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Monday, July 14, 2008

El Patio Cafe - Review #1

El Patio Cafe
34226 Doheny Park Rd
Capistrano Beach, CA 92624
(949) 496-9074

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Here's our second review by Jack from Fontana:

I grew up in Capo Beach, lived there for over 40 years, and have been a customer of El Patio since 1960. In all those years I've never been disappointed with any aspect of what they do. That's something, because I'm picky.

This restaurant is in the same spot, and is still owned by the same family, since its inception in 1953. For years the seating area consisted of just the counter and the handful of tables in the original building out front. Some years back, they added patio dining behind the place, but true to form, I've never dined back there. I insist on keeping to the familiar confines of the front.

My favorite items are the flour beef tacos, cheese enchiladas, chiles rellenos and fish tacos. The house salsa is a flavorful red sauce, with just enough heat to make my capsicum receptors happy. If you want a chunky pico de gallo type, have your server bring you a cup of "Jackie's" salsa. It's usually not on the menu. The eponymic nature of the salsa refers to it being the recipe of one of the owners, Jackie, son of the restaurant's late foundress, Lucy Chavez.

There's a large dirt parking lot next to the place, very handy to have as they pack in the diners on a regular basis. You can expect SRO and a line just about any night of the week. Call for their hours of operation, as they can be a bit strange. They're open for lunch also. I know they serve beer, but I'm not sure about the wine, as I'm not a wine drinker.

This is old Capo Beach at its best, and about the only survivor of what it used to be like. To me, it's like going home.


Jay said...

Love Lucy's. It is an institution and glad they stayed open after Lucy passed away. Great Chile Rellenos.

V said...

Need to try that place! Have heard a lot of good word of mouth about it. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but tacos are not made with flour tortillas! hardly even close to authetic. Even taco bell knows this!

ChristianZ said...

They are if you make them that way. Some people might like tacos made with flour tortillas and they don't care whether it's authentic or not. Plus, Taco Bell makes their soft tacos with flour tortillas. Having said all that I personally almost always get my tacos made with corn tortillas.

Captain said...

Oh no, another member of the Authentic Gestapo.

Lucy was as Mexican-American as you can get. If she (and her kids) want to put flour tacos on the menu in addition to the usual corn ones, then who am I to argue?

They taste good, and that's all the authentic I need.

ChristianZ said...

Yes, whether or not something's authentic (and I believe in a spectrum of authenticity rather than a toggle switch of authenticity) is a separate issue from if it tastes good or not.