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VACA

4.5
4.5
883 Reviews
$31 to $50
Spanish
Ahmed Labbate and Chef Amar Santana’s inaugural effort is the hugely successful Broadway in Laguna Beach, CA. The pair will extend their influence on Orange County’s dining scene with the acquisition of new space in Costa Mesa’s Park Towers. “Spanish food is influenced by the cultures that have invaded and mixed with the indigenous cuisine. Our goal goes far beyond paella and bocadillos. We will bring Barcelona, Madrid, Andalucía, Sevilla and the Basque to Orange County — just as Broadway has re-interpreted food and drink in Laguna,” said Santana.

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Additional information

  • Dining style

    Casual Dining

  • Cuisines

    Spanish

  • Hours of operation

    Lunch: Monday thru Friday; 11 am - 02:30 pm, Bar open 11 - Close Dinner: Tuesday thru Saturday; 5:00 pm - 10:30 pm Dinner: Sunday & Monday; 5:00 pm - 09:30 pm

  • Phone number

    (714) 463-6060

  • Payment options

    AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

  • Dress code

    Casual Dress

  • Executive chef

    Amar Santana

  • Neighborhood

    Costa Mesa

  • Cross street

    Bristol

  • Parking details

    Self parking in the structure is complimentary with validation both day and night.<br />Valet is complimentary during lunch hours and $7 in the evening.

  • Additional

    Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Chef's Table, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Gluten-free Options, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine

What 883 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

4.5
4.5 based on all time ratings
  • 4.4Food
  • 4.4Service
  • 4.3Ambience
  • 3.9Value

NoiseModerate

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  1. BT

    BillT

    Los Angeles

    40 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    40 reviews

    Dined on August 25, 2018

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We dine out often. The food, service and ambiance was excellent. Creative.
  2. CM

    ColinM

    Orange County

    4 reviews

    2.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on July 23, 2018

    overall2food3service3ambience3
    Looked forward to this place since we saw the write-up in the OC Register. Was hard to get reservations. Food was good, but pricey. If you're spending that kind of money, I expect the food to be top-notch. It wasn't bad, but didn't meet my high expectations. They also threw in a 3% surcharge for no real reason and said we could ask for it to be removed. Seemed tacky to be "nickel and diming" us on a $200 meal. We paid it, but it left a bad taste. Was great to try once, doubt we will be back.
  3. L

    Luvnlife

    Los Angeles

    91 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    91 reviews

    Dined on July 16, 2018

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Love!! Love the food, the ambience and everyone that works there (amazing)! Vaca tonic is the best drink in town! A must! Hands down!
  4. AK

    AleK

    Los Angeles

    6 reviews

    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on July 7, 2018

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Exceptional food and excellent service
  5. DZ

    DaleZ

    Orange County

    1 review

    1.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 2, 2018

    overall1food1service5ambience3
    Tres leches had no flavor. Steak was good. Deviled eggs were good. No rice nor beans on menu. Would have rather spent the money at Lawry’s in Beverly Hills. It was such a disappointment.
  6. TV

    TanyaV

    Orange County

    2 reviews

    3.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on June 30, 2018

    overall3food3service3ambience5
    Ambiance is nice. With the high price, the food is not as good. Our server was not attentive, she came by only about 3 times, 2 out of 3 were for ordering & the other was to give our bills.
  7. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on June 29, 2018

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Vaca was a fantastic experience. I took my wife and in laws here for dinner. It was their first experience with traditional Spanish style food. Everything we ordered was extremely tasty. The service was tremendous. He suggested the four of us split a Paella and steak, which was exactly what worked for us. Can’t wait to come back!
  8. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Orange County

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 26, 2018

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    I would highly recommend VACA!
  9. MA

    MinooA

    Los Angeles

    9 reviews

    vip
    3.0

    9 reviews

    Dined on June 25, 2018

    overall3food4service3ambience3
    The food took a long time and was over priced
  10. JQ

    JorgeQ

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 25, 2018

    overall2food2service3ambience3
    The service was good and friendly, however, the food portions were very small and pricy.
  11. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Orange County

    2 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on June 24, 2018

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Amazing thank you to the entire staff. ❤️
  12. AQ

    AnnQ

    Los Angeles

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on June 24, 2018

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great tapas, paella and delicious steaks. Look no further for your next night out, this place will suit your every need. The jamon iberico is a must try!
  13. F

    Foodieguy

    Los Angeles

    34 reviews

    vip
    2.0

    34 reviews

    Dined on June 24, 2018

    overall2food2service2ambience3
    Overall very average dining experience. I’ve dined at a lot of nice restaurants and this one seems highly overrated. I probably won’t go back.
  14. c

    carbuffme

    Los Angeles

    16 reviews

    4.0

    16 reviews

    Dined on June 21, 2018

    overall4food5service5ambience4
    Attentive and fast service of good Spanish tapas; young crowd and quite energetic environment; many theater goers having a drink filled the restaurant before 8 pm; good experience to be repeated soon.
  15. f

    fplspider

    Orange County

    7 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on June 19, 2018

    overall5food4service5ambience3
    This was our second visit and it was just as good as the first. Great food, very friendly and helpful staff. We will definitely be going back.
  16. SQ

