A Mexican Foodie Paradise Opens In Costa Mesa


I was down here last week. Truly pretty incredible. We need one of these in LA pronto. I was short on time and solo so I just ended up at one of the stalls with the shortest line and had a plate of tacos dorado topped with carnitas. It was delicious. That a random stall executed so well gives me high hopes for everything else in there.


I had a spicy torta ahogada con carnitas at Chiva Torta, pretty tasty although it could have been more spicy. They are not shy with the pickled onions. The entire sandwich ate very light considering the good amount of acidity from the sauce and onions.

And really what I came for, El Moro Churreria. Waited in line for about 10 minutes or so as this is one of the more popular places. Ordered 4 churros and was given 5. They didn’t have any more chocolate dipping sauce. Taste wise, they tasted a bit bready and slightly burned which gave it a little bitter taste. Churros Don Abel definitely remains El Rey de Los Churros in Los Angeles now that the ones at BS Taqueria are not available.

What I did notice is that many of the food stalls are simply Northgate Market prepared food presented in a much more appealing manner. The tamales look just like the ones served at the regular Northgate. The place is pretty amazing though and super crowded right now. By the time we left, there was a line just to enter the market. The mesquite grill looks awesome as they were grilling carne asada and elote right in the middle of the store. I grabbed a pollo rostizado which is butterflied and cooked in the rotisserie, and a short line! The birria/menudo line was insane and it looks like they had roasted goat or lamb heads? They definitely need one of these food halls in Boyle Heights or Downey area. Full bar too, so you can have a nice Paloma with your tacos canasta while grocery shopping.


El Moro in CDMX isnt much different IMO, was a bit disappointed when I had them there which were definitely bready. I’ll stick with Don Abel especially cuz its closer to me.


The Mercado Northgate is pretty amazing. It’s designed to look like a spacious Grand Central Market, which is dominated by about 24 food stalls or puestos and brings a whole other dimension to a grocery store. The food you pick up from these stalls is all made by Northgate and you can eat at a very large but crowded indoor seating or a more spacious and relaxed outdoor patio area, or take it home.

They also have what appears to be a fine dining restaurant call Maizano, which is only open certain days of the week and was closed when we were there. Reservations are available on Open Table.

The place was super crowded on the Wednesday after Christmas, with people milling about in each other’s way, gawking at the surroundings, making progress through the market difficult.

Parking was also a problem, as the lot outside was jammed.

Because of the crowds, it wasn’t really possible to sample the food from the various puestos. We settled on getting a couple of Torta Ahagados to eat in the patio area and some Carnitas to take home. Our food was okay, about the same as we get in our local Northgate Market.

For a good overview of the ideas and concepts behind the new Mercado Northgate, check out this article: Inside Northgate González Market’s immersive new ‘Mercado’ | Grocery Dive

For a map of the Mercado, check out this link: Directory - Northgate Markets


Eater overview:

and the menu: