Taqueria Morita specializes in Baja-style cuisine such as fish tacos.

Baja-Style Cuisine Shines in the Casual Setting of Taqueria Morita

Monday June 17, 2024

By Rachel Huffman

Taqueria Morita, the newest concept from Take Root Hospitality, which is helmed by Michael and Tara Gallina, specializes in Baja-style cuisine.

“Our menus lean into northern Mexican cuisine,” Take Root Hospitality partner and culinary director Aaron Martinez, who serves as head chef of Taqueria Morita, says. “The food is reminiscent of what I ate as a kid when my parents took me to restaurants in Ensenada and Rosarito. We use a lot of acidity to brighten the food, and we add heat, but altogether, nothing is too spicy.”

Martinez has worked in kitchens around the world, from Chicago to Spain and Belgium to Los Angeles, and he’s using his personal and professional experience to make Taqueria Morita the best place for a fun, casual meal any time of the year.

“I love Mexican food through and through, and I love the flavors on our menus. There’s something nostalgic about every bite.”

Aaron Martinez

Wrapped in flour tortillas, tacos abound on the lunch and dinner menus. The carne asada tacos feature crispy Chihuahua cheese, avocado salsa and Fresno guacachile, while the pork carnitas tacos boast preserved tomatillo yogurt, housemade salsa and pickled red onion.

“We’re using all the techniques in our toolkit to showcase the ingredients and cuisine,” Martinez says. “Like all our restaurants [including Vicia, Bistro La Floraison and Winslow’s Table] Taqueria Morita offers chef-driven dishes that delight a variety of palates.”

As Baja-style cuisine centers on seafood, Martinez recommends starting with the kanpachi aquachile made with clam broth, cucumber, white soy sauce, pickled shiitake mushrooms and scallion oil as well as the octopus tostada topped with recado negro, garlic aïoli, habanero and radish. Pair the antojitos with fish tempura tacos stuffed with red cabbage, chipotle crema, jalapeño and cilantro salsa for the ultimate dining experience.

“I love Mexican food through and through,” Martinez says, “and I love the flavors on our menus. There’s something nostalgic about every bite.”

Taqueria Morita also accommodates vegetarians and vegans with flavorful dishes such as the green tomato sikil pak, heirloom tomato salad and grilled broccolini Caesar salad, followed by mushroom barbacoa tacos and smoked carrot tacos.

Bar director Leila Miller expertly crafts cocktails that complement the cuisine – think a Mezcal Margmorita with orange liqueur. She also mixes tequila, coffee liqueur, vanilla, coconut horchata and cold-brew coffee for a fitting version of an Espresso Martini.

If you prefer your agave spirits neat or on the rocks, you can choose from more than 30 varieties at Taqueria Morita.

“In the last decade, Mexican cuisine – the food and the drinks – have been brought to the forefront,” Martinez says. “Today, people value a good mezcal as much as a good Scotch, and it’s important that we offer elevated and exciting options to our patrons.”

Taqueria Morita doesn’t take reservations. Simply walk in for lunch, happy hour or dinner Tuesday through Saturday.