Is Costa Vida Another Cafe Rio?

Costa_Vida_Logo.jpg
I'm both intrigued and kind of wary that a Mexican chain called Costa Vida is planned for Irvine, next to Strickland's at the Albertons plaza near UCI.

I'm intrigued because like the Cafe Rio chain, it is Utah-based (how many Mexican chains they got over there?)

I'm wary because I hope that Costa Vida isn't more of the same. Gustavo tried Cafe Rio and it turned out to be a disastrous disappointment.

Costa Vida's website won't tell you much except that it features meats like carne asada they call "grilled steak" and something called "Raspberry Chipotle Chicken" that you can stuff into your tacos and burritos.

If you've guessed that "Raspberry Chipotle" sounds like an American invention, you'd be right. The flavor is actually Texan, created and popularized by Fischer & Wieser, a specialty food producer of jellies and sauces owned by the union of two German families. Now, how it migrated from the Lone Star State to the Beehive State is as much a head-scratcher as why there are so many Utah-based Mexican chains eager to conquer the world.

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9 comments
CafeRioLover
CafeRioLover

I just moved from Vegas and I don't know anyone in Vegas, Phoenix, or Utah who doesn't LOVE Cafe Rio. I mean that seriously. Maybe Gustavo just had a bad experience, or maybe that one location isn't very good, but almost everyone I know has Cafe Rio somewhere near the top of their favorites list, including me. I miss it so much!

MikeHs
MikeHs

I really don't care how "authentic" or "corporate" Cafe Rio is - I like their food and am happy to eat there.  I don't see any problem with their quality, so if Costa Vida is similar, so what?  But, then I am a barbarian and don't mind eating at "Olive Garden" now and again depending on circumstances (Quelle horreur!).  Oh, well, the correct cuisine police will just have to haul me away to the re-education camp.

Cunning Stunts
Cunning Stunts

Is the restaurant Cafe Rio that was mentioned in this article any good? I pass by it and there is a line out the door. But then again there is a line out the door at Olive Garden quite frequently

Cunning Stunts
Cunning Stunts

I guess this answers my question http://blogs.ocweekly.com/stic...

909Jeff
909Jeff

Yeah but I would encourage you to try it for yourself... While Gustavo has exceptional taste when it comes to food he can tend to be a little to protective of his beloved Mexican cuisine and I think that he looks at a place like Cafe Rio with scorn due to its Chipotle-esque commercialism and corny decor. He diced he place up pretty good in his column but i'm assuming he went into the deal expecting it to be bad. 

 At the end of the day Gustavo should like this place since each store employs about 50 of his Hermano's y Hermana's.  And if you bang a tip in the jar they all sing to you!  (The only other profession where dignity costs a dollar involves a brass pole)

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

I like In-n-Out, and it's corporate, so don't play that game with me. Crap is crap, and Cafe Rio is crap.

JB
JB

I can see the OC Weekly review headline right now: "Livin' la Vida Costa"

JB
JB

They're moving next to Strickland's 'cause they know you'll wander in LOL

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