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Mariana's Mexican Grill is a fairly new restaurant to the Merced dining scene, and it offers a variety of traditional Mexican favorites, in a comfortable, family-friendly, dining atmosphere.

As with all of my reviews, I have no affiliation with the restaurant reviewed, and there is no monetary gain on my part, as I am simply a person who likes to eat, and I love to write-up, and publish my dining experiences.

Photo:  Mariana's Mexican Restaurant is a fairly new restaurant to Merced, as it's only been open a couple of years. The location is a bit on the odd side, as it's located in a business park, on the extreme western edge of town, but a couple of other restaurants share the business park, so perhaps they're starting a new trend in Merced dining. Photo was taken the morning after we dined, as exterior photos weren't possible, due to the dark November night.

Photo:  After spending much of the day hiking in beautiful Yosemite National Park, we were hungry, and ready to enjoy dinner at Mariana's Mexican Grill.  It's early Thursday evening, November, 17, 2016.

As you enter the dining room, you're greeted with a "Please Wait to be Seated" sign, but we were seated almost immediately.  The dining room is long, and quite narrow, and features booths on one side, and tables on the other side.  When we arrived, a little after 6 in the evening, the dining room was packed, and there was only one table for four - there were four of us - available.  The greeter asked if we wanted to wait for a booth, but we were hungry, and opted to seat at a table.  No worries for us, as tables work well in our book.

Not shown in the photo is a little alcove to the right, which includes a couple of tables, and offers semi-private dining.

Photo:  Just a minute or so after we were seated, chips and salsa arrived.  The chips were fantastic!  They were thin, crispy, very warm and fresh, so fresh that it seemed they had just been taken out of the fryer before being delivered to our table.  The chili salsa was delicious, with blended, complex flavors, and delivered a mild "kick," but it didn't burn. The cabbage salsa was shredded cabbage, with chopped jalapeno peppers, with a bit of vinegar added.  It was also fantastic, and made a great topping for the tortilla chips.

Photo:  The dining room is a bit unusual, as it's very long and narrow.  Booths are to the left, and tables are on the right.  This lighting is very "warm," and lends a mellow glow to this existing light photo.  My niece, Emily, reaches for another tortilla chip, as her mom and dad look on.  The couple to the left of the photo were each enjoying a bowl of "Caldo de Pescado," which is included on the menu, which features many Mexican classic, and "comfort food" dishes.

Photo:  Our friendly server places my dinner of Carne Asada on the table.  

Photo:  Four members of the Rench family enjoy a delicious Thursday night dinner at Mariana's Mexican Grill.  From left to right, Emily, Margi, Eric - your writer and photographer - and Michael.  Thanks to our friendly server for snapping the photo.  On this early Thursday evening, the restaurant was packed, but our food arrived about fifteen minutes after ordering.  That's fast service!

Photo:  Mariana's menu is quite extensive, and features all of your Mexican favorites, along with lots of "comfort food."  After looking over the menu, I settled on the carne asada dinner, as after a day of hiking in Yosemite, I needed a "stick to your ribs" dinner.

Naturally, the dinner features a large slice of carne asada, which is marinated, thin-sliced, steak.  Along with the meat came a surprise... a small salad, topped with a couple of pickled jalapeno slices, and a small serving of salsa verde.  Beans and rice are included - your choice of refried or black beans - refried beans for me, si, como no.  You can choose between flour or corn tortillas, corn for me, otra vez, si, como no.

My dinner was delicious!  The carne asada was grilled, thinly sliced, and very good, but it was slightly on the dry side.  Perhaps a little longer in the marinade?  No worries, as it was delicious.  The rice, salad and tortillas were solid, but the beans... oh the beans!  I could taste the LARD, and the beans were amazing!

At $11.95, the dinner wasn't cheap, but it was delicious, filling, and a very good value.

We were impressed with the quality of the delicious food, and the speedy, attentive, but not intrusive, service.  The food was delicious, the price was reasonable, but not inexpensive, and the dining experience was great.  Mariana's Mexican Grill is a welcome addition to the Merced dining scene.

Mariana's Mexican Grill
3368 North State Highway 59
Merced, CA 95348
209 726-8389

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