It’s hard to imagine a better location for a restaurant than Anaheim’s Calaca Mamas Cantina: across the street from the entrance to Disneyland on Harbor Boulevard.
It’s also hard to imagine a more imaginative cuisine theme than the spot’s “Day of the Dead” focus.
Calaca Mamas opened in May and has been gaining in popularity with both visitors and locals. The restaurant was founded by seasoned restaurateur sisters Angela and Mariam El Haj.
“Having been in the restaurant industry for many years, my sister Mariam and I are proud to put our names behind our first original concept, which celebrates our love for Mexico and Day Of The Dead culture and showcases recipes that have been passed down generations in our own family,” Angela said.
“We are confident that our guests will be blown away by every aspect of the restaurant, from the ingredients which are sourced organic and non-GMO whenever possible, to the aesthetic flair and lively atmosphere.”
The restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week. The menu features Mexican favorites with a twist, such as the “Frito Bandito” (large flour tortilla wrapped around chicken tinga and carne asada, red rice and frijoles charra, lettuce, pico de gallo, chihuahua cheese, crema, guacamole and Fritos corn chips topped with queso blanco), homestyle dishes like the “Camarones al Ajo” (jumbo shrimp, olive oil, poblano chiles, tomato, garlic, lime and cilantro), and desserts such as “Fried Ice Cream” (vanilla ice cream coated in corn flakes and cinnamon sugar, fried, then drizzled with honey and chocolate syrup and garnished with whipped cream).
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As a Disneyland pass holder, I found Calaca Mamas Cantina the perfect spot to dine before or after a visit to the area. It’s a five-minute walk from the restaurant to the theme park entrances, and the menu options are more robust than anything in Disneyland or California Adventure.
My first time to Calaca Mamas was for breakfast. I ordered the breakfast tacos with scrambled eggs, queso chihuahua blend, pico de gallo, and crema. Simple and satisfying, full of flavor and easy to eat. Other breakfast options include huevos rancheros, breakfast burrito, churro waffles, concha French toast, and other morning concoctions.
I followed up that meal a week later with lunch. This time I tried the Flautas de Pollo with chicken tinga, queso chihuahua blend, habanero honey salsa and crema. I quickly found that the salsa provided a lot of heat thanks to the habaneros so I went easy on the salsa and added some of the milder pico de gallo that came with the house-made chips.
I noticed Taco in a Bag listed on the menu my previous visit, and decided I needed to try it.
Basically, it’s Calaca Mamas’ version of a walking taco, only served on a plate with the contents spilling out. You choose chicken tinga or carne asada, and then they add their queso chihuahua blend, lettuce, pico de gallo and crema, all stuffed inside a bag of Fritos corn chips.
This was my favorite dish, both for the novelty and for the textures—the corn chips provided a nice crunch to the other ingredients, and it was fun to eat.
Calaca Mamas is open from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily.
Calaca Mamas: 1550 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 215-4226, calacamamas.com