The 5 Best Taco Shops in Santa Ana, California

With over 300,000 people living in Santa Ana, California, it makes sense that there are so many restaurants for residents and visitors to choose from. With countless options, it can be challenging to settle on just one.

Luckily, we’ve narrowed down five restaurants in Santa Ana, California, that you’ll love if you enjoy tasty tacos. Breaking down the types of tacos these establishments offer, relevant customer reviews from the locations, and the perfect place to go to enjoy your tacos, here are the top five taco shops in Santa Ana, CA:

1. Taqueria El Gordito

Located on 415 N. Grand Avenue, Santa Ana, Taqueria El Gordito has curated a delicious menu of authentic and classic dishes. It promises to use the freshest, locally-sourced ingredients to give your taste buds something to be excited about.

Taco Options

Whether you prefer street tacos or big tacos, Taqueria El Gordito has a selection for you. Meat options include asada, adobada, carnitas, birria, and more. Pair your tacos with a cold drink like Mexican Coke, or a hot drink like Avena or Pan Mexicano for a delicious dinner that will have your mouth watering.

Customer Review

This place is great and the food I’ve had is pretty bomb. I definitely recommend the super nachos and big tacos. They also have really good salsas, pickled carrots and onions. they’re absolutely needed to top off whatever you get.

Out of all the tacos places I’ve been too, I’ve never had bad service or any issues with food here. This place is definitely my go-to.

Major plus that they’re open pretty late too.

Andy R.

Image Credit

2. Three Roots Mexican Cocina

Promising fresh ingredients and delicious dishes, Three Roots Mexican Cocina is a classy sit-down restaurant serving tasty tacos and other Mexican-style dishes. The chef has more than 10 years of experience, and it really shows in his amazing food! Tables fill up, so reserve a table now to enjoy a tasty night out.

Taco Options

Start your meal off with a delicious appetizer like ceviche, shrimp taquitos, or bacon jalapenos. Then, try the delicious taco carnitas: slow-cook pork Michoacán-style served with red onions, cilantro, caramelized onions, one grill jalapeno, and salsa brava. Other delicious taco options include taco asada, taco pastor, taco birria, or taco shrimp.

Customer Review

Everything about this restaurant was great. The place was clean and smelled good. Parking was no problem. The staff was very nice. Our waiter was VERY knowledgeable. The staff also worked as a team in bringing and cleaning up our mess (table of 10). The food was fresh. Then we also had dessert and that was really good as well. Great atmosphere, great music, and really nice people. Love the Authentic Mexican taste with a small Fusion Twist. Coming back for sure!

Diego L.

Image Credit

3. Tacos Manuel

Tacos Manuel is a taco food truck located on 17th and Mabury in Santa Ana. It offers tasty tacos for as low as $1! This shop is the perfect place for anyone looking for a quick and tasty taco to liven up their afternoon.

Taco Options

All tacos are served with a dash of cilantro, grilled onions, and jalapenos. The fan favorite is the Carne Asada Taco, as pictured. Other meat options include Al Pastor, Chorizo, and Pollo. Try one of these amazing tacos for yourself!

Customer Review

Decided to try something new and swung by Tacos Manuel. Before we get to the food, the service was amazing. Super friendly, super helpful. We ordered asada, pastor, and chorizo tacos as well the pastor huarache. Overall the flavor was good, and the meat portions were hefty! You can get “to-go” with everything all wrapped up in plastic wrap. Would recommend!

Tatiana T.

Image Credit

4. Tito’s La Especial

Founded in 1983, Tito’s La Especial is a family-owned Mexican restaurant in Santa Ana. The OC Register has ranked the restaurant among the top 10 Taquerias of OC—and for good reason too! These tasty tacos will have your mouth watering in no time.

Taco Options

Tito’s specialty is their Tacos Al Vapor, soft, marinated tortillas filled with fresh shredded lettuce and a choice of marinated shredded beef, chicken, refried beans, or potato steamed to perfection. Their other taco options are Taco Dorados, hard-shell tacos with a choice of shredded beef or potato, and taco de carne asada, soft-shelled tacos filled with chopped steak.

Customer Review

These beef al vapor tacos are fantastic. Al vapor tacos are delicious, steamy, and fragrant. Delish. This is a big step above typical street or tacos dorados.

Jeremy B.

Image Credit

5. El Mercado Modern Cuisine

With the goal to, “take [its] guests through an adventure of Mexico’s great cuisine one bite at a time using modern techniques for [their] simple yet elegant dishes,” El Mercado Modern Cuisine excels in preparing one-of-a-kind Mexican dishes. Their dining experience is simple yet elegant. Make a reservation during the weekend to enjoy live music and delicious food at this modern Mexican restaurant.

Taco Options

On Taco Tuesday and Taco Thursday, you can enjoy three tacos for only $12. Choose between Jamaica (tinga style, sour cream, cilantro, cotija), carnitas (pickled onions, cilantro, green salsa), and shrimp (sauteed shrimp, garlic-ginger, roasted carrot puree).

Additionally, live music takes place at the restaurant on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. and on Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

For the ultimate experience, make a reservation for Thursday evening between 7:00 and 10:00 p.m. to take advantage of the Taco Thursday special and enjoy some live music. 

Customer Review

Outstanding food and great service. The drinks were also top shelf. Highly recommend this spot for a memorable dining experience.

Rafael O.

Image Credit

A Perfect Place to Relax and Enjoy Life

Regardless of which of the five taco joints you decide to dine at, California Palms Apartments in Santa Ana, CA, is the perfect place for you to relax and enjoy your tacos. Bring your meal to our courtyards, where we have sitting areas to enjoy your food outside. Then, cool off in one of our two resort-style pools. Head to our fitness center to work off some calories before resting in our resident lounge or one of our comfy and luxurious apartments.

Our full-service, high-end apartment complex has everything you are looking for. Come and see for yourself, and don’t forget to stop by one of these nearby amazing taco shops for a tasty lunch on the way!

Come On In


9 AM–6 PM



(714) 705-4670


901 S Harbor Blvd, Santa Ana, CA  92704