Steve and I always stay home on Valentine’s Day to avoid the crowds but with it being our engagement anniversary we still wanted to celebrate! Last Friday, the day after Valentine’s Day, we headed out into the rain for dinner at Hidalgo’s Cocina & Cócteles, a Mexican restaurant located in downtown Fullerton in the historic Villa del Sol building. Not just your average, neighborhood Mexican joint, Hidalgo’s is known for it’s upscale atmosphere and delicious, fresh Latin flavors and flair. Keep reading for my full review and why this OC hotspot is a must try>>
Formerly known as Cafe Hidalgo, Hidalgo’s Cocina & Cócteles has an upscale vibe with tasteful Latin decor sprinkled throughout. The restaurant features a larger dining area, with a bar in the middle and a smaller, more private room on the opposite side. The tables were adorned with romantic candlelight, making Hidalgo’s the perfect spot for our date night.
Hidalgo’s offers both inside and patio seating and unfortunately it was raining so sitting outside wasn’t an option. However, I think their patio would be the perfect spot for happy hour margaritas and people watching on a warm evening! There is also seating in the Villa del Sol courtyard, which helps set the mood for a more intimate date night as it’s surrounded by palm trees and a soothing fountain in the middle.
Speaking of margaritas, Steve and I started our meal with a round— trying both the citrusy house margarita (delicious!) and the ‘slim’ margarita which was made with fresh lime juice and agave… it was superb! The menu changes seasonally and our server mentioned they will most likely offer additional margarita flavors in the spring and summer months.
We noshed on chips and salsa with our drinks and I have to say, I could NOT stop eating the chips.This is NOT your typical basket of stale chips and runny salsa! The chips were perfectly warm, crisp and fresh and the salsa was on point– just the perfect amount of spice, not too hot but not too tame either.
We also ordered the Quesadilla Hidalgo to share and I’m just going to admit it– this was one of, if not the best, quesadillas I have ever tried. Steve loves his quesadillas and even he agreed! It was perfectly ooey, gooey and cheesy with a blend of Oaxacan cheese, squash blossoms and grilled chicken in what tasted like a homemade tortilla. The quesadilla was paired with a fresh pico de gallo salsa and guacamole and while it was the perfect appetizer to split, it would also work as an entrée for one.
I saw that there was an elote bisque (roasted sweet corn) on the menu, which sounds excellent as a starter. I’ll have to try it on my next visit! Hidalgo’s also offers albondigas soup, chicken tinga tostadas, ceviche and more.
For our main dishes, Steve ordered the Burrito Plate and I went a little less traditional Mexican and ordered the Steak Chimichurri. How insanely delicious do these look?!? The menu also offered fajitas, chilaquiles, al pastor and more.
My steak was cooked perfectly (medium-well for me!) and came with roasted potatoes and sautéed veggies– carrots, zucchini and squash. The dish came with tufts of an Argentinean pesto to dip the steak into, which was wonderfully herby and brightened the dish. The steak had been marinated and was extremely flavorful– the chimichurri kicked it up a few notches.The portion was perfect and the presentation with good. It is definitely a dish I would recommend and eat again.
I snagged a taste of Steve’s burrito and it was yummy as well! The burrito was packed with Mexican rice, black beans, cheese, and grilled chicken. He ordered it ‘wet’, covered in a tasty verde sauce and smothered in cheese. The burrito was a good size– he was unable to finish it– and the plate also included Mexican rice and black beans topped with cotija cheese.
I couldn’t resist dessert and while flan probably should have been the obvious choice, when I saw crème brûlée on the menu it was all over. The vanilla-flavored custard was rich and creamy, topped with a layer of caramelized sugar and a touch of cinnamon. It was perfectly rustic and perfectly out-of-this-world delicious!
The service we received at Hidalgo’s was fantastic– our server was happy to offer suggestions and answer any questions we had. We did have to wait a little longer for drinks, however it looked like there was just the one bartender mixing up all the drinks behind the bar. After tasting the margaritas, they were definitely worth the wait! The food, however, came quickly, although we never felt rushed.
If you are in the north Orange County area or heading to downtown Fullerton for a date night, I would definitely recommend trying Hidalgo’s Cocina & Cócteles! Thank you so much to Hidalgo’s for having us for dinner and giving us a wonderful date night.
Do you love Mexican food? Share your favorite Mexican / Latin dish in the comments below!
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