If there is one thing Chula Vista has plenty of, it’s Mexican restaurants. You see them all over the city, from smaller taco shops like Lolita’s, to high end places like Fridas. It’s amazing when you see a new place open up right where one just closed down. I’m always a bit hesitant to try a new place when it comes to Mexican food. I have my favorites, just like everyone else, so I tend to stick with them. When it comes to food, we always go back to the places we love the most.
Lately, one of my favorite Mexican restaurants has been lacking a bit, name withheld to protect the innocent of course.
This has pushed me to be on the look out for a new favorite when I’m in the mood for some tacos. Most of the better Mexican restaurants, in my opinion, are on the west side. Sorry Eastlake, but there is just something about crossing the 805 that makes most of the tacos shops east of the freeway lose their zing.
Along Broadway, you can find half a dozen taco shops and Mexican style restaurants, not counting the Marisco places. One that has been catching my eye is La Querencia Restaurant located at 676 Broadway, in between I and J Street. It might take you a few times driving by the place before you realize where it’s at. They do have a large sign, but it’s just a small place squeezed in between a liquor store and an auto repair shop, go figure.
One thing you recognize right away is the Mexican décor; the colors plus the floral displays on the tables remind you of a restaurant you would find south of the border. Personally, I like that style of décor, maybe not for my kitchen, but for a restaurant it’s perfect. They do have a small waiting area when you walk in that looks almost like a living room. The large sofa and coffee table make you feel right at home when you wait. When we got there was no wait at all, in fact we were the only ones in there. The dining area has mostly smaller tables, but they do have a couple larger tables for a big group with an appetite. One thing that threw me off was the large convenience store refrigerator sitting in the middle of the dining room. It was huge and it was empty. We couldn’t figure out if they were taking it out, or moving it in.
Their menu has the usual Mexican food selections, tacos, burritos and tortas, but they do offer some dishes you will only find at selected places. Milanesa is one; this breaded meat with thick dark gravy is one that is not on everyone’s menu. You will also find a few seafood selections like, Camarones Rancheros. If you visit on the weekends La Querencia offers Menudo and Pozole. Most of the dishes are served with rice and beans, plus your choice of flour or corn tortillas. Along with lunch and dinner La Querencia offers breakfast and a fruit smoothie bar. While we were there an employee was cutting up fresh fruit. The smoothies they offer looked very tempting to try.
I went with the carne asada plate, a true test of any Mexican restaurant in my opinion. Some places get it right and some places get it wrong and a few get it very wrong. My wife went with an order of sopes with shredded beef. The server also brought us some chips with three different kinds of salsas, a big plus in my book. Both of our meals came with a small cup of soup, but even though I didn’t see that on the menu, it was indeed welcomed. The soup was a mix of small noodles and cheese and tasted like chicken soup. We both enjoyed it.
Being the only ones there, the service was quick. We had just finished our soups when our meals arrived. My carne asada plate looked good; it came with a small salad mix, rice and beans plus fresh guacamole, which I decided to pass on. I was also given corn tortillas with my meal, which was homemade. I’m not a big fan of corn tortillas, call me a gringo if you want, but these were delicious. I got three with my meal and finished each one. The meat was a bit on the dry side. It did have flavor, but it was just way too thin and a little over cooked. Both the rice and beans were about average for a Mexican restaurant. The cost of my meal was $10.50, which is a bit lower then most places. In all it was good, but not something that I would go back for.
My wife’s sopes looked very good. They came alone, but she did get a side order of queso fundido, a cheese dip with chorizo on top. I decided to pass on a taste of her selections. After the three corn tortillas and my meal I was just about full. She did tell me that the sopes were not the greatest. They lacked a bit of flavor in them. She did like the queso fundido and the portion was a nice size, she even had some leftovers. Along with our meal, plus two sodas, the final bill after tip was $33.00 for two people. Most of the combination plates are around $10. Breakfast selections a bit lower. If you are planning on going with seafood then expect to pay on average about $10 for most dishes.
Did La Querencia Restaurant make one of my new favorites? Not quite, but I will be back to try the breakfast and maybe even stop in for a lunch special. If you are looking to save a little then be on the look out for their coupons, I know I have come across some in the paper. I will continue my search for my new favorite and with so many places to choose from I’m bound to find it.[box type=”info”]Location: 676 Broadway, Chula Vista Ca. 91910
Have you visited? Add your review now for others to read Click Here[/box] [author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://chulavistaliving.com/images/kurt-bunch.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Kurt Bunch is the owner of Chula Vista Living. You will often find him at all of the city events taking video or photos to add to the website. Kurt loves to promote the city and let residents know about what is going on in their community. Chula Vista Living was started with just that goal.[/author_info] [/author]