Cheap eats: 5 top options for inexpensive Mexican fare in Santa Ana

Photo: Cafe Calacas/Yelp

Looking for a yummy (and cheap) Mexican meal near you?

Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the best affordable Mexican restaurants around Santa Ana, using both Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list of where to venture when cravings strike.

1. Tacos Manuel

PHOTO: howie c./YELP

Topping the list is Tacos Manuel. Located at 1638 E. 17th St. in Mabury Park, the food truck is the highest rated budget-friendly Mexican spot in Santa Ana, boasting 4.5 stars out of 363 reviews on Yelp.

The spot - with a storefront location now in Anaheim - specializes in authentic street tacos with offerings like carnitas, chicken and, for more adventurous eaters, beef tongue. Quesadillas and burritos are on offer as well, along with fresh tortas and hauraches -- a fried masa topped with beans, sour cream, lettuce and your choice of protein. (You can check out the menu here.)

"This is a taco truck with -- I believe -- a permanent location, so you don't have to chase them down," shared Yelper Craig W. "That's a good thing. Delicious street tacos at fair prices. The quesadilla with cheese-only was huge and also terrific (you can get it with meats inside, too, if you choose)."

2. Taco Pronto

Photo: sam s./Yelp

Next up is Taco Pronto, situated at 1714 E. McFadden Ave. Established in 1989, the spot features authentic Mexican fare that is fast and fresh, along with made-from-scratch sauces.

Come try breakfast offerings like huevos rancheros with two fried eggs; a hearty breakfast burrito; or boiled cactus with sauteed onions, rice, beans, scrambled eggs and tortillas.

With 4.5 stars out of 341 reviews on Yelp, the fast food Mexican spot has proven to be a local favorite for those looking for an affordable option.

Yelper Albert E., who reviewed the restaurant Aug. 2, wrote, "Really good tasting food! Tacos are a good size! Surf and turf burrito with al pastor is a must have!"

3. Los Reyes Del Elote

Photo: howie c./Yelp

Heninger Park's Los Reyes Del Elote, located at the corner of Main and Chestnut, is another top choice, with Yelpers giving the inexpensive food truck 4.5 stars out of 255 reviews.

On the menu, expect to find a variety of elote dishes (Mexican grilled corn), along with classic staples with protein options like fried pork skin, beef cheeks, Mexican sausage and shrimp.

"I love this place!" said Yelper Citlally G. "I will always go out of my way to eat here! The food is amazing, and the family that runs it are super hardworking and down to earth!"

4. Cafe Calacas

Photo: Cafe Calacas/Yelp

Cafe Calacas, a Mexican cafe offering specialty espresso drinks, breakfast fare and more Downtown, is another cheap go-to, with four stars out of 679 Yelp reviews.

A variety of "Mexi-Frapps" are available, along with specialty lattes made with flavors like horchata, dulce de leche and rompope (eggnog).

Hungry? Come try the eatery's all-day breakfast menu with offerings like the breakfast croissant with chipotle aioli; house chilaquiles with tortilla fritters, queso fresco, cilantro, two eggs and red or green salsa base; and Puerquitos In a Blanket - a traditional Belgium waffle infused with beef chorizo and topped with housemade sweet and spicy sauce. (See the full menu here.)

Yelper Elwin G., who reviewed the spot June 29, wrote, "Tried out their famous chile verde chilaquiles burrito and fresh squeezed OJ. Man, this burrito is a must try. Staff is very friendly and knowledgeable."

Interested? Head on over to 324 W. Fourth St., Suite B to see for yourself.

5. Alebrije's Grill

Photo: andrew k./Yelp

Over in Delhi, check out Alebrije's Grill, which has earned 4.5 stars out of 192 reviews on Yelp. Dig in at the food truck and Mexican spot by heading over to Cubbon And South Main streets.

Menu offerings include fresh gorditas, tortas, quesadillas and tacos, as well as an array of sauces and salsa options.

"Amazing torta cubana!" shared Yelper Alex P. "I rarely order these, but could tell this place does them right. The description alone makes your mouth water (3 kinds of meat, ham, pineapple, cheese, avocado, beans, jalapenos, not sure what else) and the bread is on point -- something most places get wrong with tortas."
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