Tangata Restaurant

4.4
1350 reviews
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$30 and under
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Pacific Rim
Experience a culinary juxtaposition of Pacific Rim and California cuisine. Set aside the celebrated Bower Museum in Santa Ana, Tangata Restaurant is the perfect spot to enjoy an afternoon. Deemed the "hidden gem of sophisticated California Cuisine" by the OC Examiner and winner of the OpenTable "Diner's Choice" and "Great for Lunch" Awards, Tangata is sure to satisfy any appetite.
What 1350 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
4.2
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
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JC
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined a day ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food; this is not the average museum café. We really enjoyed our meal.

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LL
Orange County
3 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 4

Tangata is a fun place to enjoy a meal while visiting the Bower's Museum. I've eaten there many times and the food is always good. The only issue that's sometimes a problem is the service. It can be a little slow, but usually we're not in a rush, so it doesn't matter too much. Our waiter on our most recent visit was a little odd. He would walk away while we were talking to him, or he was answering a question for us. Not exactly rude, but not great service either. Still...we'll be going back and will recommend Tangata to friends.

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NK
Orange County
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 3

It’s the only restaurant at the museum so if you want to eat you need to eat there. Perhaps a weekday is calmer and not so noisy. It was hard to talk.

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F
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful, elegant, delicious atmosphere and food! Creative beautiful presentation!
Will always eat there when I go to the Bowers👍🏼💕

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OT
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 5

Took my girlfriend, she got the burger and I got the stuffed raviolis. Burger was just like any other, nothing special, it was good but not $17 good. I got the Ravioli atop a bed of sautéed spinach which was okay, definitely very oily but not bad. Where they really recovered was the key lime cheesecake with mango purée. Extremely exciting dish and looks wonderful, very tasty, would only go back for desert.

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MC
Orange County
4 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lunch before the museum tour
Great lunch and great museum show

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GL
Orange County
4 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 2food 3service 3ambience 2

Tangata is very convenient for a visit to Bowers Museum. They tend to be packed - reservations are important, but be prepared to wait 20 - 40 minutes even so. The food is inconsistent over time. Two months ago, the steak salad was a rave - yesterday it was a 3. The hamburger yesterday was outstanding, however. Service is generally very good, but the sound level (seated inside) is so high it hits you like a wall. Impossible to carry on a conversation. On the past, crab cakes have been excellent.

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OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 3

The service and noise level would be better when not scheduled right at the lunch hour. The exhibits dump a large number of people, and the noise level rises dramatically! If you choose to go a bit later it is far more easy to carry on a conversation. Our service was good - just a bit slower due to our eating time.

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ND
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 3

The restaurant was quite loud as it was completely filled due to the popular Guo Pei exhibit. Luckily, the parking attendant alerted us to the fact that we need reservations. Once in the front door of the museum, we went online and made a reservation. The ambience is very nice and the service was attentive. The food was good but expensive. The waiter suggested that we each have our own dessert rather than splitting. We chose the key lime pie and found it only ok. Also, it was sufficient that two women could have shared it. Check out the key lime pie at CA Pizza Kitchen.

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k
San Diego
9 reviews
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Excellent food.
Very noisy cannot hear yourself speak

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a
1 review
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 4

Bowers Museum is beautiful, and restaurant is beautiful. But, service was poor, tea and cappucinos arrived cold, and did not come with our "First course" (desserts) as we had requested. Then main course was brought before we'd had a chance to finish our first course, and tiny table was over-crowded with plates. Lemon dessert was disappointingly lacking in lemon flavor. But raviolis were delicious.

