Santora's Hot Wings
28251 Marguerite Parkway
Mission Viejo, CA 92692
Both basketball and hockey are wrapping up their seasons now. Baseball season has been going on for two months, and football is right around the corner. As an added bonus, this is also an Olympic year, and nothing says Olympics like buffalo wings. Okay maybe that is a stretch, but with all of these sports going on, or coming up, I was really in the mood for some good wings. Enter my friend Drew.
Drew works with me, and he asked me where I think the best wings in our great county come from. I had a hard time answering his question. I have been to the chain places, (Hooters, Wingnuts, and Buffalo Wild Wings), I have been to some pizza places that also serve wings, (Pizza Store), and then some of the fast/casual places, (like Wingstop and Wing Street). I would probably say that my favorites up until this point have been Wings N Things in HB, Wingstop for their garlic Parmesan wings, and then Hooters, for their uh, great ambiance. I know, not a very impressive list. So let's see if Santora's can crack this list.
Santora's is located in a strip mall across from Saddleback College. We walked in right after work at 3:30 on a Wednesday afternoon. To my surprise the bar was packed with what looked like regulars, and there were plenty of people eating at the numerous tables. They have TVs tuned to various games, pop music blaring from the speakers, including Drew's favorites Christina Aguilera and Justin Bieber, (sorry to tell your secrets big guy), and plenty of what looks like family portraits all over the walls. The owner was our waitress, and she told us that they have been here for 23 years. That will explain the homey feel of this restaurant. After getting a cocktail, I was ready for some food. Let's see how it came out.
Before we get to the wings, we started with some Potato Skins ($9.75). These spuds were topped with mozzarella cheese, grated Romano cheese, bacon bits, and chives. I might have been hungry, or these might have actually been pretty good potato skins. The mozzarella was a nice change of pace, and the Romano cheese added another nice surprise. I am pretty sure the bacon bits were not made of real bacon, but it still tasted okay. These could have been made better if they were just a little crisper. Even with the fake bacon and the odd choice of mozzarella and Romano cheese, I would get these skins again.
Here is what we came here for, The Original Buffalo Hot Wings ($14.95, or because it was Wing Wednesday these 20 wings were $9.99). At Santora's they of course have different degrees of heat for their wings; mild, medium, hot, extra hot, and nuclear. I went with all hot, while Drew mixed it up by getting ten hot and ten medium wings. The hot did have a nice slow burn to them. There was plenty of sauce, the plate was drenched in it. I liked these when they cooled and the sauce stuck to the wings, with a slight crunch to the skin. I don't know if it was just by luck or not, but I mostly got all drumettes. There was also plenty of meat on these wings. We got both blue cheese and ranch dressing with these wings, but it was hard to tell the difference between the two.
Santora's probably does make my list as some of the best wings I have had in OC to date. I thought they had a good sauce on them, plenty of meat, and because it was Wing Wednesday, these were a great value at 50 cents a wing. Even at the regular price of 75 cents a wing, these would have been worth it. The service we got at Santora's was good, but not on the overly friendly side. This could have been due to the fact that they were a little busy though. Even with the gruff service, I really liked the vibe of Santora's. It kind of felt like an east coast kind of dive, with all of the old guys lining the bar in the early afternoon, sports on TVs, and the good wings. I am glad Drew told me about this place.
Out of five gauchos, (because this restaurant is right across from Saddleback College, and that is their mascot), five being best to zero being worst, Santora's Hot Wings gets 3 gauchos.
Santora's Hot Wings does not have a web site, but you can find info about them here: http://www.yelp.com/biz/santoras-pizza-subs-and-wings-mission-viejo