Monday, May 6, 2013
Avila's El Ranchito
182 S Orange St
Avila's El Ranchito is an Orange County chain with about 12 locations. Their Orange location, just east of the famous Orange Circle, is housed in an old Victorian Baptist Church, which was built in 1888. The church closed in 1992 and a couple years later PJ Abbey's restaurant opened up. About two years ago PJ Abbey's closed and Avila's El Ranchito opened. If you believe in ghosts, there is suppose to be a ghost that haunts the restaurant.
Avila's El Ranchito is a good sized restaurant. There are two entrances; one of the restaurant and the other for the bar. Being an old church the restaurant has high ceilings, wood floors, and stain glass windows. The stain glass on the east side of the resturant still has PJ's on top.
Normally when I go to a Mexican restaurant and it's filled with white people it's not a good sign. I might as well go to the white washed Mexican chain restaurants like El Torito, or Don Jose, or Acapulco. But, I know the Orange Circle isn't a place that many Latinos frequent. You're more likely to see a flying Delorean than a large number of Latinos. But, Avila's El Ranchito is a fairly authentic Mexican restaurant. The flavors of the grilled fiesta platter were well balanced. The chicken breast was well seasoned and grilled just right, not dry at all. The veggies were grilled perfectly, though since I hate zucchini, I wish there wasn't any zucchini. The black beans were money, perfectly cooked and seasoned. Well seasoned and a huge portion made this a very good entree.
Service was good. The hostess and server were both very nice and friendly.
The setting is nice and makes for a nice quiet dining experience. The food is good and reasonably price. So, of course I would go back to Avila's El Ranchito anytime.