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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Cafe Rio

Cafe Rio
24312 Rockfield Boulevard
Lake Forest, CA 92630
(949) 334-9292

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Here are some photos I took at Cafe Rio recently. It just opened a week ago in a shopping center in Lake Forest that is easy to get into but hard to get out of. I did a writeup on them when I went to one of their locations in Utah a couple years ago. You can also read a writeup of this new location by "Angry Julie" here and see her WHRRL story with Kelly L. here.


Their line kind of works like Chipotle's but they have more options.


Yes, their handmade tortillas are good. I just didn't have any this time.


My trip to their new spot was last Thursday when they do Tamale Thursday, so I got two pork tamales with green sauce, their chocolate-cheese flan I've had before, and their raspberry lemon-lime agua fresca.


People wonder what a Utah-based chain could offer an area that is already saturated with Mexican food. But it may not matter because tons of people were there enjoying it. A very nice employee there told that they are going to see how well they can handle the competition here that they don't have to the same degree in Utah.

Cafe Rio
253 17th Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
(949) 335-6800

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Cogito said...

Oh boy! Another chain!

Cafe Rio is only marginally different from the "ok" food items you'd find at Chipotle & Baja Fresh; yet it's worlds apart from the more flavorful eateries in the Santa Ana area.

When an ethnic restaurant such as this one has an imbalance of indigenous representation from one side of the register as compared to the other, you know something's up.

Betsy Hite Reddoch said...

Yum yum yum. I can't wait for the one on 17th in Costa Mesa to open!

buttafly said...

I am a Utah native and havemissed Cafe Rio like you would not believe! I live in San Diego and am hoping for a location there but Lake Forest will just have to do for now. At least it isn't 600 miles away!

bajaDave said...

You have a wonderful site. Any chance you might create a website for various location across California. I live in Monterey County and would love to find a website like this dedicated to excellent Mexican Food.

ChristianZ said...

Thanks for the compliment. As one person it's hard for me to cover even one county but I also recognize the needed for wider coverage. I started up with promises from several people that they would submit many reviews for me to publish. Only one such review ever materialized. I also started which links to blogs that cover other areas (and I think there's one that covers your area) but still it'd be cool to be able to do one site that covers all of the Mexican food in California or perhaps all of the Mexican food and restaurants in the entire United States. Just trying to figure out the best way to do it.

Anonymous said...

cafe rio is the best tasting burrito in orange county, better then chipotle, and other competitors in the area.
Cafe Rio tiene una comida deliciosa a un buen precio!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow... I really don't get it.

Chipotle, Cafe Rio, bland, bland, bland, nice presentation but really nothing to write home about.

Meeshab said...

Ok, try the salads! San Diego Native, I know my mexican food. The salads are amazing. Not lacking on flavor. Dump some hot sauce on there if you want heat!!!

john said...

THE WORST !!! MINUS 5 stars !!!!
picture a Ice Cream sandwich inside a burrito
WAY to much sugar added, and nothing to do with
cucina mexicana, it was like a luau gone bad.
pulled pork with maple syrup ???
stay away , unless you have a 12 hour layover in a airport.

pcfulton said...

I've never blogged or even wished ill will to a restaurant like this. This place doesnt deserve to be in existence. The meats were runny and my wife ran to spit out the pork barbacoa after taking a bite. I thought, 'no way can it be that bad'. Well..I tried it, pouring on a bit of the golden habenero hot sauce, it brought back some college nastalgia, of the taste when you're drunk throwing up the burrito you thought would sober you up. If that's not enough to keep you from eating here.....I humbly apologize.

ChristianZ said...

The only times I've ever gone to Cafe Rio was when somebody else wanted me to go. I am okay with them on occasions like that and don't go out of my way to go there. But I do know a ton of people love the pork and don't spit it out. Could be you got a bad batch. Or not.

Anonymous said...

well for all you California people this Booming restaurant is amazing I never tasted such classic and delicious real fresh food. I love Mexican food, but I usually don't eat out cause food is not fresh and a lot of Mexican food have difftent taste that's just nasty rather eat @ home. But when I ate @ Cafe Rio it's like eating @ subway but Mexican style and I love it, I don't think I can ever eat @ sold out Franchise Chipotle and Baja Nasty, guys it's not fresh or real food this is why American's are FAT cause people don't look for the facts of what your eating and where it come from and I can honestly say Cafe Rio is the new way of wating fresh and Delicious..So everyone out there I Dare you to try itand take a look @ what ur eating and how fresh it is..No one can get Beat the handmade tortillas and fresh veggies and eveything else! So don't hate on this restaurant cause it's the new and better improve way of American eating how it's suppose yo be pay for quality and stop eating radiated food! Sincerly...PrincessNerd:)