The envelope please!!
The Simple Eye award is given to the restaurant, clothier or other product that best exemplifies the Simple Eye ideal–exquisite simplicity. The winner will always be unpretentious and accessible, yet uncompromisingly excellent. The first restaurant I’ve chosen to embody that ideal is–wait for it–Taco Maria in Costa Mesa.
Taco Maria is the lovechild of chef Carlos Salgado, who has cooked at some pretty snooty places in the Bay Area. Fortunately, this restaurant is as down-to-earth as a homemade tortilla. It’s not dirt cheap, but compared to truly high-end places like Spago or Trois Mec it’s a bargain. And the food is second-to-none. On Sunday, there’s a three-course brunch that features the tiniest pancakes you’ve ever seen. Oh, and also the best. They’re the ones pictured in the photo, with mulberry jam and thyme-maple syrup.
And don’t forget the yogurt mousse with guava jam and poppyseed granola. And that’s just brunch. No less than L.A. Times award-winning critic Jonathan Gold has called Taco Maria maybe “the most important Mexican restaurant in California.” That’s saying a lot.
3313 Hyland Ave. Costa Mesa (714) 538-8444