El Mercado Modern Cuisine

4.4
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113 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.

Specials

Late Night Weekend Happy Hour

$6 House Wines, $6 Well cocktails and discounted food items.

Terms and Conditions:

Valid For: 1 - 20 people

Starts: March 17, 2020

Ends: March 18, 2119

Availability: Fri-Sat 10:00PM-11:30PM

Weekday Happy Hour

$6 House Wines, $6 Well cocktails and discounted food items.

Terms and Conditions:

Valid For: 1 - 20 people

Starts: March 17, 2020

Ends: March 18, 2119

Availability: Tue-Fri 5:00PM-7:00PM

Wednesday All Night Happy Hour

$6 House wines, $6 well cocktails and discounted food items ALL NIGHT

Terms and Conditions:

Valid For: 1 - 20 people

Starts: March 17, 2020

Ends: March 18, 2119

Availability: Wed 5:00PM-9:30PM

Taco Tuesday Specials

Enjoy 3 Tacos for $10 and $6 Margaritas all night on Tuesdays.

Terms and Conditions:

Valid For: 1 - 20 people

Starts: March 17, 2020

Ends: March 18, 2119

Availability: Tue 5:00PM-9:30PM

What 113 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
4.2
food
4.3
service
4.6
ambience
3.8
value
Noise · Moderate
86% of people would recommend it to a friend
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LS
1 review
Dined on March 15, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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

OT
1 review
Dined on March 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

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

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

Great food

JA
Orange County
5 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
San Francisco
61 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
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
Orange County
1 review
Dined on February 28, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience5

One of the few places that has Bacanora from Sonora.

OT
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
Orange County
2 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
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
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
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everything was absolutely delicious!! Great spot in DTSA.

DN
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.

r
Orange County
32 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a reservation time at opening so it was quiet for awhile, but it did start getting busy.

Service was amazing
Food was amazing
Drinks were amazing

This place is definitely on my repeat list.

Everyone in my party also enjoyed it.

If you’re here for brunch, must have the pancakes.

OT
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on September 18, 2019
Overall3food5service1ambience3

Not pleased with the service.

n
Los Angeles
25 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My girlfriend an I went for the 3-year anniversary celebration. Great food and service as always. Really enjoyed the special drinks for the anniversary. This is one of our regular spots, definitely will continue to go.

OT
Los Angeles
131 reviews
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Much improved since they changed the menu. Great staff and now you can say “Taco Maria, Bite Me!”

OT
Los Angeles
131 reviews
Dined on August 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

El Mercado has upped their game by updating their menu. Creative yet accessible, it’s a perfect choice.

JG
Washington DC
27 reviews
Dined on August 6, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Excellent food, hand prepared, artistic presentation. Everything was delicious.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience1

Smelled like a sewer. Service awful - brought wrong dishes. Taquitos tasted like frozen from Costco.

OT
1 review
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

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

J
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall3food2service4ambience4

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.

OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on June 19, 2019
Overall2food2service1ambience2

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.

M
San Francisco
34 reviews
Dined on June 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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.

KD
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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.

OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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

LQ
Los Angeles
16 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience2

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.

RH
Orange County
13 reviews
Dined on May 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

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

AM
1 review
Dined on May 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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

JT
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on May 15, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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.

LA
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall3food2service2ambience4

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.

CB
Orange County
27 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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!

Tweets by El Mercado Modern Cuisine