Discovering the Authentic Mexican Cuisine in Orange County, CA

Discover the top Mexican restaurants in Orange County, CA and experience the authentic flavors of Mexico in this vibrant county. From traditional dishes to modern fusion cuisine, there is something for every palate.

Discovering the Authentic Mexican Cuisine in Orange County, CA

Orange County, California is known for its beautiful beaches, sunny weather, and diverse culture. But one aspect of this county that often gets overlooked is its amazing Mexican cuisine. With a large Hispanic population, Orange County is home to some of the best Mexican restaurants in the state. From traditional street tacos to modern fusion dishes, there is something for every palate in this vibrant county.

The Influence of Mexican Culture in Orange County

Before we dive into the popular Mexican restaurants in Orange County, it's important to understand the influence of Mexican culture in this area.

Orange County has a long history with Mexico, dating back to the 1800s when it was still a part of Mexico. Today, over 30% of the county's population is of Hispanic or Latino descent, making it one of the most diverse counties in California. This strong Mexican influence can be seen in the county's food scene. Many restaurants in Orange County offer authentic Mexican dishes that have been passed down through generations. These dishes are made with fresh ingredients and traditional cooking techniques, giving diners a taste of Mexico right here in California.

The Best Mexican Restaurants in Orange County

Now, let's take a look at some of the most popular Mexican restaurants in Orange County.

These restaurants have been chosen based on their authentic flavors, quality of food, and overall dining experience.

Taco Maria

Taco Maria is a modern Mexican restaurant located in Costa Mesa. This restaurant has gained recognition for its innovative dishes that combine traditional Mexican flavors with modern techniques. Chef Carlos Salgado, who was nominated for a James Beard Award, uses locally sourced ingredients to create his unique dishes. Some of the must-try dishes at Taco Maria include the mole chicken, pork belly tacos, and the churro ice cream sandwich. The restaurant also offers a variety of vegetarian and vegan options, making it a great choice for all diners.

Javier's Cantina & Grill

Javier's Cantina & Grill is a popular Mexican restaurant with locations in Newport Beach and Irvine.

This upscale restaurant offers a luxurious dining experience with its elegant decor and live music. The menu features traditional Mexican dishes such as enchiladas, fajitas, and ceviche.One of the standout dishes at Javier's is their famous lobster enchiladas, which are filled with succulent lobster meat and topped with a creamy sauce. The restaurant also has an extensive tequila selection, making it a great spot for happy hour or a night out with friends.

El Mercado Modern Cuisine

Located in Santa Ana, El Mercado Modern Cuisine is a popular spot for authentic Mexican food. The restaurant is known for its vibrant atmosphere and delicious dishes that are made from scratch using traditional recipes.

The menu features a variety of tacos, burritos, and enchiladas, as well as some unique dishes like the chile relleno burger.El Mercado also has an impressive selection of tequila and mezcal, making it a great place to try some new drinks. The restaurant also hosts live music on weekends, adding to the lively atmosphere.

El Toro Bravo Tortilleria

If you're looking for a more casual dining experience, El Toro Bravo Tortilleria in Santa Ana is the place to go. This family-owned restaurant has been serving up authentic Mexican food since 1980. The menu features a variety of tacos, burritos, and tortas, all made with fresh ingredients and homemade tortillas. One of the highlights of El Toro Bravo is their salsa bar, where you can choose from a variety of homemade salsas to add to your meal.

The restaurant also has a small market where you can purchase fresh tortillas and other Mexican ingredients to take home.

El Matador

El Matador is a hidden gem in Anaheim that serves up some of the best Mexican food in Orange County. This small restaurant has a cozy atmosphere and a menu filled with traditional dishes like carne asada, chile verde, and pozole. The portions are generous, and the prices are affordable, making it a great spot for a casual lunch or dinner. One of the standout dishes at El Matador is their birria tacos, which are made with tender beef that has been slow-cooked in a flavorful broth. The restaurant also offers a variety of aguas frescas (fresh fruit drinks) to complement your meal.

Experience the Flavors of Mexico in Orange County

These are just a few of the many amazing Mexican restaurants that can be found in Orange County.

Each one offers a unique dining experience and a taste of authentic Mexican cuisine. So next time you're in Orange County, be sure to check out one (or all) of these popular restaurants and experience the flavors of Mexico right here in California.

Veronica Zolnoske
Veronica Zolnoske

Total beer guru. Total bacon trailblazer. Professional social media enthusiast. Infuriatingly humble tv fanatic. Hipster-friendly food scholar.