201 S. Bradford
Placentia, CA 92870
Sometimes writing this blog can be a little tough. There are lots of restaurants that are just plain average. It is harder to write about these mediocre restaurants, because they are boring, and the words come easier when I am passionate about a place. This post will be one of the easiest I have written in awhile.
It was my parents anniversary so I wanted to take them somewhere close to their house. I had seen a few reviews for El Farolito, and they were mostly positive, so that is where we headed. We arrived at six on a Saturday night. The wait was about twenty minutes in this very busy restaurant.
El Farolito is a little off the beaten track. I grew up in North Orange county and had never been here before. This family business has been around since May, 10th, 1974. In those thirty-seven years, they are still owned by the same family, and more than half of their employees are family members. All of this family around makes this restaurant seem more like someones house, rather than a restaurant. Let's see if the food resembles home cooking.
First stop is the obligatory shot of the chips and salsa. The chips here were very good. I am not sure if they were made on the premises, but they were nice and thick. Not too greasy. The salsa was a fine as well, with a nice little spice to it. I only wish it was a little thicker. One word of caution though, the menu says the first serving of chips is free, and then they charge $1.25 for each additional serving. We did not finish our first bowl of chips though.
I was extremely hungry, so we ordered an appetizer to start. The Mexican Quesadilla was filled with cheese, tomatoes and pork, with beans and guacamole on the side. We were not such a big fan of the tomatoes in this quesadilla, but the pork was tender and the tortilla was crisp, so it more than made up for the tomatoes. The beans and the guacamole were both real smooth. No big hunks left in the guacamole. Very tasty start.
This big mound of food was my Dad's order, the Arroz Con Pollo. This chicken and rice dish was covered with cheese and ranchera sauce. I am usually skeptical about getting chicken in Mexican restaurants, because it is usually dry, but this chicken was very moist and tender. The ranchera sauce had quite a lot of flavor, and my Dad could not have been happier with this dish. He only wished that there was more chicken on this.
Katie has been gravitating towards lots of shrimp dishes lately, and El Farolito was no exception. She went with Fajitas De Camaron. Here the shrimp are sauteed with onions, peppers, and tomatoes. Katie called this dish, "Some of the best shrimp fajitas I have ever had!". She was also excited because this dish really filled her up, and was served nice and hot. The flavor seemed to be right on the spot.
Fittingly, my Mom ordered a two item combination plate, which was called the Mama's Plate. For her two items she chose the cheese enchilada and beef taquitos. This was a big plate for my Mom to attempt to eat. I was happy when she ordered it, because I knew I would get a good portion of it. She really felt this was a great tasting plate. The taquito I had was very fresh tasting and lacking in grease. The cheese enchilada had a very good sauce and was full of cheese. Very tasty.
Before coming here I knew what I was getting, the Pork Carnitas. This is probably the most popular dish that they serve here, and for good reason. The carnitas here are simply some of the best I have had since starting this blog. Not too greasy, with a little crispness to them. The flavor was outstanding. I was stuffed, but still could have been able to eat another plate of carnitas. The beans here are very good as well. You can tell that they are homemade. Very smooth beans. I am also not too much of a rice guy, but even this was full of flavor. A truly great plate of food.
El Farolito is the real deal. The prices were very reasonable. For all of the food above, plus drinks, and a mango margarita, the bill was $50. The service was very speedy. You can tell that this is a real locals place. The people that work here seemed to know a lot of their customers. I assume that the wait for a table can be pretty long at peak times, but it would be worth it for you to wait. My only regret about eating here, is that I had not done it sooner. So many wasted dinners, but now I have time to make up for it, and I am going to enjoy doing it.
So out of five paper lanterns, (because that is what farolito translates to, and because this place really brightened me up with their food!), five being best to zero being worst, El Farolito gets 4 paper lanterns.
For more information about El Farolito, click here: http://elfarolitomex.com/index.html