This week’s OC Hot Spot: Avilas El Ranchito
Eat Mexican under Elvis? Well, let’s have fun eating chips and guacamole, burritos and tacos, and drinking margaritas under a surfboard with Elvis on it. Because don’t you want to eat Mexican food in a fun atmosphere? Or under a shark head suspended from the ceiling, swimming in a sea of neon flowers.
At Avila’s El Ranchito in Foothill Ranch you can have excellent authentic-style Mexican dishes in a really fun surrounding. They have all kinds of strange, kitschy decor on the walls and there’s something new to look at no matter where you sit in this small restaurant. The tables are a little tight which makes it feel homey and the service is great.
Let’s face it, there’s no shortage of Mexican restaurants in Orange County, but Avilas is fun. Avilas El Ranchito has 13 locations and has been around for over 50 years so they’re established, but they are family run and it doesn’t feel like a chain. This Sunday when I was there at 6:30 it was packed with people waiting. Occasionally if it’s really busy we’ll get takeout, and it’s always good, but the atmosphere and the strange decor really do make it worth waiting to eat there.
My family consistently goes for the Guacamole Ole, which is prepared tableside with fresh avocados, cheese, tomatoes, fresh cilantro, and spices. Then we usually have some basic shredded beef tacos, a Fresco Burrito, which is filled with your choice of grilled chicken or carne asada and shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, rice, guacamole, and a blend of cheeses with salsa tomatillo. And one of us usually gets Carnitas or Chicken with Mole. You can create just about any combo you like with their flexible menu. No matter what dish you choose, your meal with be more enjoyable because you can eat Mexican under Elvis.
For more information on this Southern California treasure, see: