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Sunday, October 14, 2007

La Siesta - Review #1

Date of Visit: September 29, 2007
La Siesta
920 N El Camino Real
San Clemente, CA 92672
(949) 498-3094

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La Siesta - Exterior

I've said something like this before but I am in the middle of another backlog with numerous entries to write and post. Remember that anyone can help beef up the quality of these reviews by leaving comments on their experience at a particular restaurant. Usually I can only try one dish each at each Mexican restaurant I go to, so if you've been to a restaurant that's been covered here please don't hesitate to comment on your experience. Your comments help future readers.

La Siesta - Exterior

Having said that, I had La Siesta recommended to me about a year ago. Since "la siesta" is Spanish for "the nap" I thought it was a funny name for a restaurant. Then somebody pointed out that it could also mean "the break" and that made a little more sense. When I actually arrived at the restaurant, after having camped for the night at San Onofre State Beach, I saw that the sign showed a cartoon figure of a Mexican man with a sombrero taking a very peaceful nap. So, yes, in this case it does mean "the nap."

La Siesta - Sun Bench

Opened in 1985 by Jose Carmelo Hernandez who had already been in the Mexican food business for 50 years, La Siesta in San Clemente occupies the spot of a homey 1950's-style diner now done up in a Mexican theme with hints of surf culture (including one surfboard hanging from the ceiling which shows the napping Mexican) thrown in for good measure.

La Siesta - Exterior

La Siesta - Chips and Salsa

After consulting the menu for way too long (as I tend to do) I narrowed my choice down to two breakfast selections. I mentioned them to the friendly waitress who then steered me towards the huevos rancheros and suggested I get them with their chile verde sauce in place of the ranchero sauce that typically comes with this dish and then I added that I'd like my eggs cooked a little bit more than huevos rancheros typically calls for. Served with hash-browned potatoes and rice on the side, these are definitely in the running as my favorite huevos rancheros (a breakfast dish I get often, and not always just for breakfast - in fact I unsuccessfully tried ordering it at another place for dinner the other night), largely because every component was cooked just how I would've cooked it for myself if I had been in the kitchen and also because they weren't overly runny, a huevos rancheros feature I'd always just tolerated in the past.

La Siesta - Huevos Rancheros

And they had not one but two bottles of Gringo Bandito on my table:

La Siesta - Gringo Bandito

Did they somehow know I was coming?

La Siesta earns a 4.25 Speedy Gonzales rating:

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Chubbypanda said...

The Gringo is currently my hot sauce of choice. Surprisingly good given the celebrity back story.

ChristianZ said...

Yep, Gringo's still good even though my cousin is no longer involved with it.

Johnny Automatic said...

wanted to offer you an updated review but I think I'll just leave a comment. 10 of us went there last weekend. I knew it would be busy so I first tried to make reservations on their website. That failed spectacularly as the e-mail bounced for 2 days straight. So I phoned up to reserve a table for 10. Long story short, they totally screwed us up with just a mess of confusion and not telling us the truth (while blaming other employees) for over an hour. At that point we finally got seated at SEPARATE tables. The food is really good and I wish I had the kind of experience that would allow me to submit another good review. Unfortunately the front of the house is not nearly as professional as the kitchen. Large groups should be aware that they may not get seated soon or together on busy nights.

ChristianZ said...

It does seem like the type of place that's not very optimal for large groups. And I think had I e-mailed them before without ever getting a response.

Anonymous said...

Moving to San Clemente from San Diego 9 years ago, La Siesta is the spot in SC for legit easy Mex food. Great salsa, carnitas and the ceviche(shrimp and fish) are excellent. The rice and beans are hit and miss, which is a bummer, but other than that they do a great job. Some of the coldest Dos XX on tap around too.

ChristianZ said...

Thanks for the comment. Sounds like they've got a loyal customer.