VACA

4.5
882 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Spanish
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About

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.
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
Spanish
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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
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Phone number
(714) 463-6060
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Amar Santana
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Bristol
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Parking details
Self parking in the structure is complimentary with validation both day and night.
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 Menu, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 882 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.5based on all time ratings
4.4
food
4.4
service
4.3
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
87% of people would recommend it to a friend
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BT
Los Angeles
20 reviews
Dined on August 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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

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CM
Orange County
1 review
Dined on July 22, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 3ambience 3

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.

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L
Los Angeles
45 reviews
Dined on July 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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

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AK
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on July 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Exceptional food and excellent service

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DZ
1 review
Dined on July 1, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 5ambience 3

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. Never coming back.

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OT
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 5

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.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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!

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OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on June 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I would highly recommend VACA!

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MA
Los Angeles
8 reviews
Dined on June 25, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

The food took a long time and was over priced

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JQ
1 review
Dined on June 24, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

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

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OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on June 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing thank you to the entire staff. ❤️

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AQ
1 review
Dined on June 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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!

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F
Los Angeles
28 reviews
Dined on June 23, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

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.

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c
Los Angeles
13 reviews
Dined on June 20, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

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.

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f
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on June 18, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 3

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.

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SQ
Orange County
5 reviews
Dined on June 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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.

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OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on June 16, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

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.

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WW
Salt Lake City
4 reviews
Dined on June 16, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 5

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.

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BE
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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.

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DC
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on June 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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!

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LC
New Orleans
1 review
Dined on June 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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

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SM
1 review
Dined on June 14, 2018
Overall 3food 1service 4ambience 5

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.

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OT
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on June 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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!

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C
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on June 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

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.

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AB
San Diego
5 reviews
Dined on June 12, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 4

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

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1
Los Angeles
16 reviews
Dined on June 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

I love this restaurant, great food, great manager she is great

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LS
Orange County
1 review
Dined on June 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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

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TW
Orange County
41 reviews
Dined on June 9, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

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.

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OT
1 review
Dined on June 3, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

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.

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DG
1 review
Dined on June 2, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

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!

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F
Orange County
77 reviews
Dined on June 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

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!

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AG
New York Area
1 review
Dined on June 1, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

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.

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L
Orange County
25 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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.

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JM
Orange County
3 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

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

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R
Los Angeles
24 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

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

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b
Orange County
1 review
Dined on May 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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

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OT
Dallas
4 reviews
Dined on May 27, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

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.

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OT
1 review
Dined on May 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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.

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b
Los Angeles
18 reviews
Dined on May 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Service is exceptional. Food is excellent. Drinks were perfect.

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LW
Los Angeles
5 reviews
Dined on May 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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

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