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When you think of good Mexican food, Central Oregon generally doesn't come to mind.  However, when you're traveling along Interstate 5, near Canyonville, in Central Oregon, El Paraiso is the place to eat a for fine Mexican food.

On our way through Central Oregon, Sharlene and I stopped to visit our ex-coworker, friend and neo-Oregonian, Joel Murphy.  After a tour of his lovely estate, a nice visit and a few beers, we decided that Mexican food would be perfect for dinner.  Since he's now a local, we asked for his recommendation and he didn't hesitate when he recommended El Paraiso, for fine Mexican food.

Left:  Canyonville, Oregon's fine Mexican Restarant, El Paraiso.  Right:  Our friendly server brings us a bowl of chips and a glass of wine for Sharlene.  Joel and I are beer guys, as we prefer beer over wine, any day!

Canyonville, Oregon isn't noted for it's culinary expertise, nor is it an entertainment mecca, with, perhaps the exception of the "Seven Feathers Casino."  But, hidden on N. Main Street, just south of the casino, is the rather unpretentious El Paraiso, also known as El Restarante Mexicano.

One inside, you're treated to "earthy" Mexican decor, traditional Mexican music, tile floors, Spanish spoken among the staff, and lots of artificial plants that hang from the ceiling in baskets.  Actually, the artificial plants look real and they lend an attractive outdoor flavor to the restaurant.

As the case in most Mexican restaurants, as soon as you're seated, you're treated to chips and a couple flavors of salsa.  I especially liked their fresh "salsa cruda;" it added a nice touch to the chips.

Left:  The decor is both "earthy" and attractive.  Right:  Looking toward the dining area from where we were seated. Note the abundance of artificial plants, they look so real you have to touch them to verify that they're made out of plastic.

Joel and I treated ourselves to a Pacifico beer, and Sharlene had a coke, as she was the designated driver. When it came time to order, all of us opted for one of their "Dinner Combinations," served with rice and beans.  I chose a #22, which included one enchilada, one taco and one cheese chilie relleno.  I guess you could say that I like cheese!

Left:  I couldn't resist snapping the photo of this hard-working waiter, as he brought dinner to the diners seated next ot us.  Right:  Sharlene and Joel are starting to dig in.  My combination plate is to the right of Sharlene, next to the Pacifico beer bottle.

You won't go away hungry at this place, as the portions are huge and the food is good.  I can't say that their food is totally "authentic" but it is good and skillfully prepared.  The next time we come to visit Joel, we'll be back for more fine Mexican food at El Paraiso.

El Paraiso Mexican Restaurant
540 N. Main St.
Canyonville, OR 97417
541 839-4176

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