on June 2, 2007
Taco Rosa is a new restaurant in the Marketplace in Irvine, just north of the 5 Freeway on Jamboree. This Irvine location is the younger sister to their Taco Rosa location in Newport Beach.I went with a friend for an early dinner, and there was still a 15 minute wait at the door. After we were seated, I looked around at the decor I commented to my friend that it reminded me of a restaurant in Cancun. My friend said it reminded her of a restaurant in Acapulco. There's a lot of thick, dark wood used, from the heavy wooden tables with the big square metal studs in the side, to the heavy wooden chairs. The ceiling is draped in an off-white cloth canopy that flutters in the breeze coming from the open windows. This really is reminiscent of a little cantina just south of the border. One of the staff, presumably the manager, was wearing an olive green military-style uniform complete with square-brimmed cap and sunglasses ala Che Guevarra. I love it!Our server brought us a complimentary house appetizer. Instead of chips and salsa, they brought out a little dish that had a bean taco, pickled carrots and peppers, and a cheese taquito. It didn't exactly seem like much food, but it was unique and the presentation was very colorful.My friend ordered a plate of two carnitas tacos and I ordered the Alambre quesadilla. As we waited for our food, we noticed this was a good place for people-watching. All sorts of people were lounging by the bar near the front of the restaurant. There's an open kitchen in the middle.About 10-12 minutes later, our food arrived. My friend's carnitas taco plate came with two tacos in corn tortillas, and a bunch of spicy pickled carrots. She said they were quite delicious, the carnitas were nice and soft, with a little bit of crunch on the outside where it was seared prior to being shredded. My Alambre quesadilla is made with cubed steak grilled with bacon, red onions, pasilla peppers and a blend of cheeses. The quesadilla is normally served in hand-pressed corn tortillas. I didn't want corn, so I asked for flour tortillas. The meat was nicely seasoned, moist, and very delicious.We had a movie to catch in the theater next door, so we got our bill of $18. That's not bad for two drinks, two tacos, and a quesadilla. I really like Taco Rosa Cantina. The atmosphere is great, the food is delicious, and it's conveniently located near the movies for a complete night out.I noticed that Taco Rosa is open for breakfast. There aren't too many other places open for breakfast in the area (other than IHOP) so I plan to return for breakfast in the near future.
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