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El Rey Cantina

13th July 2009

3/10/11 UPDATE: El Rey just keeps getting better and better.  The new taco menu has some unique flavors and totally rocks.  There is a new high-def projector over the bar making this now also my favorite place to go watch a big game.  Staff is still as friendly as ever. It’s been almost two years now since my first visit… hard to believe.

12/15/10 UPDATE: It’s been well over a year since I first visited El Rey and I’m happy to say that it’s still one of my favorite places. I love to kick off the weekend with the Mexican mood changer (a shot of tequila and a cold Modelo) and some chips and guacamole.   It’s also a great place to watch sports with the new projector they put over the bar.

El Rey CantinaFrom 7/13/09: Well now we’re getting somewhere.  It’s been too long since I visited a restaurant for the first time and felt like spreading the word.  That long dry spell came to an end in a big margarita and bowl of great salsa at El Rey Cantina in downtown Ventura.  We worked up an appetite on Sunday looking at all the Ferraris and Porsches at the Ventura Sports Car show so we headed down the street to find a cold drink and some food.  I liked everything about this place the moment I walked in – the decor (it’s like walking into a velvet Elvis painting), the friendly staff, the tequila bar, the bras on the chandeliers and the big booths.  But it’s easy to create a funky space in Ventura, the hard part is getting the food right (I’m looking at you again, Fiore!).  This place gets it spot on.  Even basic chicken enchiladas have a rich flavor that I haven’t tasted since I moved here from Texas.  For something different we ordered the Ahi burrito which is served “sushi style”: sliced up and served like a sushi roll.  Clever presentation and it tastes great.  I don’t think I’ll order it as an entree again though… it would make a better appetizer. I won’t go on because I know this is sounding like an infomercial.  I’m just so glad to have a casual downtown Ventura restaurant that I actually look forward to visiting again.

I enjoy writing about technology, travel, wine and living in Ventura, CA.