El Mercado Modern Cuisine

4.5
132 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 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 Thursday special of 3 Tacos for $10, Happy Hour everyday (5pm-7pm). Bottomless Mimosas on Sundays from 10am-3pm. New Togo food and cocktail menu available.

Experiences

Select an experience by choosing a date, time and party size
Explore unique dining experiences for every mood—from prix-fixe menus to can't-miss promotions.

Special menus

  • Sunday Brunch

    Starting Aug 30, 2020
    Enjoy bottomless mimosas for $16 every Sunday from 10am-3pm. Our brunch menu features specialty dishes including NY Steak and eggs, homemade pancakes, French toast, omelets and more!

Offers

Taco Tuesday Specials

Starting Aug 6, 2020 · Tue 5:00 PM - 8:45 PM, Thu 5:00 PM - 8:45 PM
Enjoy 3 Tacos for $10 and $6 Margaritas all night on Tuesdays.

Late Night Weekend Happy Hour

Starting Jul 31, 2020 · Fri - Sat 5:00 PM - 10:30 PM
$6 House Wines, $6 Well cocktails and discounted food items.

Weekday Happy Hour

Starting Jul 31, 2020 · Fri - Sat 5:00 PM - 10:30 PM
$6 House Wines, $6 Well cocktails and discounted food items.

Weekday Happy Hour: 5:00pm-7:00pm

Starting Oct 27, 2020 · Tue 5:00 PM - 8:45 PM, Thu 5:00 PM - 8:45 PM, Fri - Sat 5:00 PM - 10:30 PM
Discounted Food & Drinks specials during the week from 5pm-7pm.

Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
  • Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
  • Contactless payment available
  • Sealed or wrapped utensils used
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
What 132 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.5
service
4.6
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
88% of people would recommend it to a friend
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CM
CindyM
Orange County
8 reviews
Dined on November 17, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The outdoor ambiance is beautiful! We went for Taco Tuesday and ordered the taco trio-- all three tacos were gorgeously displayed and so delicious. The margaritas were also phenomenal. This is definitely worth an evening out!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Orange County
3 reviews
Dined on November 15, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent brunch expérience. Food is amazing and tasty with the best flavors

J
vipJennyd93
Los Angeles
9 reviews
Dined on November 14, 2020
Overall3food2service4ambience4

The food didn't taste as spectacular as it did before this placed closed for COVID. Maybe a different chef and different bar tender? Not sure.

RS
RebekahS
Orange County
5 reviews
Dined on November 13, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Went out for a random date night and decided on this gem. Food was amazing! Ordered quite a few items to try and share and it did not disappoint. Everything was amazing!

VH
VickiH
Los Angeles
20 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My favorite place for creative Mexican and Cocktails. You won't find a better cocktail menu at any other Mexican restaurant!

RM
RobertoM
Orange County
5 reviews
Dined on November 6, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Service was Great. Originally started as a dinner for two, to catch up with my buddy. Two other friends showed up and our server was Happy to serve them and courteous. I’ve been to other places, where the servers get upset, when more people are added to a party. She was friendly, suggested drinks and food items. She was Great! Constantly checked in on us. She remembered me, from previous visits. That was Great! Shows they have great customer service, on remembering their customers. Ambience was Awesome, as always. Great decor, music and vibe from the other employees, we came in contact with. Once again, Thank You El Mercado Modern Cuisine. Another Great experience that keep me coming back.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on November 1, 2020
Overall1food1service1ambience1

I reserve a Table at 3 PM and they close at 3 PM why would you let me reseve if they are gonna close I drive 45 minutes for nothing

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on October 30, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great spot to celebrate a birthday! Especially loved their specialty cocktail menu!

SG
vipSophiaG
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on October 27, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious food! Great service and cute place! Tacos and carnitas are amazing

t
tastyfood
1 review
Dined on October 18, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a wonderful experience in all aspects from the service to the food. I would highly recommend this for their exquisite food and ambience.

