Orange County will soon be experiencing some of the most perfect weather when summer rolls around, and this gives you every reason to spend some time in gorgeous Laguna Beach. Carmelita’s Kitchen de Mexico is a great spot to grab some food, and sip on craft cocktails, while enjoying the views of the glorious beach.
The restaurant attracts a good amount of tourists during the summer months, but essentially, Carmelita’s is still a favorite among Laguna Beach locals. Its happy hour is widely popular, with an array of delicious margaritas on offer. A basket of chips and salsa arrive at the table, along with black bean puree for you to munch on while you peruse the menu.
I’m always lured by anything corn, so Mexico City Corn ($5) was a sure order. These fire roasted corn-on-the-cob are served topped with queso fresco, crema, and cilantro. It is rather tasty, and I would most definitely order it again!
Taquito lovers have a difficult choice to make. Will you choose Shrimp Taquitos ($15) which sees a whole shrimp encased in a crispy shell served with queso fresco, roasted lime salsa, and aioli …
… or Chicken Taquitos ($15) comprising shredded chicken, pico de gallo and Jack cheese.
Looking for another appetizer for the table to share? Then look no further than Crab Jalapenos ($15). Basically a kicked-up chile relleno, these jalapenos are stuffed with fresh crab, then wrapped with bacon and cooked until crispy.
Vegetarians aren’t overlooked at Carmelita’s. I was immediately attracted to Avocado Tacos ($16), but, when it arrived, I was a little disappointed to find that they weren’t exactly avocados, but rather, veggie tacos. However, the minute I tasted it, any disappointment I had quickly dissipated. These little blue corn tortillas are stuffed with the tastiest chunks of zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and spinach, then topped with fresh avocado slices. A misnomer, but a delicious one nevertheless.
I don’t often order meat, but the server highly recommended Famous Carnitas ($20) and I must admit, it was really good. The whole piece of caramelized and then finished off on the flat top creating a crispy exterior. Use your fork and knife to gently shred the meat and create your own tacos. The guacamole and roasted salsa, as well as the grilled green onions add layers of flavor to this dish.
My favorite entree of the meal was Camarones a la Diabla ($22). This is a dish I regularly order when eating at Mexican restaurants. These roasted shrimp are paired with a spicy arbol salsa, giving them a luscious flavor that I want more of. I didn’t even eat them with the tortillas, choosing to instead, take advantage of the Veracruz style rice on the plate to sop up all the sauce.
I look forward to returning again to try more of the dishes on the menu. I hear they have a solid happy hour which starts at 2pm which requires some looking into!
Carmelita’s Kitchen de Mexico
217 Broadway St
Laguna Beach, CA 92651