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Enjoy Mexican cuisine in Santa Monica.
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Mercado, Santa Monica, CA

Mercado Restaurant Review

: Mercado is Jesse Gomez’ third Mexican restaurant (alongside Highland Park’s El Arco Iris and Yxta Cocina Mexicana downtown). Just off the Third Street Promenade, the stylish modern space attracts a crowd who wants more than tacos from their Mexican cuisine. The energy is high, and the room can be extremely loud with music and talk. Remedy this with a well-crafted tequila cocktail featuring a jícama-cucumber house purée, or muddled pineapple, cilantro and jalapeño. Small plates are a perfect complement, especially the seductive "dos gringas" --- a pair of handmade flour tortillas filled with savory roasted al pastor, Oaxaca cheese, cilantro and chile arbol. Wolfgang Puck-trained chef Jose Acevedo turns out light creations including daily soups, such as cream of lobster or poblano chile, and a kale arugula salad with candied pumpkin seeds. Seasonal ingredients make up daily specials like a delicate white bass, while the signature dish is a juicy piece of slow-cooked pork carnitas. The flan is a destination dessert. Other locations.

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