A (case)adilla for Irvine’s newest Little Onion Mexican Restaurant

Pranav Gaddam, Staff Writer

Now open for three months, the Little Onion brings a taste of Mexico to the plates of Irvine residents. 

At first glance the restaurant’s spacious lot, extending into the Walnut Village Center with seating both outside and inside, was a pleasant surprise. The inside had an impressive rustic atmosphere, with Mexican paintings adorning the walls and dim lighting throughout. On a Saturday afternoon, it was a gorgeous setting for a meal not too cramped or too loud with little chatter, perfect for hanging out with friends, family or even a date. 

Moving onto the food, their spicy salmon and chicken tacos, which both had well-balanced flavors, were my favorite dishes. Every bite filled my mouth with a burst of flavors, from the delicate combination of chopped tomatoes, onions, peppers and cilantro in the Pico de Gallo to the heat of the spicy Chipotle Aioli sauces. The meat was well cooked and tender, but could contribute an extra spice to the taco.

The amount of sauce was perfect; it didn’t overwhelm the other flavors, but rather complemented the dish with a kick of spice. In terms of texture, the bell peppers added an extra crunch with every bite. 

Next, the Mexican Pizza, while messy in presentation, was full of deep, rich flavors. The combination of a crispy tortilla with rich toppings like shredded chicken, Ranchero sauce and Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese was divine. The creamy, melted cheese provided delicious contrast to the spicy Ranchero sauce. Additionally, these textures mix very well. However, it was a little difficult to eat because almost all of the toppings fell off mid-bite.

Finally, the Lil O Burritos’ filling of rice, beans, chicken and bell peppers was decent, but I can’t say the same about the corn tortilla. It was slightly chewy and hard to cut. The overall look wasn’t appealing either because the burrito was drenched in Rojo sauce, a spicy red sauce. In the end, the quantity left me content, but I noticed an excess of rice that slightly overpowered the other ingredients.

Overall, the meat dishes were tender and juicy. The food was on the more expensive side with three small tacos costing $17, but they have a lot of variety on their menu. From the appetizers to the deserts, there are plenty of dishes and flavors for everyone. An eight out of ten: I would come back, but I recommend exploring the menu because certain dishes excel, but some are not quite as appealing.