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

El Mercado Modern Cuisine

4.6
4.6
353 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 12 times today

Order delivery or takeout

Additional information

  • Dining style
    Casual Dining
  • Price
    $30 and under
  • Cuisines
    Mexican, Global, International, Latin American
  • Hours of operation
    Brunch Sat, Sun 11:00 am–3:00 pm Dinner Tue–Thu 5:00 pm–10:00 pm Fri 5:00 pm–12:00 am 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 353 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

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

4.6
4.6 based on recent ratings
  • 4.5Food
  • 4.5Service
  • 4.4Ambience
  • 4.2Value

NoiseModerate

Loved For

  • North Orange County

    Mexican

353 Reviews
  1. OpenTable Diner

    Cincinnati

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on March 30, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Excellent food, service and atmosphere! Wonderful experience!

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  2. OpenTable Diner

    Vancouver

    8 reviews

    5.0

    8 reviews

    Dined on March 27, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 3
    4. Ambience 3
    It’s was an outstanding meal. Please see my Google review

    Is this helpful?

  3. Mars

    San Francisco

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on March 16, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    The food was quite tasty. My husband and I ordered four dishes for lunch and they were very beautifully presented and delicious as well. We plan to go back when we are in the area. We had the aguachile, quesadilla, Jamaica taco and carnitas and I would order those dishes again.

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  4. Rebeccagad

    Los Angeles

    11 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    11 reviews

    Dined on March 15, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    From the first surprisingly delicious bite everything was superb. Way beyond expectations. Will definitely be back with friends and family and spreading the word about this amazing restaurant. A remarkably fresh and unusual, yet highly tasty, take on some of the best food from Mexico. Thank you for existing!

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  5. OpenTable Diner

    Cancun

    12 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    12 reviews

    Dined on March 9, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Great food, outstanding service.. worth every penny

    Is this helpful?

  6. Jeff812

    Los Angeles

    7 reviews

    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on February 23, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Terrific evening. My server was great: knowledgeable and attentive. The pork belly taco was outstanding, and the passion fruit mezcal margarita was delicious. The chicken mole was good, but the skin side was over-seasoned and too salty. The mole itself was quite tasty, though.

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  7. OpenTable Diner

    Los Angeles

    4 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on February 18, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 3
    4. Ambience 5
    Everything about this place is perfect, drinks and food are delicious and the live music is really good. The only bad thing I have to say is that se male servers all addressed my wife at all times from the first moment we got there even though the reservation was under my name. Made her and I feel uncomfortable.

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  8. OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    2 reviews

    3.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on February 17, 2024

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 2
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 4
    Food wasn’t good as photos online. Visually appealing taste wise 6/10.

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  9. OpenTable Diner

    Orange County

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on February 17, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Amazing, cultivated flavor profiles!! Friendly and kind, involved servers. Great chef!!!

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  10. JB83

    Orange County

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on February 15, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Our experience was hands down one of the best we’ve ever had at any restaurant, especially because it was Valentine’s Day night. I was able to secure a last minute reservation through Open Table. We arrived a bit early for our table, but we were recommended to hang out at the bar area where we enjoyed some masterfully mixed cocktails and beer (highly recommend trying MadeWest beer on tap). The ambience was perfect that night, dimly lit with candles everywhere but not too dark, music playing but not too loud, the staff had wonderful food and drink recommendations, and we even tried crickets! Yes, crickets. Not something I would’ve ever ordered on my own, but glad I get to say that I tried them, and how honestly, mixed in with the guacamole, it elevated the flavor of the dip. All in all, I give this small cozy restaurant 5/5 stars. It’s a definite must visit, so add it to your list.

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  11. TedK

    Orange County

    2 reviews

    4.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on February 15, 2024

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Really neat restaurant, cool vibe and atmosphere, excellent service, very interesting menu and presentation. Not typical Mex food, but very clean and tasty. No chips and salsa, no cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, its Oaxaca'n style food. I had the pork belly tacos, tasty and wife had the chkn enchiladas. House red wine excellent, and try the grilled brussel sprouts appetizer. Excellent! Final check a little high, prices up there, I'd call it $$$ rather than $$. I recommend El Mercado.

