If you’re a resident of Orange County, you can very likely find a quality Mexican restaurant nearby regardless of the city you reside in.
Amorelia Mexican Cafe in Costa Mesa is undoubtedly one of them.
Since 2010, the family-owned restaurant has served authentic Mexican food in an intimate setting. While many Mexican restaurants offer generic decor, Amorelia’s brick walls and classical paintings on one side of its interior adds a nice modern twist without straying too off course. The seating capacity is limited but not to the point where you should have trouble walking in on a Friday night with a date or a few friends either. In the back, a full service bar offers seating for half a dozen guests as well.
The menu, which offers different options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, may have you a bit confused at first as some of the dishes originate from Morelia, Mexico, a city in Central Mexico founded hundreds of years ago. All the recipes are from Owner and Executive Chef Gloria Seretti, who runs the restaurant with her four children — Carlos, Daniel, Gaby and Manuel. Prior to opening the restaurant, Seretti would regularly invite people to her house to share a meal and engage in some conversation. Eventually, her children urged her to turn her love of food and discourse into a fully fledged restaurant.
However, for the most part, the breakfast menu should be recognizable for anyone. Omelettes range in price from $9.50 to $10.95 and include ingredients like spinach, mushrooms, chorizo and shredded beef. Other classic Mexican dishes like Huevos Rancheros ($9.00) and Chilaquiles ($9.50) come topped with homemade salsa.
The Lunch Specials include Chile Verde (slowly cooked braised pork in spicy green tomatillo sauce; $8.95), Chicken or Beef Enchiladas ($8.95) and Chicken Fajitas ($8.95). Another go-to option for lunch are the tacos which come served with a side of rice and beans. You and a friend can even make your own tacos with the Tacos Al Pastor ($9.50) or the Rib eye Tacos ($9.50) options as well. Two televisions on the north and south end corners of the restaurant also make for the spot an appropriate place to watch a game.
In fact, if tacos are your thing, you’d be wise to visit Amorelia on a Tuesday night for their popular Taco Tuesday specials. Visit Amorelia anytime from 4 p.m. to closing time and you can feast on two different types of street taco bargains — 3 for $5 (soft tortilla) or 3 for $6 (hard shell). Meat choices consist of pork, chicken or beef. Taco Tuesdays don’t just offer some special deals on just food though. Pick up some $5 Sangria and House Margaritas to go along with the street tacos or a $3 beer (Tecate, Bud Light, Coors Light).
The regular dinner menu is where customers can get a true taste of authentic Morelia based cuisine. According to my waiter, the Filete De Trucha Al Coco (trout, coconut, avocado, Serrano cream, spinach and white rice;$16) and the Pollo Moreliano (organic Jidori chicken stuffed with jicama, side of mini enchiladas, carrots and potatoes;$16) were among the more popular dishes with guests he has served.
For both lunch and dinner, all the meals come served with complimentary chips and fresh salsa.
Although it may seem a bit tame compared to some of the more exotic dinner options on the menu, I recommend the Enchiladas Suizas ($11.50) which come served with green tomatillo sauce, sour cream, cheese, a few slices of avocado and a side of rice and beans. The portion was excellent (3 enchiladas!) as well as the fresh taste of all the ingredients on my plate. Plus, the generous slices of avocado didn’t hurt either.
Amorelia’s Mexican Cafe
2200 Harbor Blvd, Ste C110
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Monday-Thursday 10am – 9pm
Friday – Saturday 9am – 10pm
Sunday 9am – 8pm