Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Orange County

Photograph Courtesy of El Mercado Modern Cuisine

El Mercado Modern Cuisine
From 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., El Mercado is serving a trio of specialty tacos ($12) crafted by executive chef Fernando Franco, as well as house margaritas ($8). Try selections from their award-winning cocktail menu and listen to live music from 7 to 10 p.m., followed by a DJ spinning until 2 a.m. Reservations can be made online. 301 N. Spurgeon St., Santa Ana, 714-338-2446, https://mercadomodern.com/


SOL Mexican Cocina
Enjoy live music and an exclusive menu at this Baja-inspired restaurant from 3 p.m. until close. Some of the highlights include chorizo and mushroom con queso, Taco Vampiro Asada, and taco plates that come with your choice of two sides. Get in the spirit with one of their specialty margaritas crafted with fresh citrus juice. Irvine and Newport Beach, https://solcocina.com/


The colorful Anaheim Packing House restaurant is celebrating Cinco de Mayo with Cinco Dólores deals—enjoy $5 taco specials and $5 tequila and cocktail specials featuring Olmeca Altos Tequila from 4 p.m. till close. Reservations are encouraged. 440 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, 714-502-0255, https://www.urbanaanaheim.com/


Chato’s Bar and Grill
Celebrate with a true fiesta at Chato’s, featuring a live DJ, tequila tasting, and a photo booth to document the fun. Food and drink specials include $3 street tacos, $5 choriqueso, $5 beers, $8 margaritas, and more. 400 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, 714-852-3256, https://chatosbarandgrill.com/


Taco Rosa
Stop by to try out the special pop-up barbacoa taco stand featuring $3 beef barbacoa tacos on blue corn tortillas with your choice of salsa. The restaurant hopes to “transport guests to the Tulancingo, Hidalgo region of Mexico, where marinated beef wrapped in roasted pencas is slowly cooked in steam with seasonings for 10 hours until it’s extremely tender.” Irvine and Newport Beach, https://www.tacorosa.com/


Gracias Madre
Partake in a variety of festivities while noshing on plant-based Mexican cuisine at their all-day Cinco de Mayo Extravaganza. There will be a live DJ and mariachi band, as well as hourly raffles with prizes. Beverage Director Kacie Lambert is showcasing handcrafted cocktails such as a paloma, La Playa Old Fashioned, and Negroni Agrio. A percentage of the proceeds from cocktail sales will go to the “Not Us Without You” charity, which provides food security for undocumented immigrants. 1617 Westcliff Drive, Newport Beach, 949-386-8100, https://www.graciasmadre.co/


Descanso Restaurant
Indulge in happy hour drink and food specials from 11:30 a.m. to close. Some menu standouts include the taco skillet, where you can build your own steak, chicken, or al pastor tacos, and the Choriqueso Verde served with flour tortillas. Sip on a signature margarita on their spacious patio while listening to live music, which starts at 6 p.m. 1555 Adams Ave., Costa Mesa, 714-486-3798, https://descansorestaurant.com/


Heritage Barbecue
In addition to their classic smoked meats, Heritage is serving up Cinco de Mayo specials such as pollo asado, Mexican candy burnt ends, chile relleno tacos, and choriqueso mac and cheese. Available from 11 a.m. until sell-out. 31721 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, https://www.heritagecraftbbq.com/


Las Brisas
Delight in sweeping views of the Laguna Beach coastline while trying happy hour specials from 3 to 6 p.m., such as the white shrimp and crab ceviche, nachos, and elote. This spot also offers handcrafted margaritas and cocktails. Stick around for live music from 5 to 8 p.m. 361 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach, 949-497-5434, https://www.lasbrisaslagunabeach.com/


El Torito Grill
This upscale Mexican-inspired spinoff from El Torito is serving $3 tacos from 3 p.m. until close. Drink stations throughout the restaurant will be providing specialty margaritas and cocktails. A live mariachi band is set to play from 4 to 6 p.m., followed by a DJ. 555 Pointe Drive, Brea, 714-990-2411, https://www.etgrill.com/


Solita Tacos
Menu highlights here are the spicy shrimp tacos, street taco plates, and ceviche tropicale made with raw fish, fresh lime, serrano chiles, cucumber, tropical fruit, and salsa fresca. Quench your thirst with one of their specialty drinks, such as the strawberry margarita, while listening to live music. 7631 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach, 714-894-2792, https://solitatacos.com/


The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel
The Ritz-Carlton’s scenic cliffside restaurant 1800blu and its lobby Bar RAYA are partnering with Casamigos Tequila to serve curated margaritas. Some of the featured margaritas include a smoky blackberry ginger margarita, la pina margarita, and the spicy verde margarita with basil leaves, cucumber, and serrano slices. Enjoy alongside their carnitas, steak, shrimp, or tempura avocado tacos. Try multiple items with their margarita and taco flights. 1 Ritz Carlton Drive, Dana Point, 949-240-2000, https://www.ritzcarlton.com/


Topside Roof Deck
Festive food and drink specials are served with a stunning backdrop of the Newport peninsula at this rooftop bar. Sip on one of their refreshing cocktails such as the El Durazno featuring Herradura Blanco tequila, white peach puree, lime juice, and agave with a spiced salt rim. Executive chef Riley Huddleston is making a duo of taco specials including a carne asada and carnitas taco. Reserve a spot online. 3300 Newport Blvd., Newport Beach, 949-524-8500, http://lidohousehotel.com/


Islands Fine Burgers and Drinks
Islands in Newport Beach is celebrating the whole month of May with their take on “Margarita Month.” Get $2 off margaritas including flavors such as classic and strawberry, on the rocks or frozen, or the delightfully tropical Mangorita. 1380 Bison Ave., Newport Beach, 949-219-0445, https://www.islandsrestaurants.com/

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