A rich immigrant population from neighboring Mexico makes Southern California an ideal location for enjoying authentic Mexican food and entertainment. Orange County has an annual mariachi festival that began showcasing the area’s talented players of all ages in 2005. Among Orange County’s hundreds of Mexican eateries, a handful offer live mariachi music that will add some extra excitement to your margarita and fajita meal.
El Zocalo Mexican Grill & Seafood
Each Friday and Saturday night, El Zocalo Mexican Grill & Seafood in Santa Ana features a live mariachi band that you can enjoy from inside the vibrantly decorated dining room or on the outdoor patio. In cooler weather, the patio is equipped with heated lamps for your comfort. One of the restaurant’s specialties is Cocktail Vuelve a la Vida, translated to “back to life” -- a citrus and tomato-based seafood ceviche that originated in Veracruz, Mexico, and is known as a hangover cure. Mexican buffet options include a value-priced lunch buffet during the business week and a Sunday brunch.
The unmistakable ivy-covered archway of Moreno's Mexican Restaurant welcomes you to a historic building on East Chapman Avenue in Orange, which was converted from a church building into Moreno’s in 1969. A strolling mariachi band plays table-side in the dining room and on the sprawling outdoor patio, surrounded by trees romantically illuminated with twinkling lights. The menu includes a kids' menu and la carte items. A banquet hall is available, and the entire venue can be rented for a mariachi-serenaded wedding or group event.
Newport Beach and Irvine are home to two Taco Rosa locations in Orange County. Enjoy live mariachi music on Sundays during brunch as you savor a 30-item Mexican food buffet, a chocolate fountain and champagne. Each month, the restaurant features a special feast menu with food and beverages inspired by annual festivals and events in Mexico. The airy, elegant dining rooms of Taco Rosa have vaulted ceilings, rich wood beams, rustic furniture and traditional art. Taco Rosa restaurants have received acclaim from all the major local publications in the area, including the Orange County Register, OC Weekly and OC Metro.
While strolling in Anaheim’s Downtown Disney complex, it’s hard to miss the towering, curvaceous two-story stucco building painted bold red, yellow and orange. As you step under the blue neon sign at Tortilla Jo’s you’ll experience famed restaurateur Nick Valenti’s take on Mayan-inspired fare. A casual environment and more than 100 tequila choices will help your relax as you enjoy the sounds of a mariachi band. Vegetarian, kids' and healthy selections are available on the menu. Note, this Disneyland property is kid-friendly only with an adult escort, otherwise guests must be over 18.