Puesto Mexican Artisan Kitchen & Bar is now open at Irvine’s Park Place. This is the taco hotspot’s second Orange County location since opening at the Los Olivos Marketplace in December 2016. Puesto is known for its tacos made from handmade, non-GMO, maíz azul stone-ground tortillas, sustainable meats, local produce and scratch salsas. Guests are encouraged to mix and match from an array of tacos, including Filet Mignon (crispy melted cheese, avocado, spicy pistachio serrano salsa), Chicken al Pastor (crispy melted cheese, hibiscus & chipotle tinga, avocado, piña habanero pico), vegetarian options such as Zucchini & Cactus (crispy melted cheese, zucchini, corn, tomato, cactus, avocado, cilantro-tomatillo salsa) and Mushroom (crispy melted cheese, garlic-braised seasonal mushrooms, stone fruit jalapeño salsa, pickled onions, hearts on fire). In addition to tacos, rotating seasonal specials make their way on to the menu quarterly. Current offerings include Enfrijoladas Negras (maíz azul tortillas, melted cheese, black bean purée, queso fresco, soy chorizo, white onion, cilantro), Pescado Veracruzana (market fish, Veracruz sauce with olive, capers, parsley, garlic, jalapeño) and Caldo Tlalpeño (rich chicken & vegetable soup with chipotle, queso fresco, tortilla crisps, avocado).
Helmed by Pastry Chef and rising Food Network Star Jessica Scott, Puesto’s dessert program features modern twists on authentic Mexican favorites. Offerings include Piña Colada Carrot Cake (pineapple carrot cake, coconut cream cheese frosting, raspberry pistachios, sweet pistachio sauce, candied carrot), Panna Cotta Mosaico (Mexican crema panna cotta accented with passionfruit, fresh fruit coulis, prickly pear, lime and blueberry gelatinas) and Tres Leches de Café (soaked vanilla sponge cake with mascarpone whip, mocha sauce, fresh strawberries).
Puesto’s craft bar program features a curated list of agave spirits (tequilas, mezcals, sotols, bacanoras & raicillas) sourced from throughout Mexico. Made from freshly squeezed juices and housemade sodas, signature cocktails include the Puesto Perfect Margarita (blue agave reposado tequila, lime, agave), Mojito Classico (rum, lime, sugar cane, mint), Desperado (Vida Mezcal, Carpano Antica, Lillet Blanc, Cointreau Noir, walnut bitters) and a rotating Mercado Margarita of the Month. Puesto also offers local and Mexican microbrews on draft alongside Valle de Guadalupe wines on tap. Frozen horchata and seasonal agua frescas are made from scratch daily. Additionally, a dollar from each frozen horchata purchase is donated to a selected charity of the month.
Designed by Paul Basile of BASILE Studio with custom-built elements throughout, Puesto’s new 5,300-square-foot Park Place location makes use of bright colors and rich contrasting materials. Warm Douglas fir timber and cool grey stone create a dynamic juxtaposition reflective of Mexico City: a cosmopolitan hub known both for its authentic street food as well as its elevated Mexican cuisine with international influences. Adjoined to the new AC Marriot Hotel, guests enter the restaurant from Michelson Drive where glass walls flip open, creating a seamless indoor-outdoor dining room. Unifying the dining room and wraparound patio, an 18-seat bar with an interactive liquor carousel serves as a focal point.
The space is inspired by a Mexican silver mine from the 19th century, towering wooden arches frame ceilings and walls, draw the eye to contrasting metal beams and vivid tile artwork by famed local street artist Chor Boogie. Other design highlights include handmade block oak and canvas seating, custom rock walls and copper veining accents. For more information, visit