By Greg Nagel
From breakfast to brunch and lunch to late night, Santa Ana’s delicious dining options have your cravings covered.
BREAKFAST & BRUNCH
Alta Baja Market is so much more than a crafty bodega. The popular 4th Street Market location serves breakfast and lunch all day on weekdays and is brunch ground zero on weekends. There’s always something tasty to try, from a full Michelada menu to the state’s largest collection of Mexican wine. If pozole is on the menu, don’t miss out.
Café Cultura brings breakfast and brunch to a new level with elevated coffee drinks like Mexi-frapps filled with everything from horchata to Mexican chai. There are specialty lattes and four different waffles to choose from. Try the chocolate goosebump that’s topped with berries, chocolate chips, and whipped cream.
Den Cafe proves that the classics are alive and well, serving up breakfast and brunch in its bright and boho historic artist district spot since the 90s. After a rebrand, the Den now offers a range of cocktails and beers with eclectic American bites.
WEEKEND BRUNCH AND DAILY DINNER
Benchmark celebrates Santa Ana’s gorgeous year-round weather with 100 percent alfresco dining and is a favorite among locals. Play it safe with a Benchmark burger with delicious bacon jam and marinated tomato on brioche, or be adventurous and go with gochujang fried chicken.
Native Son’s rooftop bar is possibly the best view of downtown’s Calle Cuatro marketplace, especially during sunset. What started out as a solid craft beer bar now has one of the best happy hours on the street with incredible cocktails, weekend brunch, and lively events.
El Mercado Modern Cuisine is like walking into a cozy Mexico City gastropub, where bites and drinks are just as stunning to look at as they are to enjoy. Try the aguachile with razor-thin slices of cucumber piled into beautiful fractal art with shrimp, chilis, and avocado.
Lola Gaspar draws its inspiration from around the globe, but most notably Spain and Mexico where tapas and small bites reign supreme. Its tacos start with freshly griddled Sonoran flour tortillas and a selection of toppings, everything from mesquite asada to pork belly confit carnitas.
Omakase by Gino (OMG) opens up its reservations promptly at 10 a.m. on the second Sunday of every month, and it sells out quickly. Prepare yourself for so many courses of the freshest nigiri, sashimi, sushi, and other Gino whimsies that you'll lose count.