California's Best Mexican Restaurants

Drink and dance the Sunday afternoon blues away at the Whole Enchilada and Moss Landing Inn, Monterey.

As chef Luis Solano prepares prawn tamales, he extends an aromatic invitation to party guests. The scents of cilantro and lime tango through The Whole Enchilada’s kitchen, enticing anyone who wanders by to join the culinary dance. “Food is a celebration,” Luis declares. “In Spanish we say, ‘alegría corazón.’” The phrase, meaning “happy heart,” perfectly captures the mood of today’s private gathering. // Luis honors his father’s profession, tequila manufacturing, at The Whole Enchilada. He offers a well-stocked bar and friendly advice on what to sample. “There are so many boutique tequilas coming out now,” he says. “But for the best, you go to the people who’ve been making it for hundreds of years. It has to be bottled in Mexico, 100 percent agave.” Sauza Hornitas is ideal for traditional margaritas. For straight sipping, Luis suggests Cazadores Reposado, a solid, peppery tequila. He’s also a big fan of Herradura. Whatever the choice, he cautions against liquors that use molasses to increase the alcohol and darken the color. Luis says, “That’s what goes to your head and makes Montezuma mad.” -Sarah Brueggemann Coastal Living
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irishlass said...

In Palm Springs, I highly recommend Las Casuelas Terraza, voted one of the Top 50 Hispanic Restaurants in the USA.

Delicious, authentic Mexican cuisine, in a romantic atmosphere, maginifico margaritas and plenty of entertainment have made it a longtime favorite with locals and visitors alike.

Steve A said...

Everyone says so --- El Agave Tequileria is San Diego's Best Mexican Restaurant.

Thank you for choosing El Agave as the
Best Mexican Restaurant in San Diego.

City's Best
Best Mexican Food
2004 and 2005

City Beat
Best Tequila Bar

"America's Best"
Gourmet Magazine, 2003

"Best Mexican Restaurant in San Diego"
Eleonor Widmer, KPBS

"A Wonderful Restaurant, a new dimension in Mexican Food"
Wolfang D. Verkaaik, San Diego Union Tribune

The New York Times

"#1 Tequila Bar in the Nation"
Cocktails and Spirit Magazine

"An Outstanding Treatment, a Perfect Addition to San Diego"
Zagat Survey

"Best Mexican Restaurant "
The San Diego Reader, 1999

"No end to Fantastic Preparations"
San Diego Magazine

"The Best Mole in San Diego"
San Diego Reader, 2000

"So Good, Food you didn't know existed"
San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles

"It is the Story of Mexican History on a Plate"
Naomi Wise, The San Diego Reader

"Best Mexican Restaurant"

Just Look at the Menu!


Assortment of Appetizers
Shrimp empanada, shrimp sopecito, two crispy beef taquitos, mushroom poblano quesadilla, pickled cactus paddles, guacamole, crispy potato taquito and cuitlacoche (corn fungus) tlacoyo.

3 Quesadillas del Pueblo
Poblanas - small poblano chile strips with Manchego cheese.
Tinga - shredded chicken with tomato-chipotle sauce.
Picadillo - ground turkey with tomato sauce and vegetables.
Papa - homemade potato salad.
Flor de calabaza - squash blossoms and Manchego cheese.
Frijol - black beans and Manchego cheese.
Hongos - mushrooms Mexican style and Manchego cheese.

3 Sopecitos Surtidos
Small fat tortillas garnished with black beans, shredded chicken, onion, lettuce, Mexican cream dusted with fresh cheese and salsa.

Taquitos a la Crema
Crispy chicken tacos covered with Mexican cream and sprinkled with queso fresco.

Taquitos de Cochinita
Homemade tortillas, hand-rolled with shredded pork and doused with Yucatan achiote sauce.

Tlacoyos San Diego
A white corn masa with black beans, shredded chicken, onion, lettuce, and Mexican cream dusted with fresh cheese and salsa.

Entremés Surtido
Assortment of quesadillas, sope, tlacoyo, tamal and taquito crema.

Tlacoyos Cuitlacoche
Blue corn masa especially prepared for this delicious tlacoyos, stuffed with black beans and cuitlacoche, salsa verde, cheese and onion.

Sopecitos de Camarón
A unique way to prepare this blue masa; stuffed with cooked shrimp in a chipotle sauce and lettuce. Outstanding!!!

Canelone Cuitlacoche
An ancient Aztec dish; mushrooms from the corn are marinated with garlic, onion and spices, then stuffed in the canelone with three-cheese sauce. Magnifico!


Crema de Flor de Calabaza
Creamy Castilla yellow squash, onion, leek and celery soup.