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  12. OpenTable Diner

    Los Angeles

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 15, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 3
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    The food was ok did not match the price but it was plated really fufu ( fancy ) , the drinks were excellent the vibe was excellent. Would go back just for drinks.

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  13. PeggyR

    Denver

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on February 8, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    What a great place!! Excellent food, great service, in a cozy setting. We will be back for sure!!

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  14. OpenTable Diner

    Orange County

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 3, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 3
    The food was an excellent take on cuisine Mexican food.

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  15. atenkass

    Portland

    46 reviews

    5.0

    46 reviews

    Dined on January 21, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    We loved El Mercado we ate here twice during our visit to DTSA, even though there are lots of great restaurants here. The food and cocktails are outstanding, but we heard live music both nights (Thursday and Saturday) which was a big treat. Highly recommend. Definitely order the flourless Oaxacan chocolate cake to cap off your meal!

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  16. KevinC

    Orange County

    13 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    13 reviews

    Dined on January 14, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    An overall great experience. Out food was delicious, great service and ambience!

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  17. JonathanS

    Orange County

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 12, 2024

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 4
    Hosted our holiday party here and it was alot of fun. We highly recomend and look forward to coming back.

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  18. Erika

    Orange County

    3 reviews

    2.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on January 7, 2024

    1. Overall 2
    2. Food 2
    3. Service 2
    4. Ambience 2
    Michelin guide has set the bar very low. If this restaurant can get a mention in their guide, any restaurant can get it as well. The facilities, the service, the food and even the music are mediocre. Nothing to be remembered in a positive way. I don't believe I will revisit or recommend this restaurant at all.

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  19. SMP3

    Orange County

    17 reviews

    4.0

    17 reviews

    Dined on January 7, 2024

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    The food was delicious can’t say enough about how great it was.

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  20. NIMORA

    Phoenix

    2 reviews

    3.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on January 7, 2024

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 3
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    We came in with high expectations. Cocktails were good. Ambiance and waitstaff were super inviting and friendly. The food was just ok though. It was bland and missing that punch you would expect from a restaurant so highly rated. It just wasn’t worth the money.

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  21. YaliM

    Orange County

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on January 6, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Having a mother who cooks like the gods makes me picky about Mexican cuisine. This place offers authentic gourmet Mexican food to lick your fingers. The blue corn quesadilla, Pulpo A La Plancha and Carne Asada entrees were DELICIOUS. The sauces were simply phenomenal. The background music was perfect and lively. I guess, if you are a person who loves silence during dinner and does not care about getting great gourmet Mexican food this is not the place for you. Otherwise, you MUST hit this place, satisfaction is guaranteed. Extremely tasty!! We are coming back.

    1 person found this helpful

  22. RachaelL

    Washington DC

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 1, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    So yummy and friendly, even on new years eve! I'll be back. Recommend!

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  23. OpenTable Diner

    Orange County

    1 review

    vip
    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 24, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Amazing food, service and music. Celebrated Christmas at El Mercado and definitely would return.

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  24. AlmaS

    Las Vegas

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on December 23, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Delicious fresh food. Reminds me of my mom's cooking. The corn tortillas are so simple but absolutely delicious. We tried several popular dishes which did not disappoint. The cocktails were good but not strong.

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  25. OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    4 reviews

    4.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on December 23, 2023

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 3
    Good but can be very loud if live music. Service is awesome. Food is good but slipped off a little bit from peak. Overall recommend.

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  26. KarryeB

    Los Angeles

    4 reviews

    4.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on December 16, 2023

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Host was very gracious when we asked to be seated outside on the patio. We arrived just after 12 noon on a Saturday. Mom had a chicken sandwich with homemade potato chips. Nice lettuce and tomato and sauce she said. Me? Hey Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so I had pancakes! Nicely warmed syrup and good tasting pancakes. Yummy!

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  27. MarianneT

    Orange County

    12 reviews

    5.0

    12 reviews

    Dined on December 16, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    First time at El Mercado and was pleasantly surprised. The food was really something, brussel sprouts and cauliflower appetizers were phenomenal and the octopus was a beautiful dish. Service was excellent (a one man show who was quick to take orders and deliver the drinks) and fast. Would recommend for a different experience of Mexican food.

