It’s not every day that you get to eat at a place that was frequented by a President of the United States. Well, at least not a place here in Orange County!
Since making our trek West three years ago, we have been on a quest for the best Mexican food, which in this area of the country can be an overwhelming challenge. Back east the “authentic” Mexican restaurants were few and far between, covered up by big chains who could afford to have fat advertising budgets to lure you in and nothing truly homemade. But here in SoCal, we’ve got an abundance of really good places, but we found a favorite at long last!
Ricardo’s Place (www.RicardosPlace.net) is a family run (five generations!) restaurant located at 32082 Camino Capistrano in San Juan Capistrano. Open seven days a week, their fare is fresh and authentic and the portions plentiful. Not surprisingly, the seafood is among the best we’ve had here and even the “everyday” dishes such as tacos and burritos are never a disappointment. Where else can you say that even the salsa and chips are above average?
Ricardo is always running specials and has coupons for 20% off in a vast number of publications, including local Pennysavers and the OC Register. Where can you go to eat such quality and get a discount as well?
Weekends there is inobtrusive musical entertainment and its a great place to bring the kids and grandkids.
And the food!? Outstanding! Some of our favorites are the Coctel de Camarones (shrimp cocktail) which has fresh ripe tomatoes, avocados and a subtle taste of cilantro all combined with Ricardo’s special sauce. Big enough to share and almost fill you up, besides! The stuffed zucchini (“Calabacitas”) is unique as is the way they prepare “Pollo en Salsa Rosa’s” – grilled chicken served up with onions, peppers and potatoes in a spicy sauce.
There are several different soups and one we tried and just loved was “Caldo de Camarón y Pescado” which is a fish and vegetable soup and its ingredients not only include the obvious shrimp and fish, but also zucchini and carrots, flavored perfectly with cilantro. You also can’t go wrong with the very traditional ”Caldo de Albondigas” which is rich and hearty.
Any of their beef and pork dishes are excellent and if you can’t make up your mind on which of the more traditional Mexican fare you want, their Combination Menu offering crispy and soft tacos, enchiladas, chile rellenos, flautas, mini burritos (although there is nothing really that mini about it!), taquitos, tamales and quesadillas. It’s a great variety at extremely reasonable prices.
Everything is always served in a very timely fashion, no matter how busy they are and we have never once been served something that wasn’t piping hot and delivered with a smile. The staff is extremely well-trained and attentive and we’ve never asked more than once for anything extra we needed.
There’s a lovely, bright party room available and not only do they offer take-out but you can order online through(http://www.snapfinger.com/menu/9859) but you can also get meals delivered by Restaurants on the Run (http://www.rotr.com/).
Visit the site for a fun video of Ricardo, his family and the restaurant! (www.RicardosPlace.net)
Ricardo’s Place - Authentic Mexican Restaurant
OPEN 7 DAYS 11 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Monday to Friday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
32082 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano
Phone: (949) 493-4941
Fax: (949) 493-4041
Ricardo’s Place also has locations in San Clemente on El Camino Real, Lake Forest on El Toro and Mountain View on El Camino Real.