El Mercado Modern Cuisine

4.6
144 Reviews
$30 and under
Mexican
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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.

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 144 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.7
service
4.7
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
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d
danielj
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everything about this place is perfect. The ambience, food, drinks and service are always top-notch!

MO
MonicaO
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on February 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Limited menu but the food and service was great.

C
Carlita
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on February 19, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was amazing and great service.
Safely outside with nice heaters.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Orange County
3 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2021
Overall3food3service3ambience3

The staff was short handed for it being Valentine’s Day. Staff was very friendly, but it was clear they were slammed.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience5

Need to work on timing of bringing dishes out to table as my hubby got his meal 10-15 minutes before me but overall great and we’ll be back! Drinks are uber yummy!

VO
VivianaO
1 review
Dined on February 13, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Loved the cocktails! This is a gem of a restaurant. The food was rich and delicious as well. We had the pork belly tacos and taquitos.

B
adamB
1 review
Dined on February 13, 2021
Overall3food2service1ambience3

I appreciate that these are enormously challenging times for the F&B industry and on that I expect longer wait times and slow service. Some of the staff here appeared to be working very hard but overall service seemed pretty disorganized. We waited about 15min to be seated but I saw others waiting much longer. We ordered chips & salsa, aguachile, arrachera, and one draft beer. The beer came out first but after at least a 15min wait. After about 20min came the chips and salsa. The chips were by far the best part of the meal. My date ordered the aguachile as her entree but perhaps the person who took our order misunderstood (I think he may have been a manager) as her dish came out about 15min before mine. I was about to just ask for the check and leave when my entree finally showed up. The arrachera was fine but unimpressive for a $26 plate. Also, just personal preference, but if you like a little kick in your food, this place probably isn't for you. Neither the salsa nor aguachile had any heat to it whatsoever.

The kitchen and expo line are pretty small and there was a large party of twelve or so inside so that may have been tying things up. Also, the bar seemed to be working on a number of elaborate cocktails, some with a smoker. Those concepts are cool if you can still pull off proper service but I saw tables waiting 20+ min for their cocktails.

Maybe they were having an off night but I would not recommend or return to this property.

LA
LAPages007
1 review
Dined on February 13, 2021
Overall4food3service4ambience4

Overall, the experience was pleasant. The guacamole and chips was amazingly delicious. The Carnitas and the chicken enchiladas were authentic and delicious. My only disappointment was the black beans, way too runny, having no consistency at all. It was more like a soup.

Overall, willing to revisit again.

IS
vipIanS
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on February 12, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Really great, creative food. Amazing service. Our server took the time to thoroughly explain the menu. Definitely going back.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on February 11, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was delicious. We had enchiladas and tacos and guacamole and chips. We also had drinks I had whiskey and she had tequila and both were tasty and fit perfectly with our meals. I’m so glad we went there finally. Definitely going to be coming back. Thank you

SG
vipSophiaG
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on February 4, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My favorite place! The food and drinks are delicious. Everyone who works there is kind and the place is super cute. Get the carnitas and coconut ice cream.

TL
TauniaL
1 review
Dined on February 4, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Hands down some of the most delicious tortillas I’ve ever tasted! Drinks are incredible food never disappoints. They have a great happy hour menu and never compromise on the quality of what they offer. I’m also eager to see what the chef has prepared each week for their “taco trio”. The vegetarian options are also a must when ordering the trio... I have never had a taco here I didn’t enjoy! I consider it a hidden gem in the heart of Santa Ana. Love this place!

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
2 reviews
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
20 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
4 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
vipOpenTable Diner
Orange County
9 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
64 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.

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 144 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.

Tweets by El Mercado Modern Cuisine