By ISABELLA OH
The Los Olivos Marketplace, a new plaza that recently opened up by the Irvine Spectrum, carries unique restaurants and might be your next choice of food options! Puesto is a newly opened restaurant that features Mexican food with a creative, not to mention, mouth-watering fusion. They serve a wide variety of tacos from mushroom, for vegetarians, to lobster topped off with the perfect condiments. In addition to serving tacos, they also offer enchiladas, ceviche, and more.
The origin of Puesto began with a group of four brothers, who unexpectedly started a family business. It was Chef Luisteen, the original creator of these tacos, who brought them all together through his zeal for making unique tacos. The authentic food combinations that the restaurant produces really speak to customers craving its creativity.
One aspect of Puesto that sets it off from other Mexican restaurants is their non-GMO blue taco shell tortillas, yes blue! They serve their food with a piping batch of yellow corn tortillas and freshly made salsa. Puesto also offers cold refreshing drinks, like agua frescas and frozen horchatas, which complement their tacos perfectly on a hot humid day.
The interior of the restaurant is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Inspired by a colorful, well-lit modern Mexican jungle theme, it radiates a resort-like aura that makes it suitable for any occasion and age group. The hosts and waitresses were extremely bright and welcoming, which made our experience comfortable and casual. Since we went around 6 o’clock, the restaurant’s peak time, we were forced to sit outside in the hot weather. With a roof over our head for shade and cold drinks in our hands, we had a different experience than traditionally sitting inside. Later in the evening, a cool breeze started to kick in, making the heat bearable.
My family and I ordered the Ceviche de Camáron, which was a combination of shrimp, avocado, cucumber and serrano pepper, served with a side of blue corn tortilla chips. The shrimp was juicy from being drenched in lime juice, which gave a moderate tang. The cucumber gave it balance with a crunch, and the crunch from both the chips and the cucumbers were complemented by the creamy avocado. We also ordered multiple taco plates of the Maine Lobster, Filet Mignon, Mushroom Veg, Chicken al Pastor, Baja Fish, and Tamarindo Shrimp. The Maine Lobster was a must because, well, it was a Lobster taco, and we had never tried a Lobster taco before. Upon eating it, it was my favorite taco and I definitely will be coming back for it! While most of their tacos were served with a layer of crispy cheese that made them more savory, they each had something that set them apart from one another. For instance, their Lobster tacos were topped off with crispy onion that gave a crunch, contrasting their shrimp tacos which were glazed with a tamarindo-chile sauce that gave a smoky savor.
The one downside to the great food was that it came a little less than an hour later. However, reflective of its dedication to customers, our waitress considerately offered us a Lamb Sopes with a waived fee. The taco plates came in sets of three for $15 each, and so including the ceviche we paid about $150 including tip.
Though the cost may be on the pricier side, the food was worth every penny and we will definitely be going again. A great opportunity to get a taste of the food would be going on National Taco Day, October 4, as they are serving free tacos to customers. Additionally, they participate in Taco Tuesday by selling their tacos at a reduced price, which may be the perfect option for someone looking to enjoy a few exquisite tacos for a cheaper price.
Overall, we were very impressed by the restaurant’s twist on ordinary tacos that are otherwise the same at other Mexican restaurants. I highly recommend Puesto to people of all ages, and all palate preferences, as they will undoubtedly leave you asking for more.