Puesto‘s addition is now open at Huntington Beach’s Bella Terra. The most expansive space yet, at 7600 sq feet, it’s the third and largest location in Orange County. The moment you step into Puesto, a magnificent foray into a stunning environment awaits, featuring high ceilings and a color scheme that simply takes one’s breath away.
The bar is the first thing you’ll experience, and the array of tequilas mounted on display walls around the bar is mesmerizing. The mounted shelf lowers with a touch of a button allowing easy access to the myriad of choices available. On top of the vast spirits collection, the restaurant also offers a selection of local and Mexican microbrews on draft, as well as Valle de Guadalupe wines. Frozen horchata and seasonal agua frescas are made from scratch daily and if that isn’t enough to coax you into ordering one, each frozen horchata purchase sees a dollar donated to a selected charity every month.
We settled comfortably into our seats while I’m still taking in the sheer enormity of this space, and how beautiful it is. We order some drinks while we take our time to peruse the menu.
Paloma ($15) is a refreshing cocktail using Volcan blanco tequila, FeverTree grapefruit soda, fresh lime. If you’re a fan of mezcal, I highly suggest substituting it for tequila. The smokiness adds a layer of depth to the cocktail. Cannonball ($16) with Del Maguey Vida mezcal, apricot liqueur, pineapple, fresh lime, and Angostura Bitters is a pretty presentation and rather easy to drink.
We ordered some Chicharrones ($6) for the table. A generous basket of freshly fried pork rinds dusted with chile and lime arrived and we could still hear the crackling on the chicharron for at least 30 seconds. These were light, airy, crunchy, and the perfect accompaniment for the cocktails.
Chicken Taquitos ($16) were thoroughly enjoyed. These tubular delights could’ve been slightly crispier, but the filling was lovely, as well as the accompanying tomatillo-arbol salsa. A touch of queso fresco adds savoriness, while the crema lends an element of richness.
We don’t usually find corvina on a ceviche menu in OC, so seeing Citrus Cured Corvina ($17) meant we must order it. I’m very picky when it comes to ceviche. I thought it hit every point in terms of flavor — perfectly balanced with the right acidity level.
I’m not generally a fan of enchiladas, but after hearing that Suiza Enchilada ($21) is only available at Bella Terra, I decided to give it a try. Braised Jidori chicken is rolled inside these tortillas and bathed in chile verde salsa, topped with Oaxacan cheese, Mexican crema, pickled red onion, and avocado. The result is a delicious combination of textures and spot-on flavor profiles, making it one of the best enchiladas I’ve encountered in quite some time. This is definitely a winner.
There are 10 tacos offered on the menu ranging from various proteins, as well as vegetarian options, served with hand-made blue corn tortillas. My favorites include: Verduras ($6.50) a blend of tatume squash, potatoes, corn and tomato, noodles (cactus), avocado, jalapeno, and zucchini blossoms. This is not only vegetarian, but also, gluten free.
Tamarindo Shrimp ($9) consists of crispy shrimp, tamarindo-chile sauce, classic guacamole, and cilantro, also gluten free.
Baja Fish ($9) is line-caught local fish coated in a batter infused with Puesto house beer (the Puesto Negra is very tasty), topped with shredded cabbage, avocado, crema, and morita salsa (a smoked jalapeno similar to chipotle, but fierier).
If you’re looking for a night out surrounded by vibrant music and decor, go check out this newest location. My photos don’t do it justice!
At Bella Terra
7821 Edinger Avenue, Suite 110
Huntington Beach, CA 92647