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.
Where to Sit: Pull up a chair in the colorful dining room, which is decorated to look like a stucco courtyard. Even the light fixtures are painted with crescent moons.
Inside Tip: Be sure to ask if El Metate is serving chicken mole that day. Even though it’s not a mainstay on the menu, this special has won plenty of awards and fans.
Dutch Crunch: also called “tiger bread,” this roll features a mottled exterior that hides a soft, chewy center. Bakers use sesame oil to lend it a distinct aroma, and paint the top with rice paste before baking it to create a cracked appearance and salty-sweet flavor.
Mole: there are many regional varieties of this rich sauce, but chilies, spices, and mexican chocolate are the most common ingredients. It’s typically served atop poultry or pork.
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Browse new and used books in English and Spanish at Alley Cat Books (3036 24th Street).
After: Sip some bourbon while playing pinball at Blind Cat (3050 24th Street).
Cuisine Type: Mexican tacos and grill
Reservations: Not offered
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Number of Tables: 11–25
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Fajita tacos with grilled onions and charro beans
Delivery / Take-out Available: Yes
Outdoor Seating: No
Décor can say a lot about the type of food a restaurant serves. How does your décor inform or reflect your culinary practice?
Contemporary style with walls covered in metal roof sheets and wood details. It's a casual atmosphere with exposed [industrial elements] .
In your own words, how would you describe your menu?
It's a Mexican taqueria and grill which offers the Rio Grande Valley popular Mexican dishes with a touch of northern Mexico cuisine. Among our most popular dishes are the fajita, bistek, and pastor tacos in flour or corn tortillas with grilled onion and charro beans. We have big quesadilla tacos with fajitas, cheese and avocado, and we also have the popular parilladas for two or more people. Among the desserts we have traditional "gorditas" with ice cream and milk caramel (cajeta).
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.