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Your choice of Mexican restaurants in San Simeon is limited to just one restaurant:  El Chorlito.  That's not a bad thing, as El Chorlito offers delicious Mexican and New Mexican cuisine, comfortable dining, friendly service, and reasonable prices.

As with all of reviews that I publish, I have no affiliation with the restaurant reviewed, and there is no monetary gain on my part, as I am simply a person who likes to eat, and I love to write-up, and publish my dining experiences.

Photo:  El Chorlito, in the early morning, lacking customers, since the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner only. Since the restaurant faces east, morning photos are the most dramatic, and the lighting works the best.

Photo;  To enter the restaurant, you walk through a covered patio, and arrive at the cashier's station, where a friendly greeter will sit you.  It's early Wednesday evening, October 16, 2019, and my wife and I are ready to enjoy a delicious "New Mexico" style dinner at El Chorlito.

Photo:  We decided to enjoy an early dinner, and at 5 in the afternoon, we were the only diners seated in the main dining room, which offers a view of the ocean, and is comfortable and spacious.

Photo:  El Chorlito offers a comfortable, spacious patio, if you're in the mood for outdoor dining.  As you dine, you have a great view of the ocean.  On this late mid-October afternoon, dining on the patio wasn't an option, as the weather was clear, but just too chilly to enjoy outdoor dining.

Photo:  The "Enchiladas" menu is absolutely extensive, and devotes nearly a full plate to enchiladas.  Since the restaurant is located in San Simeon, the menu offers many seafood choices.

Photo:  The "Specialty Plates" offers many tempting dinner choices, but we stayed on the "Enchiladas" side of the menu.

Photo:  As we were seated, our server brought a basked of fresh tortilla chips, and a small bowl of some of the best salsa that I've ever had to enjoy!

The chips were fresh, toasted, and absolutely perfect.  I guess that's a "perk" of arriving for dinner early, as chips are fresh, as they haven't been subjected to life under a heat lamp.

The salsa was simply amazing!  I asked our server about the salsa, and he said it's made in-house, fresh, from locally sourced ingredients.  The salsa was rich, chunky, smoky, flavorful, and a touch on the hot side of the fence, but it was perfect for my "Anglo" taste buds.  This salsa was simply fantastic, and when you combined it with the fresh tortilla chips, it made for a memorable appetiser.  It was so good that you almost didn't really need to order a meal!

Photo:  Our friendly server, Tomás, takes our dinner orders.  We'd already been enjoying drinks, and the fine basket of chips, and the amazing bowl of salsa.  My wife and I ordered identical dinners of shrimp enchiladas, from the "Enchiladas... Y Un Poco Más," side of the menu.

Photo:  Meet Tomás, our friendly server, who brings a plate of "Seafood Enchiladas" to our table with a smile. Tomás was friendly, efficient, and gave us great service, but he was never intrusive.  Great server and a nice guy!

Photo:  Thanks, Tomás, for taking our photo, as we prepare to enjoy a delicious dinner at El Chorlito, located in San Simeon, CA.

Photo:  From the "Enchiladas... Y Un Poco Más," my wife and I both ordered "Seafood Enchilada," topped with cilantro sauce, with rice and beans.  The menu offers your choice of meat as either "fish," or shrimp for the filling of your enchilada, and both of us went with the shrimp for our enchiladas.  The enchilada is offered a la carte, or as a complete dinner.  At $14.15 for the complete dinner, considering the fact we're in San Simeon, this is a good deal.

The enchilada is built around a large, corn tortilla, and in our case was stuffed with a truly generous portion of grilled shrimp.  Inside, it was held together with garlic, onion, and cheese.  Topping the enchilada was what the menu calls "cilantro sauce," but it seemed to be mostly gooey, melted cheese,with cilantro and green enchilada sauce.  Our enchiladas were simply outstanding!  As you cut off a piece with your fork, gooey cheese and sauce accompanied the shrimp, tortilla, which made for a true seafood, taste sensation.  If you're a fan of shrimp enchiladas, I'd suggest you order this, as you'll love it.

The beans were simply amazing!  I suspect they were cooked in lard, as the refried beans had a slightly "nutty" taste that lard implants, but whatever the case, they were tender, juicy, perfectly seasoned, and topped with cheese. The Mexican rice was great, but a little generic... what really can you say about rice that is served at most Mexican restaurants?  Dinner came with a small, fresh salad, which definitely added to the presentation, and made a nice catalyst to dip your refried beans into.  Add the basket of chips, along with the mouth-watering salsa, and you have one FINE "New Mexican" dinner!

All in all, both Sharlene and I LOVED our identical dinners!  We both agreed the cuisine is more on the "New Mexico" side of the border, rather than on the "Mexican" side, but when it comes to good eating, who cares, and who wants to pin a label on outstanding food?  

El Chorlito is a solid dinner choice for great "New Mexican" cuisine in San Simeon, CA.

Let's go back to early Thursday evening, October 16, 2014, when we enjoyed a previous, delicious dinner at El Chorlito.

Photo:  A portion of the dining room faces west, and you can savor the view of the ocean, as you enjoy Californian, Mexican, or New Mexican cuisine.  El Chorlito also features an outdoor patio, if your prefer to dine outside.  On this early Thursday evening, October 16, 2014, the restaurant was practically empty, but it filled up before we left.

Photo:  After menus are placed on the table, fresh tortilla chips and in-house-made salsa soon follow.  Tonight, we felt in a festive mood, so Sharlene ordered a margarita, and I ordered a draught beer.

Photo:  Our friendly server, Ismael, chats with Sharlene after placing our dinner on the table.  Photo gives a good idea of the room we dined in, which is separate from the main dining room.  The full-service bar is out of the picture, to the left.

Photo:  I grin for the camera, as Ismael snaps our photo, but Sharlene doesn't look quite as pleased as I am.

Photo:  Sharlene's dinner of rice, beans, enchilada, and chili verde.  She loved the dinner, and I did too, as I helped her finish it.

Photo:  Since we were by the ocean, fish sounded good, so I ordered a whole tilapia, rice, and beans.  Yes, I know tilapia is a fresh water fish, that loves warm water, and wouldn't have a chance in the Pacific Ocean, but tilapia sounded good tonight, so that's what I ordered.  Tilapia is a little on the bony side, so it takes a bit of technique to separate the meat from the bones, using a fork, but it's not difficult and is easily mastered.  The fish was fried perfectly, golden brown on the outside, and tender inside, just way I like it.  Like Sharlene, I devoured the rice and beans, as they were delicious.  The only thing missing was a stack or corn tortillas; I should have requested some. Great dinner!

Photo:  Wednesday, October 14, 2015, Sharlene and I ordered the same dinner:  Chili rellano, enchilada, rice and beans.  The enchilada choices include beef, chicken or pork, and we both decided to "pig out" and ordered shredded pork for our enchiladas.  We were amazed that the enchiladas had a touch of mole sauce, as shown in the photo. As per previous visits to El Chorlito, this dinner was amazing!

Click on this link to read an article that I wrote, back in 2004, about a previous visit to El Chorlito.

We loved our dining experience that we enjoyed at El Chorlito, as the food was delicious, the service was friendly and efficient, and the dining room was comfortable and quite elegant.  If you're in the mood for fine, "Cal-NewMex" style dining in San Simeon, stop by El Chorlito.

El Chorlito
9155 Hearst Dr.
San Simeon, CA 93452
805 927-3872

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