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  28. UriR

    Orange County

    2 reviews

    3.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on December 9, 2023

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 3
    Food presentation 10/10 Food taste 8/10 Do not get the Agua fresca it taste like if it was from a machine 0/10 had to ask to swap it for a soda and even the soda didn’t good taste like there wasn’t the right combination of gas and syrup. The server was alright nothing great needs to smile more. My enchiladas had a big bone inside which is a lack of care from the chef

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  29. OpenTable Diner

    Orange County

    9 reviews

    5.0

    9 reviews

    Dined on November 27, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Absolutely amazing experience with super knowledgeable staff.

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  30. OpenTable Diner

    Los Angeles

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on November 13, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    One of the best kept secrets in the OC. Cocktail’s were outstanding and the food exceeded expectations. Worth the drive.

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  31. Jessie

    Los Angeles

    5 reviews

    4.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on November 11, 2023

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 5
    It is worth a try this cute charming restaurant. I was not familiar with the area so parking got me extremely frustrated and also knowing I had to walk a short distance. There’s construction around the restaurant and I do feel bad for the owner that is not entirely easy to just valet park or see the front door from the street. But when I finally figured out the parking debacle, I was pleasantly surprised to see how nice the vibe was. A musician was playing and he was FANTASTIC!! service was good once they finally got to you. Seems that Friday night employees had called in so there was ONE waiter but he was pleasant and apologized for the wait and the parking. Food was GOOD and the drinks ok. Overall we ultimately had a very nice dinner and enjoyed the music a lot. I would recommend this spot.

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  32. OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on November 8, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Great food, great service. Priced very well. Carne Asada was 10/10. All the flavors combined together were outstanding.

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  33. OpenTable Diner

    Los Angeles

    2 reviews

    3.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on November 5, 2023

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 2
    4. Ambience 4
    Came here Saturday night, food is really good, very flavorful. Just service us EXTREMELY SLOW. Ordered 2 apps, 3 entrees They brought them all out at once, but took about almost 40 minutes

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  34. OpenTable Diner

    Los Angeles

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on October 29, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    The food was amazing & the ambience was phenomenal. The service though was not it, even though they did a 20% auto gratuity.

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  35. AnaV

    Orange County

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on October 29, 2023

    1. Overall 2
    2. Food 3
    3. Service 1
    4. Ambience 3
    The service was just very slow, there were so many issues with bringing the food out to the tables. We were celebrating our anniversary order drinks and an appetizer drinks came out but not the appetizer then we decided to order our food that came before then the appetizer. Server never offered if we wanted to order more drinks or re filled our water glasses. Just over all not very good service.

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  36. JujGrif

    Central Coast

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on October 25, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Service was excellent and the atmosphere was great! Food and drinks were amazing! Definitely returning!

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  37. KCtheGFreeFoodie

    San Francisco

    9 reviews

    5.0

    9 reviews

    Dined on October 21, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 4
    Very accommodating for gluten free and the food and cocktails are amazing

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  38. SaraV

    Oaxaca

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on October 13, 2023

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    We had a wonderful experience at La Mercado. Because we are both vegetarians, it isn’t always easy to find restaurants that serve good vegetarian Mexican food. But La Mercado does! We ordered the enchilladas, empanadas and the vegetarian taco’s. The only downpoint for us was that the music was a little to loud, which made it hard to speak. But overall a great experience.

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  39. Steve

    Los Angeles

    291 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    291 reviews

    Dined on October 12, 2023

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 4
    There was no one in the restaurant due to the street being half closed for new sewer pipes beng installed. The happy hour tacos and enchiladas were excellent. Glad we were there for happy hour as 4 tacos and two enchiladas came out to $47 with no drinks. Still, the food was really good, with a hint of spice to make one sweat. The music was a touch too loud for my tastes, but no complaining there.

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  40. WilliamW

    Los Angeles

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on October 11, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    A great fine in Old Town Santa Ana. There was not much of a crowd the day I dined; however, servers told me that on weekends, when there is live music/DJ, the restaurant is booked. The food had an interesting nouveau twist to traditional dishes. I would definitely go back!

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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 4.6 stars by 353 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 12 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 Sat, Sun 11:00 am–3:00 pm Dinner Tue–Thu 5:00 pm–10:00 pm Fri 5:00 pm–12:00 am Sat 3:00 pm–12:00 am Sun 3:00 pm–9:00 pm
  • Price
    $30 and under
  • 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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