La Cocina de Ricardo
23532 El Toro Rd. #11
Lake Forest, CA 92630
My friend CJ told me I must try this place, and always loving tips from my friends, Katie and I headed out to give this Mexican restaurant a try. La Cocina de Ricardo is located in the back of a strip mall, right next to the new Arbor shopping center on El Toro Road. This small eatery has three other locations; one each in San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, and Mountain View.
From the second we entered this brightly colored restaurant, we felt very welcomed. The menu offers quite a bit to choose from, so lets see what we decided on.
Here is the Mexican Pizza appetizer. This is a crispy flour tortilla, with refried beans, cheese, beef, tomatoes, guacamole, sour cream and cilantro. This had a very nice flavor to it, and the beef really tasted great. The flavors were a little too mellow for me, so I added some hot sauce that was on the table. Everything tasted really fresh.
Katie ordered her standard plate from any Mexican restaurant, the Two Item Combo plate. She always chooses a chicken taco and a chicken tamale. Usually the chicken tamales that she orders are very dry, but not this one. This tamale is made fresh in house and was very moist, but not too moist. The chicken was plentiful in it as well. I also enjoyed the taco as well. The tortilla was crisp and it was a solid taco. She opted for a salad instead of rice. She said it was your basic salad, but it tasted fresh.
My standard plate to order in a Mexican restaurant is a carnitas plate, so I ordered the Carnitas Los Gordos. This is listed under their family specials and can be ordered in a half size, single serving size or made for two. The pork was good, very tender and not too oily. The meat had a real nice smokiness to it. The beans were obviously homemade, and tasted great. The rice was okay, I am never really too impressed by rice wherever we go. La Cocina de Ricardo does not really seem to use a lot of seasoning in their food, I guess that is what the hot sauce is for on the table. They do say that on request that most items can be made spicy, I will try this on my next visit.
For dessert we ordered the traditional Flan. This was a good flan. Katie really liked it. I thought it could have been creamier, but it was still good. I really liked the caramel sauce and the way that this and all the plates were presented at Ricardo's.
I would definitely recommend this place to anyone that is looking for a great Mexican meal in a real homey place. From the second we walked in, Mario and the rest of the employees seemed really glad that we were here. They talk a lot about their family, and when you are in their restaurant, they make you feel like you are one of their own. Thanks for the tip CJ!
Out of five sinks, (because what is more important in a kitchen than a working sink?), five being best to zero being worst, La Cocina de Ricardo gets 3 sinks.
If you would like to find out more about La Cocina de Ricardo, click here: http://www.lacocinadericardo.com/index.html