CH
vip1CHS
San Francisco
19 reviews
Dined on October 10, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

The service was excellent. The cost is very reasonable. I’d like to see a bit more variety in on the menu but we will certainly return.

K
Kimberly
Los Angeles
14 reviews
Dined on October 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was my birthday and they made me feel very special. The food was amazing and the services perfect!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Orange County
1 review
Dined on October 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Absolutely an amazing experience! Fantastic food and great service! Felt safe to eat here!

JG
JessicaG
1 review
Dined on September 19, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience5

The drinks are amazing. The service is definitely great friendly customer service.

IS
vipIreneS
Los Angeles
9 reviews
Dined on August 28, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience5

Food is great but when it was served to table it was cold :(

SH
SusanH
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on August 22, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience5

El Mercado has an innovative menu of food and drinks. More pages of various drinks than food! That's why I didn't give them a 5 star on food. What we ordered was delicious and perfectly cooked, but selection was limited. Drinks were unique and the waiter was knowledgeable enough about them that he could refer us to the tastes we were craving. Outdoor seating was very casual but comfortable, although the music was a little loud to converse over and it would've been nice to have a greater variety of type of music rather than just classic Spanish tunes. I would definitely go again!

GG
GabbyG
1 review
Dined on August 21, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was delicious, the service was outstanding, the portions are small but hey, we’re eating too much at home so it’s okay.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Orange County
7 reviews
Dined on August 15, 2020
Overall3food3service5ambience5

Service was great. Good was so so. Brussel sprouts were really good!!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Orange County
1 review
Dined on June 21, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Father’s Day

LS
LucyS
1 review
Dined on March 15, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We will definitely go back with our friends and family very soon👍👍👍.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on March 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

First time! Everything was great! Will definitely go back.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on March 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food

JA
vipJoseAntonio
Orange County
7 reviews
Dined on March 4, 2020
Overall4food3service5ambience5

Exactly what I expected it to be! An intimate setting with amazing presentation and service. Booked a party of 12 for my birthday and honestly, could not have asked for more. The food was amazing - the cocktails were beautifully presented - all of my guests had a great time. It was exactly what I wanted!

m
vipmichaelb
San Francisco
63 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Absolutely amazing. Trying new places to get away from the mediocre, strip mall/mall restaurants of Newport Beach, we went to El Mercado in downtown Santa Ana today for lunch. Great food with high end ingredients with perfect flavors. Very reasonable prices. We had the baby gem salad, seafood cocktail, Jamaica tacos and “mini mole”. All were delicious, very clean and pure. The cocktail menu was creative and very likable. Service was perfect, Armando was great, and the chefs/owners came out and made everyone feel welcome. They even bought us a signature cocktail. We can’t say enough about this restaurant. Excellent.

YH
YvetteH
1 review
Dined on March 1, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience5

The chilaquiles had little to no flavor but the pancakes were the best! Over all we had a great time.

CB
CarlosB
Orange County
1 review
Dined on February 28, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience5

One of the few places that has Bacanora from Sonora.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall2food4service1ambience4

Horrible Valentines Dinner experience. Food was good but they seemed to be understaffed. I got there at 8pm for our reservation and sat at the center table closest to the door. After my order was placed, it took 20 minutes to get my salad, another 20 for the main course, and another 30 for dessert (1.25 hours total at the restaurant). We ran out of water frequently, and servers barely came around to check on us throughout the whole dinner. People that got there after us were receiving their desert before us. I asked for the check and to get the dessert to go because we were over the dinner experience. That alone took a total of 30 minutes lol. And then I checked the to-go bag in the car, and they only gave me one of the two desserts lol. The staff was nice, but you can tell they were all multi-tasking and shorthanded. They acted as if they were on top of it...but you can obviously tell they weren't. I don't mind the passive aggressive service, but the execution and delivery to get stuff done was super off that night. Thanks for the terrible Valentines Date El Mercado!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Orange County
3 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall2food2service2ambience5

