Reading my blogs, you know I am a vegetarian, however, I do not omit any foods from cooking for my family, I just don’t eat the meats. I did not choose this lifestyle, rather health handed it me and I abide to it without question. Dining out is usually not a big deal, if I can find nothing else on a menu, I just order sides and call it a day. Being out in California I figured dining as a vegetarian would be fairly easy and I headed out to eat at a popular local cantina. If you like Mexican Food, are headed to the area I was in, or eat vegetarian-style meals, check out what I found. During one of my little travel stints in LA, I dined at a popular Mexican Restaurant, Camachos Cantina. Here’s to lavishly living Mexican food out loud.
Far from a whiner when I travel, I usually just go with the flow, I have to tell you, this day caught me off guard all the way around. Not feeling as well as I usually do, I might have been a tad jaded, but I will speak candidly and tell you what I think. Your opinions may differ, but this is what happened to me while dining at this particular restaurant!
Let’s start with this, if it is a cold night, don’t sit right beyond the entrance, where you walk down a step or two to get there because the front is open and the air keeps on coming in and you might be wearing your jacket if you do. Since they seat you, ask for a different area when they head there or you will freeze. In addition, this area is a very busy service area as the staff passed through there a lot, if you put your purse on your chair it will get knocked around or hit to the floor and I don’t like my luxury bags hitting greasy floors, thanks!
If you can’t read Spanish, make sure you at least have your phone to Google the headings of the menu so you can decipher what is an appetizer versus what is a meal. Fluent myself, but totally jet-lagged, I was lagging in getting my ordering together. That said, a few of the appetizers ordered could have easily been meals, as the people I was dining with ordered appetizers and the plates were plenty loaded.
There were a lot of foods on the menu, but there was also a lot of meat. As far as it goes, you will find a few fish offerings but they may not be prepared the way you want it, and the management is unwilling to CHANGE anything on the menu, trust me, I asked and got nowhere.
Staff & Scents
Was I impressed with the staff. Nope, not really in fact, their unwillingness to sub anything even if you PAY for it actually irritated me. When you asked for something to be eliminated it still came to the table with it on(meat) and then they just took it away, took off the meat and brought it back, thanks but I could have done that myself! Do be prepared to come out smelling like a sizzled Fajita, which is the usual when dining in a Mexican-Themed restaurant, I personally hate that smell on my clothes and hair, so a shower AGAIN was a must because I was headed on a long flight home and I refused to smell like a sizzling Fajita the whole way home.
I am a chip snob, so I will have to say these fared well for me. The chips were salted, big, and a few curled-over ones were in the bin, crisp and some had that oil you look for when dining on these. The baskets were refilled without question and this was nice. The salsa had a bit of a bite to it, and if you are sensitive to heat, wait for the water or suffer the consequences(lol). Speaking of water, you have to actually order water in LA, I found this so funny because in Pittsburgh, it auto comes to the table with anything else that you order.
While the meals are very authentic, but pretty limited if you don’t eat meat, which was surprising. There were a ‘few’ fish choices, but overall, meat, meat, meat. I asked for this salad to come with Shrimp instead of chicken, the waiter went to the manager, the answer, “NO”, I then asked for NO MEAT at all on the salad, which created some problem because the waiter wanted to know why I would want that meal without meat. I even told him I did not care if he had to charge for it, but still, the salad came out with meat and I sent it back.
As you can see, they took it back, took off the meat and then mounded it with cheese to make up the difference for the flavor that was set in from the meat, totally unacceptable. I ate a few bites and stopped, just not worth consuming what they felt like providing, rather than what was requested. When he realized that I sent it back, he said, ‘no, no chicken on it” and he knew it was wrong, but just scraped it off. The shell was very greasy and there were so many beans beneath that layer of salad, if I would have eaten it, I could have propelled myself to the moon and back on natural gas- no thanks.
At the end of the meal you are offered a plate that has almond cookies on it, they are almost like Russian Tea Cakes, they were Mexican Wedding Cookies and quite good.
The menu on the site, is not the menu I was handed in the actual restaurant. I believe that the food itself, was just basic, nothing special. I understand that the draw here is the Mariachi Band which was no present while we were there there are certain times they play, so call and inquire. I know if you are searching for a place to eat Mexican in the area, this might just have to do, but for me, I would have rather eaten a Taco Bell(and that is not saying much) than the food that was provided here. I also did not have my traditional Margarita or I would have toasted you, but someone I was with had a Horchata for the price tag of $3.75 and she said it was just so not worth the price.
Would I return to Camanchos Cantina, quite honestly no, just based on the menu and the mess-ups. If you can’t order food the way you want it cooked, then there is no sense eating at this restaurant. I would probably just hit them up for a margarita now to do that taste test, but I would not make a special trip there, nor would I base my trip around a stop here. I am rather disappointed in this dining experience as it was on Universal Property so I expected just a bit more than what I received. Again, the menu is set up with Spanish and English and you will see the English descriptions, but if you have spent the day at the park, or are very tired, trying to figure out what is an appetizer versus what is a meal will also spin your wheels. Lavishly live traveling and dining out loud and I hope I helped you making a food decision! ~ Dana