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J
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

It's fine for a museum and a little bit better than usual. Our waiter/server was outstanding however when we came in to be seated with a reservation, the host was not available for a few minutes and a helper/bus boy in his 50's tried to help and was very confused and did not speaker or understand English well telling us we did not have an appointment then when I insisted, he looked at the schedule and said it was not there and seemed argumentative. Then changed his mind several times that it was other times but not clear what he was saying...anyway, the host came to the rescue and all was fine. So why I am writing about this...I thik management should not have non-English speaking employees helping the public if the job requires critical communication. One to the other employees told us that this employee tends to get confused a lot and confuses a lot of people. So at least I was validated for the frustration.

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TF
Orange County
32 reviews
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Very nice ... food was excellent in a modern setting. It was busy because of a wonderful exhibit at the museum, but servers did their best! Energetic noise level because full, but think they could add some creative, modern ceiling fabric to knock that noise down a bit.

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D
Orange County
6 reviews
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

The food was wonderful as always. It was just extremely loud. And I felt as though extra tables had been added which just enhanced the feeling of over crowding.

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LB
San Joaquin
7 reviews
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 4

I had the crab cakes (2) with cucumber salad and aioli. They were very good. The serving was small, especially the cucumber salad. The restaurant is open and bright, very nice for lunch. It's a nice ambiance, comfortable and quiet enough for conversation.

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RT
Orange County
3 reviews
Dined on July 2, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

All was great, but there must be a way to keep the flies out..

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LH
San Diego
3 reviews
Dined on June 30, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Next time, I'll try to sit outdoors. While the service was outstanding and the food very good, the noise level at peak lunch hour is a bit much for me. Maybe it's my age. I love the decor and connection to the museum, so I'll definitely return again.

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M
Los Angeles
41 reviews
Dined on June 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I wish that all the museums had restaurants as fab as Tangata. Love it. Never disappoints. Make sure to make a reservation.

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P
Orange County
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 3ambience 4

Food was delicious! We had to wait to be seated 15 mins after our reservation time. Our Server was nice in the beginning and then made us feel like we were an inconvenience. He delivered coffee without asking if creme and sugar were needed. When asked for both, he brought both but without a spoon. I then had to ask for a spoon. These are simple customer service tactics that should be thought of when if trying to deliver excellent service. He brought the check without asking if we wanted dessert. We then had to ask him for the menu because we wanted to order dessert.
Towards the middle/end of our meal our table was swarmed with flies. That's never appetizing.
But again, food was delicious! Thank you.

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CM
San Diego
6 reviews
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

A group of 5 ate immediately following an art project associated with the Bower's so it was quite busy. Fortunately we were seated outside. Inside was very noisy with so many people. Our server was excellent in spite of having tables with large(r) parties.

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DS
Orange County
5 reviews
Dined on June 25, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Food and wait service were good. It took quite a while for the food to come out.

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FK
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on June 25, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 2

Incredibly noisy. Difficult to carry on a conversation. Felt like a cafeteria rather than a rather upscale eatery.

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i
Los Angeles
13 reviews
Dined on June 25, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

Food was very good, noise level, out of control! The four women behind were all wearing
very strong fragrances, it was gag worthy!
Reservations are a must!

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EB
1 review
Dined on June 25, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 4

Thank goodness for Open Table! I had forgotten to make a reservation and remembered that morning. I looked on-line to see when Tangata opened and saw that I could use Open Table at an early hour. I'm sure without the Open Table request, I would not have gotten a table for 6 at the time I requested.
Thanks!
Ellen

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OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on June 23, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

