Pueblo-Costa Mesa - 5/15/2015

We are in Irvine this weekend to visit Kevin and we purposely flew down a day earlier so that we can dine at Trois Mec  (more details in my LudoBites post) but unfortunately my plan fell short and I had to find alternate restaurant.  Since I am not from the area, I went to Yelp, did my research and I found Pueblo: a restaurant that was opened about 4 months ago and got great reviews.  Pueblo is a modern Spanish Tapas serving Spanish-inspired small plates crafted by executive chef Michael Campbell who used to work as executive sous chef at Michael Mina’s RN74 in San Francisco.  Pueblo serves small plates and that was appealing to me as I like the idea of ordering a bunch of dishes to share.   We enjoyed so much our trip to Spain last year so I was glad to find a restaurant serving Spanish food so we can reminisce about the good time we had there.

Pueblo is located Costa Mesa in an industrial area and when we drove there we were a bit surprised to find out a whole shopping center with plenty of restaurants.


This is the entrance with a hostess standing in front to greet your.   The first thing you see is the Patio where people can dine al fresco with a bunch of tables and then you enter the restaurant which is long and narrow.

View of the bar from our table.

On top of the bar, hand written cocktails, dishes and specials of the day on chalk board running the full length of the counter.

The restaurant feels really warm when you walk in and I like the casual and inviting ambiance.


Dark wooden table with unfussy design accented with earth tones banquets and funky art on the wall.

Wooden rectangle board with menu on both side offering cold and hot dishes and offering a choice of about 30 small plates.

The wine list somewhat surprisingly skews toward California labels, but there are plenty of Spanish wines on hand, should you want the full experience of Spain

You can see the kitchen in the back of this picture and it appears to be just as minuscule as the dining room, so it is both impressive and surprising to see that they can crank out so many dishes.

You can also see a staff member slicing Jamón ibérico  (close to the door).  Hoa loved Jamón!

Hoa wanted to try a red wine from Spain and the waiter suggested the Bluegray, Cabernet/Grenache, Priorat  - $11/glass - Hoa said it was very decent.

I went with a Sangria - $9


We were so happy that Thuy was able to join us for dinner and it is just nice to be able to catch up.


Pueblo is a small restaurant, tables are packed together rather closely.

This a view from our table looking out into the front of the restaurant (patio area).



After taking our order, our waiter brought out Pan con tomate (bread with tomato), a complimentary dish.  Pan con tomate is Spain’s most famous and simplest snack and here it definitely does not look anything like the one serve in Spain.

The dish is served with freshly grilled charred bread, along with a small ramekin of tomato relish. The dish looks simple and right away I appreciate that the bread is hot.  I spooned the tomato relish on the grilled bread, pop it into my mouth...it was delicious!

Atún Crudo  - $13

Tuna tartare, pickled kohrabi, sesame, chives, and mint


The tuna tartare has good flavor, the fish was fresh and it came with toasted bread.


Pulpo a la Gallega -$12

grilled octopus, fennel, fingerlings, olive, bacon


Octopus is very popular dish in Spain and we ate it so many times while in Spain so of course I had to order it here.

The octopus were cooked properly and has a delicious grilled flavor, the salad with fennel, olives and bacon were a good combination.

Frito Mixto - $12

Crispy oyster, prawn, calamari served with squid ink aioli.

They are really generous for $12 we got a lot of seafood.

The squid ink aioli was a nice surprise and we all enjoyed it.

As a Tapas bar/Restaurant dishes are meant to be shared and that's exactly what we are doing.


Chef Campbell offers a daily take on paella and changes the stuffing on a daily basis.

Tonight he is preparing a seafood Paella - $34

This paella is supposed to be for 2 but between the three of us, we could not finish it.

The paella was excellent and very flavorful. 

For Dessert we ordered a chocolate soufflé cake - $7



This is not a traditional soufflé, to me it is like a molten cake, topped with vanilla ice cream and toasted nuts.  Very delicious!


It was so delicious that we ate the whole thing.

Our dessert was brought out right away and by the time we finished out dessert we were still waiting for our coffee.  We waited for 10/15 minutes and then asked our waiter where is the coffee, he realized that they forgot to prepare it.  Waited another 5 minutes for our coffee to be served and then our waiter apologized and told us that dessert was on the house.

Overall it was a very pleasant experience dining at Pueblo.  The food was good, good vibe, reasonably priced, and I think they were successful in bringing authentic Spanish cuisine to the area.

I don’t know why Spanish cuisine is not popular in California, there are very few Spanish restaurants and Pueblo is nice addition.  The next time I am in Orange county I will definitely stop by Pueblo again..



3321 Hyland Avenue, Suite D

Costa Mesa, Ca 92626

714 340 5775



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