|El Cholo Cantina|
5465 Alton Pkwy
Irvine, CA 92604
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Listing on Ask.com's Citysearch
Since I live and work in Irvine (don't ask how that happened) it's very easy for me to get to Mexican restaurants in Irvine. I try not to focus on them too much to the detriment of restaurants in other cities but I think El Cholo Cantina may be one of the last Irvine Mexican restaurants to cover.
El Cholo Cantina is part of a chain of Mexican restaurants that began in Los Angeles in 1923. If you read the history on their website you can learn from an interesting anecdote how the chain got its name, and see their claim to have started the nacho craze in America.
While snacking on their chips I was thinking that I should describe the corn chips at various places in more detail. Shortly after that I got an e-mail from somebody requesting that I describe chips in more detail. So here goes: El Cholo's chips were a little on the thin side and a little on the dry side. On their own they were a little bland but with El Cholo's salsa they perked up pretty good. Most of the chips in the basket were of the standard yellow variety but there were a few red corn chips as well.
Blue Corn Chicken Enchiladas
I went on this visit with two co-workers: Michael and Eugene. We were intending that at least one of the three of us would order El Cholo's signature green corn tamales but after we placed our orders we realized none of us had. Michael ordered a veggie burrito which he said was excellent, Eugene ordered the chile relleno/chicken enchilada platter, while I ordered the blue corn chicken enchiladas. Eugene asked if they were tacos when he saw them and I don't blame him as their tortillas were folded in half rather than rolled up. My dish was $13 plus change on the menu but I was only charged $9.95 for it. I later found out that it is on special on Mondays and Tuesdays.
When your check comes you get a complimentary little pecan praline cookie for each person in your party. You can also buy bags of these cookies on your way out.
Speaking of their green corn tamales, these are a famous item but they are only available between May and October each year so you still have about a month to get them before they go out of season again. You can try them at the restaurant or even have them shipped to you.
El Cholo Cantina earns a four Speedy Gonzales rating:
Click on the 'el cholo' label to read our complete coverage of the El Cholo chain in Orange County (we have a separate review for each of their locations):