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“My 'Last meal' request - Carnitas & Flan from Mercado!”
Review of Mercado

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Ranked #33 of 688 Restaurants in Santa Monica
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$30 - US$30
Cuisines: Mexican
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: After-hours, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Neighbourhood: Santa Monica
Cross street: Santa Moinca
San Francisco, California
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“My 'Last meal' request - Carnitas & Flan from Mercado!”
Reviewed 12 August 2014

Cripes. this place did not disappoint. We are in SM this week for a mix of work & pleasure, read the yelp reviews & checked it out. Trendy, fun, modern decor, great service, pretty much the atmosphere we love.
Drinks: fab. La Pina & the cucumber basil tequila drinks we outstanding.
Food: we ordered the Carnitas & the chicken tinga tacos - both outstanding. The carnitas are THE best I have ever had, and I have a lot over the years. The waitress told us it was a family recipe, as well as the flan. The meat was succulent with the slightly sweetened, slightly crispy exterior that melted in your mouth. The flan? tasted like it was just made 10 minutes ago, and comes with a warm, vanilla liqeur to drizzle over it - what?? crazy. Crazy fantastic! Chicken tinga tacos - just as fab. And I want to extend a special thank you to the restaurant for NOT dumping a pile of beans & rice on the plate as a filler. This is definately upscale Mexican, and I appreciate the focus being on the entree itself. I felt the prices were reasonable for the quality of the food we had, but we live in San Francisco. So maybe it was a relative thing.
Note on serving size: seriously, unless you are a mega-eater, the carnitas is enough for 2 people. Just ask for more tortillas, the extra tacos put me over the top. The flan? is enough for 3, if not 4 people. So consider that when planning your meal if there is just the 2 of you. Of course, I horked it down because it was in front of me and SOOOO delicious. But now I am laying here writing this with a serious flan-belly. Hey, I guess there are worse ways to end a Monday. Enjoy!

  • Visited August 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Jennifer S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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231 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Manitou Springs, Colorado
Level 5 Contributor
64 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 August 2014 via mobile

Food was great but plan on spending big bucks. Everything including the chips were ala cart. Cool and trendy place that is beautifully decorated but really loud. Best item on the menu was the chicken mole.

Visited July 2014
Thank Susan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York, NY
Level 6 Contributor
164 reviews
35 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Way better than most of the Santa Monica Restaurants!”
Reviewed 3 August 2014

Met the chef last year as he was shopping at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market and we visited Mercado that evening. We visited again this year and were not disappointed. Had a few appetizers along with chips and the best guacamole. I ordered swordfish which was awesome. Used lots of fresh ingredients in all of their food. The beer and drinks were great. We ordered the mango sorbet and tres leches for desert - both were terrific. Would return. Though we were too late they had a great happy hour. The wait staff were sweet and competent and were right on with their recommendations.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Zach84Jake62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 6 Contributor
125 reviews
70 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
“Good choice for Mexican food”
Reviewed 27 July 2014

I was torn between giving Mercado an average or very good rating. The food was better than your average Mexcian restaurant, but I wouldn't call it memorable. Staff was nice; it's a trendy, busy place and of course pushes hard on the margaritas (which were great).

Visited July 2014
Thank rurimaja
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ashburn, Virginia
Level 5 Contributor
70 reviews
42 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Comfy, upscale Mexican bar and restaurant”
Reviewed 12 July 2014

Nothing but goodness to report here! Nice bar, great beer and tequila selection, great menu and food. The mole was very nicely prepared, neither too rich nor too thin. Nice homemade tamale. Guacamole, ah yes. But the real winner was the corn! The corn??? Amazingly prepared (roasted), flavorful, and rich. Who'd thought the side of corn would be the hit? Speaks to the care taken with all the food items. Can't go wrong here!

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank WorkFamilyFun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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