We had a great time and the waitstaff was awesome.
We all ordered the same dish though, so there was no “taste testing” of other dishes! We were highly recommended THE DRAGON OF HUÁNGHAI ...
Barramundi seabass, forbidden black rice, roasted fennel, coconut curry sauce, crispy rainbow carrots, and pea tendril at $23. Unfortunately, they were out of Sea Bass and Coho was substituted and was described as a white fish which it was NOT! The dish was very good but the flavors of the rice and coconut curry sauce were so delicate, they could not be enjoyed as fully with the stronger tasting Coho. With that being said, every plate was devoured!
The highlight were the desserts which were THE GOLDEN EMPRESS which was comprised of
Meyer lemon mousse, caramel chantilly, sesame coconut crisp at $11, ICE CREAM SUDAE with
Brown butter cornbread, crumble, blackberries at $8 and the KEY LIME CHEESECAKE with Strawberry sauce at $9. The cheesecake was absolutely outstanding though the strawberry sauce was apparently substituted for a mango looking sauce instead.
The inside restaurant has a modern open lunch spot type feel and the dining chairs are super comfortable.
I wished it had a little better fine dining feel for the cost of our lunch and our bread basket cloth looked dirty.
Overall it was a success and look forward to going again.
Oh! The cappuccino was amazing!!!

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s
Los Angeles
46 reviews
Dined on June 23, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

this was the first time at brunch, I think, the omelette was actually quite small and I had frizee lettuce. since there was barely any customers at that time, there could have been a bit more attention, my friend had to get up to request more syrup for her french toast. it was NOT worth what we paid

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KB
1 review
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

I love this restaurant. The only problem is the noise level inside the dining room. The outside patio area is great.

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D
Los Angeles
58 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Food and service was very nice. The atmosphere was okay, not much character.

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CA
Orange County
1 review
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Menu choice was limited, but food was good. It was extremely noisy inside. Hard to have a conversation. If it had been a warmer day it would be better to sit outside.

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LC
1 review
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Very good food. Friendly and speedy service - for a restaurant inside a museum, this is very nice!

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E
Orange County
5 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

Great location at the bowers museum. I enjoyed the crab cakes although very small portions. Very nice server although not timely in refilling beverages. Very slow,over 30 minute wait to get our entrees.

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C
Los Angeles
7 reviews
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

We had reservations, but were about 20 minutes late being seated.
It's always soooo noisy. Service was so-so.
Still we go there!

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SL
New York Area
1 review
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Dining at Tangata is always a lovely, delicious experience. However, yesterday every table was full, and the noise was over the top. I don't think the restaurant was prepared for the influx because our server could hardly accommodate the tables he was assigned to. The duck confit salad was new to me, and I found each bite to be a delicious, intriguing surprise. I would definitely order it again. But first I would try the sea bass salad; unfortunately, they had just run out of sea bass when I placed my order at 11:45! The bread and butter were irresistible, and I ate more than I should have! We didn't have dessert. In spite of the noise and limited service, I will be back again and will continue to recommend this lovely spot!

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AG
1 review
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Fun to do while visiting the museum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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m
Orange County
22 reviews
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Delicious food and excellent service

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L
Los Angeles
13 reviews
Dined on June 20, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 3

Tangata is a very nice restaurant at which to eat when you visit the Bowers Museum. I had made a reservation for two for that day so there was no wait. We chose the special salad designed to accompany the GUO PEI exhibit. The salad was good and attractive but not particularly large. The server came by and noticed that my friend's plate was empty and whisked her plate away without inquiring if she was finished and then barely after I had taken my final bite whisked away mine. He returned shortly thereafter with a complementary dessert as I had mentioned at the outset that it was my friend's birthday but had not inquired whether we wanted to see the dessert menu or if we wanted coffee. We had to call him over so that I could order some coffee. The restaurant was at that time was not full as it was after 1:30 so I really could not see why they seemed in a rush to turn the table.

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G
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on June 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was great. Service was wonderful! There was a special event at the museum so it was crowded and a bit noisy. Other than that I loved it!

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CC
Orange County
5 reviews
Dined on June 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Perfect in every possible way. The grilled cheese and tomato may sound a little bit uninteresting, but it was spectacular.

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OT
1 review
Dined on June 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very good service and food. A bit noisy but restaurant full

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PC
New Mexico
1 review
Dined on June 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Must book a reservation in advance especially during the Guo Pei show as it is very busy. A bit loud in the interior and unable to hear person I was with, but otherwise great food and great service.

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