as well!!

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OT
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on April 8, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and ambiance! Chef never ceases to amaze me with his creations.

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