Since its opening, Mercado has quickly become a Pasadena staple due to its classic and contemporary cuisine inspired by fresh, local ingredients and Chef Jose Acevedo’s Mexican roots. Located on South Lake Avenue, the restaurant is highly lauded for its creative Mexican meals and ample offerings of over 70 premium silver, reposado, and añejo tequilas and mezcals.
There’s never a wrong way to start the meal at Mercado, but we highly recommend opting for the house guacamole, a crowd-pleaser made with Hass avocados, serrano peppers, cilantro, red onions, spicy pepitas, and Yxta salsa brava—all complemented with a side of fresh chips.
While the menu is peppered with familiar classics including enchiladas, tacos, chile rellenos and tamales, Chef Acevedo adds his unique spin, resulting in a mouthwatering explosion of taste. The carnitas is a popular pick, featuring slow-cooked natural pork, guacamole, Yxta salsa brava, cauliflower al pastor, and cilantro. There’s also an array of meatless meals, including Tacos de Coliflor and Wild Mushroom Chile Relleno.
Patrons should also take advantage of Mercado’s Happy Hour (Mon.–Fri. 4–6:30 p.m. and Sat.–Sun. 4–6 p.m.) for the iconic margaritas and specialty cocktails like the Flor de Jamaica, made with altos reposado tequila, Combier liqueur, lemongrass simple syrup, hibiscus and lime topped with a hibiscus sugar rim.
L-D Sun.-Fri., D Sat. 140 S. Lake Ave., Ste. 101, Pasadena, 626-345-5778, cocinasycalaveras.com.