3533 E Chapman Ave
Orange, CA 92869
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Dessert: Flan de Queso
In my quest to try out every Taco Mesa location I recently made it to their spot in the city of Orange for the first time. If you didn't know that Taco Mesa has been voted as the #1 Mexican restaurant in Orange County you might overlook them in this unassuming locale. One of the people I went with on this visit said she used to work right by it and never realized it was there and now she's kicking herself for having not availed herself of the opportunity to take frequent lunch breaks there when she had the chance. So now I'm calling it to your attention. Begun by the brothers Calderon (Ivan and Marco) in the early Nineties the Taco Mesa chain focused on healthy, authentic, traditionally based Mexican food that would fill you up without weighing you down. Fifteen years later they are still going strong with four locations, a spinoff (Taco Rosa - similar to Taco Mesa but with more elegance), and plans for expansion.
Pay attention to the specials board when you enter. You might be able to catch a rare dish.
I don't know if it's true at other Taco Mesa locations but this one in Orange serves breakfast all day. If you go for breakfast in the morning and are still groggy when you arrive just looking at this wall will wake you up.
I also stumbled upon the site recently for Taco Mesa Ministry, a Christian group that meets at the Orange location on Tuesdays and Fridays (although I don't know if they are still active).
I ordered their special of the day, the Pescado Acapulco, a yellowtail tuna fillet resting on a bed of acorn squash with spokes of carrot and asparagus. My friends, Chris and Kristanna, took advantage of Taco Mesa's new lunch combos using one of the coupons from my mailer to get the second combo for only a dollar:
Below, a worker is serving up some aguas frescas, fresh fruit juices made each day. They make two or three different flavors each day. I had the horchata on this visit and if I remember correctly the other choices that day were watermelon and jamaica, but they have many different flavors to choose from.
The walls have eyes:
The only dessert they offer is baked cream cheese flan with caramel and strawberries, but it is worth it. I used the other coupon from the mailer I brought with me to get the flan for only a dollar. Pay attention to your "junk mail" as these coupons might circulate again.
Still looking forward to reviewing their Costa Mesa and Mission Viejo locations. Taco Mesa in Orange earns a four and a half Speedy Gonzales rating:
Other Taco Mesa entries: