A2 Rating Scale (out of 5):
The new Hollywood location on Cahuenga (the Universal Studios strip, not the Cahuenga pass near Hollywood Blvd.) is not in the heart of it all like the other locations; which are near The Grove on West 3rd and in downtown Santa Monica. But where parking could be no bueno at the others, this one has a daytime parking lot (they do exist *sigh*) and free street parking or valet ($5) at night.
Traditional Mexican comfort food, with a modern twist is what you’ll find. It’s an ideal place to take both the brave and not-so-brave eaters. Although the menu says “we politely decline substitutions”, that didn’t stop my rebel friend from asking and the restaurant from cooperating (Mama always said you’ll never know until you try). Some vegetarian plates can be made vegan too; so ask your server. And they have happy hour on the weekdays AND the weekend (times vary by location) with drinks AND food. You should also know they have over 40 varieties of tequila, so SALUD!
This place would be great for a big group (a great place for a birthday brunch- taking note for May) as there are items for all to enjoy and the day-of-the-dead theme gives it a cool vibe. However, they do have some rules as listed on the website, with “special menus” and “2 hour limits” (boooo), so you’ll have to call and discuss logistics with the specific location (could be a pain but we suggest using your sweet, but I mean business, voice).
We are always looking for fresh and easy places to run after work for quick business drinks or a catch up sesh. Tasty with locations all over this big city (big as it in takes 45 minutes to get 5 miles) — it’s a no brainer; this place has been added to the list.
WHAT WE BRUNCHED IT UP WITH:
Mimosa ($7) – standard. Can they start doing bottomless please?
Guayaba Mimosa ($8)– house guayaba puree, st. germain, bubbles. Delicious and not too sweet (which I was afraid of). So so pretty, with a flower on top. I actually preferred this over the standard mimosa…I may not be a basic bitch after all.
Dip Duo ($16)– Guacamole (hass avocados, serrano, cilntro, red onion, chili de arbol salsa, spicey pepitas (vegetarian)) & Choriqueso (melted cotija, parmesan, oaxaca, house chorizo, poblanos, mushrooms), with fresh chips. Rotate dips with each bite… Trust me. They complement each other perfectly; with the queso being rich and spicy and the guac being light and refreshing. You’ll want extra chips, so make sure to ask before you finish the first batch (so you should probably just ask right away- lets be real).
Huevos Rancheros ($11) – two over easy eggs, salsa verde, quest cotija, avocado, cilantro lime rice, frijoles negros. Not the best I’ve had, but for the price and everything else this place has to offer, I was perfectly content AND very full. The only complaint was that the tortilla under it all was soggy; my friend Kristin compared it to a “overly dipped Oreo” (which is a tragedy people).
Chilaquiles Rojos con Huevos, added carnitas ($16)– crispy tortillas, salsa roja, two over easy eggs, quest fresco, cream fresca, cilantro, red onions. Even with her nose running and beads of sweat dripping down her face, Val could not stop eating. So be ready for the hot hot hot. The carnitas were perfectly cooked with no fat in sight (love a place that knows we’re not trying to eat any unnecessary fat).
Mexican Kale Salad with Chicken ($15) – free-ranged pulled chicken, kale, arugula, quest fresco, candied pumpkin seeds, pears, dried strawberries, cotija pesto croutons, agave-lime vinaigrette. So fresh with just the right amount of sweet and citrus. The pesto croutons added a bold flavor to a somewhat simple salad. So happy my roomie Jess believes that sharing is caring- I will be ordering this again, for sure.
Elote Callejero ($8) – grilled sweet corn, caramelized onions, chili piquing butte, quest cotija (vegetarian). One of my favorite Mexican dishes and this version justifies my love. For any meal of the day, there NEEDS to be an order of this at your table.
Be back as fast as we devoured the first batch of chips (which was about 5 minutes),
2 thoughts on “Mercado.”
LOVED this place! Can’t wait to go back!!