Sopa de Cilantro
From El Portal (Mexico City) fresh cilantro soup with our spices. It's done right at the moment you are ordering. Fresh!

Sope de Mariscos
Done with our fresh red snapper, shrimp and crab with a touch of chile cascabel and the agave spices.

Sopa Azteca
Flavored with chile pasilla, garnished with tiras de tortilla, chicharrón, Manchego cheese, Mexican cream and avocado.


The authentic recipe of Tijuana.

Berro Watercress
Simmered with onion and bacon. Served with tortillas to make your own tacos.

Nopalli Nopal
Cactus leaf salad with chopped tomato, cilantro, onion, oregano, avocado and olive oil.

Del Mar

Camarón Cancún
Sautéed large shrimp laid in a mango sauce with a splash of mustard and sprinkled with coconut. Served with tropical fruit mexikko.

Camarón Guajillo
Huge marinated shrimp in chile guajillo oil served on a bed of beans, rice and nopal.

Camarón Tamarindo
Exotic tropical fruit lightly seasoned with chile de árbol and spices served over large shrimp. Excelente!

Calamar Escabeche
Generous portions of fresh squid, delicately prepared with green and red peppers, chiles gueros, fine herbs and balsamic vinegar.

Calamar a la Talla
A truly mouthwatering dish with fresh squid, served with a light chile pasilla sauce.

Sea Bass Tenochtitlán
Tender sea bass fillet marinated with epazote, onion, garlic and surrounded with piping chile pasilla-prune sauce and topped with nopales.

Sea Bass Ajo y Achiote
Fresh sea bass laid on a bed of vegetables in a superb garlic-chipotle chili sauce, made to order. A true wonder of the Mayan cuisine.

Sea Bass Mac Cumm Negro
Sea bass fillet cooked to perfection in a sophisticated sauce made from pasilla chili, bell peppers and spices, served with hot plantains. Magnifico!!

Salmón Natas
Marinated salmon in our famous mole natas, laid in a potato bed.

Pescado Tikin-Xik
Sea bass cooked in achiote and specially wrapped in a banana leaf, served with beans and escabeche.

Pescado a la Veracruzana
No description for this unique and traditional sea bass, prepared with bell peppers, olives and white wine…exquisite!


A great many spices, except notably chiles and allspice, were introduced into Mexico early in the sixteenth century during the colonial period of its history. At that time they were used exclusively in the convents and wealthier Spanish households. Under the skillful cooking hands of the nuns, they were very soon combined with native ingredents to form the beginnings of a sophisticated mestizo cuisine, and later they were accepted and incorporated into the less sophisticated cooking of the pueblos. Today the women of even the poorest villages would not dream of making their festive moles without at least a few of the spices required by custom, which in combination with a wide variety of chiles and other ingredients such as chocolate, seeds and even coffee have come to conform one of Mexico's first national dishes, the mole. Due to the orginality of flavor mixtures and the work involved, this represents the Mexican cuisine to its fullest extent. Mole is for the Mexican cuisine what Baroque Art is for architecture.

Mole Poblano Don Julio
The soul of Mexican sauces, made from scratch with chile pasilla, ancho, mulatto and other goodies like tomatillo, clove, black pepper, chocolate, garlic, cinnamon, coriander seed, sesame seed and more. Served over chicken with rice agave.

Mole Rojo
Made from chile pasilla, ancho, guajillo, pepper and clover…served over chicken or pork.

Mole Rosa de Taxco
Chicken breast served in a delicious pink creamy mole made from walnuts, pine nuts and chipotle chili, a symphony of color and flavor that will remind you of the old romantic Mexico.

Mole Coloradito
Made from guajillo chicostles, sesame seed, banana, garlic and chocolate…served over chicken or pork.

Mole Verde
From Oaxaca, tomatillo, chile de agua, chile serrano, epazote, hierba santa, chochoyotes (corn masa) . . . served over chicken or pork with white rice.

Mole Negro
From Oaxaca, with four different chiles, pasilla, mulatto, ancho, chipotle, tortilla, plátano frito, sesame seed, peanut, almond, nut, pasitas, tomate, tomatillo, celery, cinnamon, oregano, pepper and clove…served over chicken or pork.


Pollo Ahogado
En natas from Oaxaca, chicken drowned in chile guajillo, chile puya and nata. Served with agave rice. An authentic recipe from the 19th century.

Pollo Pipián
Tender chicken breast in a special thickened pepita sauce, served with agave rice.

Pato Nouvelle
Wonderfully baked duck, lightly dipped in a raspberry sauce and crispy sweet potato.


