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Javier Cuadra grew up between central Mexico and Orange County. Whenever he returned to the U.S. from Michoacán and Guadalajara, he would miss the rich flavors of fresh ceviche and smoky mole.
While Southern California has an abundance of amazing taco shops, Cuadra knows that Northern Mexican food is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding the country’s gastronomy.
“All the cuisine I never saw in Orange County, that’s what I wanted to bring,” Cuadra told What Now San Diego. “This is real, central Mexican cuisine.”
Cuadra’s experience working in the restaurant industry and studying business inspired him to open his own restaurant in Anaheim six years ago. Now, Urbana Mexican Gastronomy is coming to the Del Mar Highlands Town Center at 12841 El Camino Real.
“This area in Del Mar has much more of a beachy feeling than in Anaheim, so we’re letting that inspire us for the menu and design,” Cuadra said. “I lived in Colima, so we’re bringing Mexican beaches into the San Diego beaches with the style. Much like our Anaheim location, but with a beachier feel.”
Urbana’s most popular menu items can be found in the taco section, where guests can choose from twelve different options, including pork belly, lobster and filet mignon. However, Cuadra’s personal favorite dish is the enchiladas suizas with sauteed garlic shrimp, salsa verde, and Oaxaca cheese. Other specialties can be found in the extensive mixology section, featuring mezcal cocktails and gourmet margaritas.
Along with Chef Ernie Alvarado, Cuadra earned a Golden Foodie Award for their Anaheim restaurant. This coming May, they will be opening their doors about 80 miles south in the Del Mar Highlands Town Center.
“There wasn’t much central Mexican food in Orange County, and there isn’t much in San Diego. So that’s why we’re really excited to bring it here.”