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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Azteca - Review #1 (Photo Super Post)

Azteca Mexican Restaurant
12911 Main St
Garden Grove, CA 92840
(714) 638-3790

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The Back of Azteca in Garden Grove

Question: What do you get when you blend an Elvis museum with a Mexican restaurant?

You get Azteca in Garden Grove (not to be confused with the Azteca's mini-chain with locations in Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, and Anaheim).

Even though I've put myself on a one-month hiatus of seeking out Mexican restaurants to review I won't turn down offers to meet at one and my cousin Scott recently asked if I'd ever been to Azteca in Garden Grove. Of course I knew about it and had made a quick reference to it almost a year ago but still had never eaten there. Once the invitation came up it was time to go. We arranged to go there with Scott's wife Stacy and another couple, Stephen and Crystal on a recent Friday night.

The Front of Azteca in Garden Grove

After the plans had been made I got a call from James and Lori (mentioned several times on the blog before) asking if I wanted to meet them and Dana at a Mexican restaurant on Friday night. I told them about the plans I had just made and said they were welcome to join us. And then through another twist Chris and Kristanna (also often mentioned at the blog) joined us too. To make a long story short, what was going to be a group of five ended up being a group of eleven . . . and it all worked out.

Elvis Memorabilia at Azteca

As the photos make abundantly clear Azteca is loaded with Elvis Presley memorabilia, so much so that it would be no misnomer to call it an Elvis museum. There are posters, photos, vinyl records, statues, toys, candies, and more. I had already been there for a while before I realized that even the ceiling is covered with Elvis stuff. If they get any more items they will probably have to expand into an adjacent building.

Elvis Memorabilia at Azteca - Shot #2

When our party arrived at our reservation time of 7pm we were told by management that the people who were sitting in the table that had been reserved for our large group had been sitting there since 3:30pm and had only ordered a couple drinks and unfortunately didn't look like they were intending to leave anytime soon. (This was near the famous picture of "The President and The King" taken when President Richard Nixon made Elvis Presley an honorary member of the CIA.) Now Scott is half-Samoan and a gentle giant but he can be perceived as intimidating. Knowing this he told the managers that he would handle the situation. He then proceeded to walk over to the table with some sort of plan in mind. Not knowing what was about to happen I stepped outside for a moment to take some pictures of the classic car show that was taking place on Garden Grove's Main Street and when I stepped back in the whole party of table squatters quickly vacating their abode of the prior four hours. After they had all left I asked Scott, "What did you do?" He simply said, "I just stood there." Hey, that works for me. Gandhi would've been proud.

Elvis Memorabilia at Azteca - Shot #3

Once we then got our party seated we were served several baskets of chips with salsa that is the first I've ever seen that had Ortega green chile strips in it. As I am wont to do I ordered the huevos rancheros, normally considered a breakfast item but I'll eat it at any time of the day. This one came with a nice chile verde sauce and little chunks of pork. Very hearty and filling. I don't know exactly what the total came to for my food since we were paying as a large group but I chipped in $14 for my huevos rancheros and soda and everyone else seemed fine with that.

Azteca - Huevos Rancheros

The main thing Scott went to get was the famous Garlic Tacos (I believe you can get them with beef or chicken) and he ordered nothing but three of them. No rice, no beans, just three Garlic Tacos. Scott tells about a prior experience at Azteca where a garlic clove in one of the tacos squirted him in the eye as he bit into it, causing tremendous stinging, yet he soldiered on to complete his meal. I had ordered a garlic taco to go along with my huevos rancheros but the taco never showed up. Didn't matter because I got so filled up anyway on the food I did get.

Azteca - Garlic Tacos

Azteca - Taco/Enchilada Combo

And what Elvis-themed Mexican restaurant would be complete without a statue of the king in a sombrero?

Azteca - Elvis with Sombrero

If you go at the right time you might have the privilege of having an Elvis impersonator perform a card trick at your table. Does anybody have any more information on this?

Azteca URL Banner

Azteca earns a three and a half Speedy Gonzales rating for the food and a 4.5 for the atmosphere, averaging out to four:

Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales

Click here to see the whole photo album (28 photos) at .

UPDATE (May 9, 2009):

Went back a couple weeks ago and finally tried the garlic taco. It didn't have garlic cloves in it as I imagined it would but more of a garlic sauce. Good stuff.



DanGarion said...

Woohoo you finally made it there. Sounds like you had a good time!

Anonymous said...

Their Tostado at $6.75 is a complete rip off.......about the size of the one at Taco Bell!

Anonymous said...

You should check out their karaoke one of these weekends! We had a blast at my friend's birthday party one Saturday. The place gets packed!

Anonymous said...

I found the rice a beans to be average, and the cheese to be overly greasy.

Anonymous said...

We go and get the Mexican burrito I think it is called $6.75 and fantastic made with chili verde and guac. filling and yummy. My wife and I go get ttwo of the burritos one root beer as she loves theirs and a water for me tip and all 20.00 try that at a fast food restaurant.

ChristianZ said...

Thanks for the comment! Sounds like you get filled for small change.