Stepping into Mercado’s bi-level contemporary cantina atmosphere (designed by New York architect Poonam Khanna) nearly a year after it first opened its doors on Santa Monica’s 4th Street, the energy is high. Communal tables overflow with cocktails and conversation from its daily happy hour, booths are full downstairs and up and the promise of authentic modern Mexican cuisine beckons.
It’s here that Acevedo has been serving his signature cuisine—including carnitas made using a recipe passed down through generations—along with daily-handmade tortillas, fresh seafood selections and dishes featuring produce from the Santa Monica farmers market.
To start, the bar offers signature cocktails and 14 draft and bottled beers, plus more than 70 premium silver, reposado and añejo tequilas; follow that up with a dinner menu of south-of-the-border selections with a fresh angle, and you’re set.
Here’s a closer look at highlights from a recent visit:
Soon, Mercado will not only be a westside mainstay; it is opening an additional outpost in the former Faux Pas Bistro space near the Farmers Market at 7910 W. 3rd Street. Slated to open in September, be ready for Acevedo’s cuisine east of the 405.
1416 4th St., Santa Monica, 310.526.7121. mercadosantamonica.com