I wanted this place to be great but didn’t go well tonight. The drinks and atmosphere are great but the substance behind food quality and service doesn’t match. Food wasn’t anything to be stoked about. Nor was the service.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Orange County
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall2food2service2ambience4

Honestly, the place is a great place for a date in terms of ambiance but the food is so salty and mediocre at best. The back kitchen was poorly ran with timing, the entrees took about 25 min to be served AFTER to the salad, AND was incorrectly cooked so they took it back and redelivered after 10 minutes. That's a complete waiting and stoppage of 35 min for an entree. The service didn't even offer anything complimentary or took off the entree for being wrong. Highly reviewed place but sorely disappointed, would only recommend if you're into ambiance.

a
anonymous
Raleigh
9 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall3food1service5ambience5

Ambiance was definitely cute and romantic, and I couldn't have been happier about the service. However, we dined here for Valentine's day and what we paid for what we got was insane. $65/person for a three-course meal sounds fine, but the three courses were all very small. You are given very little food for the price, and on top of that, they charged us a $25 service fee.

LG
LisaG
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everything was absolutely delicious!! Great spot in DTSA.

DN
DarleneN
1 review
Dined on January 25, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Food and drinks are amazing! Can't wait to go back to eat the beef shank and fresh tortillas again.

J
vipJacob
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Went for birthday brunch and it was incredible. Best corn tortillas I’ve ever had. Tons of gluten free options as well. Highly recommend and hope to come back soon.

JT
JenniferT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on January 16, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This is a wonderful establishment that serves outstanding food with great attitude. I've been coming here for the past few years since it opened and I am never disappointed. The cocktail list is amazing too. Great for large parties (6-10 people) because the dishes are fun to share and with more people you get more variety. Highly recommended!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2020
Overall5food5service3ambience5

I adore this quaint spot and just love all their yummy food and amazing libations. Service can stand some improvement but all in all, this is my favorite restaurant in Orange County!

BN
vipBrazilNut
Orange County
35 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience4

In retrospect, I would say expectations are VERY important in enjoying this restaurant. The food is, in fact, fresh, tasty, and creative. But if you think you will get chips and salsa before the meal, think again. The quesadilla was done with a blue corn tortilla, and was quite nice, as were the pork belly tacos we tried. If you aren't expecting a full-on traditional version of those, I think you'll find the food very attractive. Our favorite dish, actually, was the cauliflower and tomato, which had a truly outstanding blend of flavors. I ended up giving four stars overall to the food, but only because the quesadilla and tacos were a four, as was the Pisco Sour. But the cauliflower was a full-on five. I would certainly go back. And like a lot of things in life, if I go in expecting to simply enjoy it for what it is, El Mercado is a winner.

JB
JackBJack
Orange County
9 reviews
Dined on December 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Christmas Eve dinner. The mezcal cocktail creativity was over-the-top fantastic. The meals are served in family style- from small plates to plates of multiple servings- each one we ordered was bite-by-bite outstanding. Masterful chef! The service was truly caring and respectful. Already have advised friends and family as a must do restaurant. Thank you all.

AM
AnthonyM
1 review
Dined on December 14, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Not your typical Mexican restaurant. Don’t expect combination plates, chips and salsa or mariachis. Open your mind to what Mexican food can be and you will not be disappointed. Dishes are designed to be shared. Amazing flavors, great cocktails.

n
nomics
Los Angeles
25 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food and drinks were excellent as always. We showed up a bit early for our reservation and were quickly accomodated.

MF
MinervaF
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall3food4service2ambience5

The Night of the Altars is a busy night in Santa Ana. I would have thought that after a few years of operation the management and wait staff would have been prepared. I will come back yet I advise the management of the restaurant to prepare for nights when events in the city will bring more guests to their property.

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 4.5 stars by 132 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.

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