In addition to re-creating traditional recipes from across the border, Costa Messa Restaurant's chefs occasionally inject a bit of American flair into their menu of Mexican home cooking. This leads to time-honored classics—including chicken enchiladas topped with mole sauce and queso fresco and crispy flautas stuffed with shredded beef—appearing alongside Tex-Mex dishes, such as chalupas, rice, and beans served in the shape of a Longhorn.
Ever since originally opening in 2002, the restaurant has remained unwaveringly devoted to these distinctive flavors, adding spicy chipotle sauce to chicken fajitas, loading corn or flour tortillas with everything from pork to sirloin, and serving whole, ranchero-style red snappers. As a demonstration of its support for the community, Costa Messa Restaurant spends Mondays donating 10% of the proceeds from diners' checks to various charities.
Texadelphia takes the cheesesteak and makes it the way only Texas can—overflowing with hearty meats and served with a side of tortilla chips and salsa. These 100% Angus beef sandwiches come slathered in a variety of toppings, including grilled onions, jalapeños, and cherry peppers, and rest on artisan-baked bread. Try a Founder's Favorite cheesesteak with mozzarella and mushrooms or turn to poultry with The Left Coast, which comes topped with chicken, grilled onions, and guacamole. Items of non-Philly origin also dot the menu, including a grilled-chicken sandwich, smoked turkey and guacamole salad, and a bacon-cheddar burger served with hickory sauce.
Claiming a slew of awards, including Best Chicken Dinner by the Orange County Register, El Pollo Loco fills stomachs on the go with a menu of flavorful poultry inspired by Mexico's kitchens. Enjoy the rich tastes of a four-piece combo ($7.99)—including breasts and wings marinated in herbs, spices, and citrus juices—entouraged by two sides from an expansive selection, including spanish rice, barbecue black beans, corn cobbettes, and mac 'n' cheese. For a more portable lunch during parkour breaks from the office, wrap your chicken in the warm tortilla blanket of a twice-grilled burrito ($5.99). El Pollo Loco's innovative salsa bar can tickle to your tongue until milk comes out its nose with fresh varieties of avocado, chipotle, and pico de gallo.
Not only does Don Taco Villa's bright green and pink exterior make it easy to spot from the road, but many of its specialties can feed an entire family tree's worth of people. Cooks prepare whole chickens and pile plates with double or triple portions of grilled steak, flanking the family-style meals with sides of rice and beans. Other menu items, which also lend themselves to sharing, include shrimp cocktail and barbecued ribs. Smaller groups or solo diners can grab breakfast tacos filled with eggs, chorizo, ham, beans, and cheese, or savory taquitos.