Medallones de El Portal
Tender filet mignon medallions served in a delicate mixture of two wonderful sauces; the first, a dark black pepper sauce, complemented by the second, a mild spicy chipotle chili sauce, served with artichoke and potatoes.

Medallones Mar y Tierra
Filet mignon medallions and black tiger shrimp served with an exotic blend of spices from the Gulf of Mexico, made up of grilled onions, garlic and "hoja santa," served with our nopal (cactus paddle) julienne. Buenisimos!!

Filete Chipotle
Grilled mignon on a tortilla covered with melted Manchego cheese, bathed with chile chipotle salsa, cilantro-sprinkled.

Filete Agave
Filet mignon filled with goat cheese with dark tequila sauce, arranged with vegetables.

Filete Relleno en Salsa de Aguacate
Grilled filet mignon stuffed with mushrooms al epazote and laid on avocado sauce, garnished with vegetables.

Pierna de Cerdo en Pistache
Leg pork baked in a chile with ancho, celery, garlic, sesame seed . . . and pistachio. A perfect dish for a good eater.

Anonymous said...

El Adobe de Capistrano
Mexican Cuisine at its finest, in the heart of historic San Juan Capistrano.

The restaurant site has been recognized as a California State Historical Landmark. The building was originally two separate structures. The northern section was originally the home of Miguel Yorba Adobe, built in 1797. The southern half housed the Juzgado (court and jails) and was established in 1812.

The walls forming El Adobe’s cocktail lounge were part of the original Miguel Yorba Adobe. The wine cellar is now housed in the Juzgado’s dungeon-like cell. The ground beneath the foyer served as a passageway for Seeley & Wright stagecoaches (which operated in the 1950’s), until the advent to the Santa Fe Railroad in 1888.

In 1910, Georgia Mott Vander-Leck bought and unified the properties for use as their residence and store. Thirty-six years later she sold it to a visionary farmer from the Rancho Mission Viejo, Mr. Clarence Brown. Brown built the El Adobe restaurant, which opened auspiciously on July 8, 1948 with the wedding and reception of the First Commandant of Camp Pendleton, General Fagan. Yearly, hundreds of couples continue the tradition as they marry in the garden-nestled Wedding Chapel.

During his administration, former President Richard Nixon enjoyed the Mexican dishes prepared exclusively for him by El Adobe’s chef. These dishes inspired El Adobe’s change from continental to Mexican Cuisine.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to Sol y Lago Restaurant & Bar
Featuring Panoramic views of Lake Tahoe and delicious Sierra Latino Cuisine.

Sol y Lago is inside the Boatworks Mall in Tahoe City, CA at 760 N. Lake Blvd.

At Sol y Lago, we feature deliciously unique “Sierra Latino”® cuisine focusing on the undiscovered foods, flavors and cultures of the mountainous regions of Spain and Latin America. Delicious and special enough to celebrate any occasion yet affordable and approachable enough for a weeknight supper, après ski or late night snack.


Sugar pie pumpkin soup with panela glazed pearl onions and crunchy quinoa $6.5
Ceviche Caliente Black bass lightly marinated in fresh lime and Seville orange juice, quickly fried and served with serrano chili tartar sauce $8
Proveleta a la Plancha provolone griddled bubbly brown served with sweet onion-carrot escabeche and crusty bread for dipping $7
Baby Field green salad with shaved aged manchego cheese, sun dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds and tangy orange vinaigrette $6.5
Dungeness crab and bloomsdale spinach flan with warm chipotle cream and crispy shallot rings $8
Butternut squash and queso fresco empanaditas with guajillo chili sofrito $7
Potato and cabrales torta with grilled roma tomato salsa $6.5

Churascaria style pork loin chop with garlic and scallion mashed potatoes jicama-cabbage slaw and smoked chili jus $16.5
Grilled Black Angus rib eye with papas ala pampa organic watercress and toasted onion-carmenère reduction $19
½ Achiote Roasted Free range chicken on a bed of creamy mushroom arepa and fine herb essence $16
Cassoulet Basque with Sonoma duck, creamy white beans and bayona sausage $17
Cornmeal-crusted Red Trout with herb roasted banana fingerling potatoes, chayote, fennel and poblano chile butter sauce $18
Pan seared striped bass with melted Peruvian onions, savoy spinach, and pisco-meyer lemon sauce $18

Yucca fries dusted with cumin and sea salt $5
Garlic and scallion mashed potatoes $4
Mini quinoa and smoked tomato cream gratin $5.5
Miners lettuce, avocado, celery hearts and pomegranate in sherry vin. $5
Choux de Bruxelles -brussel sprouts tossed with applewood smoked bacon and confit garlic $5