    SusieQ

    Milwaukee

    8 reviews

    5.0

    8 reviews

    Dined on June 18, 2018

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The atmosphere is welcoming, the food is beautifully presented and delicious and the wait staff is attentive. The large tapas menu is great for those with smaller appetites. Many healthy options.
  17. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Orange County

    2 reviews

    4.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on June 17, 2018

    overall4food4service3ambience4
    Food is always awesome, but somehow we always end up with the same server when we eat here and he isn’t very warm and welcoming. Doesn’t engage in conversation and isn’t open to giving thoughtful recommendations.
  18. WW

    WWTravelerK

    Salt Lake City

    5 reviews

    3.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on June 17, 2018

    overall3food3service5ambience5
    Good tapas and beef, but paella was really disappointing. It was more like Chinese fried rice with shrimps and mussels. I've traveled all over Spain, and I know how these should taste like. I didn't expect them to be the same, but paella was not even close. Otherwise, restaurant ambiance and servers were nice.
  19. BE

    BetsyE

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 16, 2018

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We came with 8 people to celebrate my son's graduation. The staff was friendly and attentive and we were able to find several options for both our vegan and gluten free guests. Small plates allowed us to try a range of items which also made the experience more enjoyable.
  20. DC

    DCC5

    New York Area

    6 reviews

    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on June 15, 2018

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    I've been several times now. Donnie Perez always takes good care of us. The food is amazing, wine list interesting and service effortless. I love this place. Not only is it all the aforementioned, it's not outrageously priced! Nice to have such great food and service at a price that doesn't break the banks. I'll be back again!
  21. LC

    LorinC

    New Orleans

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 15, 2018

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    It was great! Serious was super fast, and they got us out super fast to get to the symphony! Recommend...
  22. SP

    SPatel

    Orange County

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 15, 2018

    overall3food1service4ambience5
    If you haven’t eaten in LA or other cities known for their food then perhaps you love this place. IF you have avoid the overpriced mediocre food and save your money.
  23. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Orange County

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on June 14, 2018

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    My friends and I went there for our birthdays and loved it. We ordered maybe 6-8 tapas between the 3 of us and there were leftovers. Server and staff were very attentive and helpful. Ambiance was great - the vibe and people there! Definitely coming back!
  24. C

    Castlerock

    Orange County

    7 reviews

    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on June 14, 2018

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    Have been to Vaca several times. You really can't go wrong with any of the small plates which are perfect for sharing on that special date night. Though listed as a side, the patatas bravas are outstanding covered in a delicious sauce that has just the right amount of spice. Excellent paella for those who love the Spanish dish - would recommend the Paella del carne. The cocktail menu contains several interesting concoctions - would particularly recommend any of the gin and tonics.
  25. AB

    AlmaB

    San Diego

    8 reviews

    vip
    2.0

    8 reviews

    Dined on June 12, 2018

    overall2food2service3ambience4
    Not close to authentic Spanish Cuisine. The place has an interesting decor, waiters are nice and friendly, but we were disappointed on our dishes.
  26. 1

    11dd

    Los Angeles

    19 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    19 reviews

    Dined on June 11, 2018

    overall5food5service4ambience5
    I love this restaurant, great food, great manager she is great
  27. LS

    LisaS

    Orange County

    8 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    8 reviews

    Dined on June 10, 2018

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The best filet I’ve had! Paella Valenciana & drinks were delicious. We’ll definitely be back!
  28. TW

    TWEED

    Orange County

    43 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    43 reviews

    Dined on June 10, 2018

    overall4food4service4ambience5
    We sat on back patio on a summer evening before a symphony. Everything was right. The valet parking is $7 when you leave and you can attend a show-a great value in that area. While the dining room can be very noisy, the outdoor seating is excellent. The tapas were each wonderful with our favorites being the shrimp and the octopus. We tried a mixed grill, on the menu with Fathers Day coming. It was good but was equal to 3-4 tapa servings so we had more than we needed. The chocolate/marshmallow ice cream was rich and a nice end to a delightful meal. Our waiter was very knowledgeable but the tapas are delivered from the kitchen when done. We had not finished our drinks when the food started arriving. That was on us as we had not alerted the waiter and most folks seem to want to eat right away. We asked the kitchen to slow down the food which they did. Several tapas were brought to our table that we had not ordered but it worked out fine when we let the food runner know we did not order them. The value in the summer at Segerstrom is hard to beat - good parking, good bar, good food and nice folks. Not much more to want.
  29. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 4, 2018

    overall3food2service3ambience3
    Came here with my husband for our 12th year wedding anniversary, it was recommended by a friend and we love tapas. We were seated at a very small table and very close to people sitting to our left and right side, which I wasn’t crazy about and our uneven table rocked the whole evening. We ordered the pulpo and I was disappointed. This tasted greasy and my husband liked it even less. The dates wrapped in jamón serrano with goat cheese were very good, they had the perfect balance. The oxtail was good but I wouldn’t say there was anything special about it. The best thing we ordered was the bone marrow, it was amazing! So flavorful! The service was just ok, again nothing special. The Tempranillo wine was also ok. Overall the experience was mediocre for the price I was expecting something more unique and special. My husband said he wouldn’t come back. I would only recommend the bone marrow to a friend, hence my third star. I really wanted to love it but wasn’t very impressed.
  30. DG

    DeniaG

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 3, 2018

    overall5food4service5ambience5
    My husband and I celebrated our 19th anniversary and wanted to try something different. We absolutely loved VACA! Great food, ambiance, and service! We're definitely planning on coming back. We loved the tapas and the Valencia Paella. Also love the Jamon Iberico!
  31. F

    Finefoodie

    Orange County

    96 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    96 reviews

    Dined on June 3, 2018

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    We've been to VACA at least six or seven times but would say this was probably our best meal there. Service was more engaging and not rushed. Each dish was excellent and steaks were unbelievably flavorful. So glad we came back!
  32. AG

    AlejandraG

    Orange County

    2 reviews

    3.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on June 2, 2018

    overall3food3service3ambience3
    My Husband is from Spain and we go to Vaca to enjoy authentic Spanish cuisine. The restaurant is small and the tables too close to each other, but the food is good. We love the patatas bravas, pan con tomate, calamares, bison, but we always go for the Vegetable Paella. Unfortunately, yesterday it was my husbands birthday and they had changed the Paella for a Fideua (Pasta instead of rice) which makes it a completely different dish, not a Paella. And even though I had mentioned it was his birthday, the server did not bring any dessert/candle or anything to make it a special dinner, disappointed.
  33. L

    Lnmarie

    Orange County

    34 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    34 reviews

    Dined on June 2, 2018

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We’ve been to this place before as a family of 5 where our service was slow and lacking since our server was also attending to the patio. This time it was just my husband and I for dinner before a performance next door. Our server was awesome. We had several great tapas selections and shared a steak. Very nice meal and convenient to valet and walk to Segerstrom.
  34. JM

    JoeM

    Orange County

    3 reviews

    4.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on June 2, 2018

    overall4food4service5ambience3
    Wait staff (Tamar and two males whose names I cannot recall) were excellent and very helpful. Accommodating but not obsequious. Perfect balance!
  35. R

    Rubyman

    Los Angeles

    31 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    31 reviews

    Dined on May 31, 2018

    overall4food5service5ambience5
    Vaca is hitting on all eight cylinders. Food, Service, atmosphere. The real deal.
  36. b

    bert

    Orange County

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 30, 2018

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Server was attentive and reliable. Front personnel was inviting and made guest feel welcomed.
  37. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Los Angeles

    6 reviews

    3.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on May 28, 2018

    overall3food4service2ambience3
    Came here for a birthday dinner . The food was great ! Service was very slow especially for a restuarant that was not crowded . I ordered ice cream for dessert and then they brought a sorbet ice cream as a free birthday treat. I would have rather they just comped the ice cream I ordered. Then after spending well over a hundred dollars, we were going to spend more until the bartender was rude and gave us attitude when we requested a tequila they didn't have . She threw the drink menu at us and said we don't have that !" Needless to say , we walked out without purchasing anything else and I am sure she was oblivious to the whole thing.
  38. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 27, 2018

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Excellent food and service ! Good I tried it out before flying out of the US. Have always been focused on the restaurants of South Coast Plaza not knowing the best is just across.
  39. b

    best2bites

    Los Angeles

    33 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    33 reviews

    Dined on May 26, 2018

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    Service is exceptional. Food is excellent. Drinks were perfect.
  40. LW

    LucyW

    Los Angeles

    7 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on May 26, 2018

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Always a great meal here. Love the tapas and the vibe!

FAQs

VACA is rated 4.5 stars by 883 OpenTable diners.

Not available on OpenTable

Unfortunately, this restaurant is not on the OpenTable reservation network.

If you like, we'll notify you by email if this restaurant joins.


Is this your restaurant?
Claim this listing

Additional information

  • Cross street

    Bristol

  • Neighborhood

    Costa Mesa

  • Hours of operation

    Lunch: Monday thru Friday; 11 am - 02:30 pm, Bar open 11 - Close Dinner: Tuesday thru Saturday; 5:00 pm - 10:30 pm Dinner: Sunday & Monday; 5:00 pm - 09:30 pm

  • Cuisines

    Spanish

  • Dining style

    Casual Dining

  • Dress code

    Casual Dress

  • Parking details

    Self parking in the structure is complimentary with validation both day and night.<br />Valet is complimentary during lunch hours and $7 in the evening.

  • Payment options

    AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

  • Executive chef

    Amar Santana

  • Additional

    Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Chef's Table, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Gluten-free Options, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine

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