We were deciding on what type of food to have for our Saturday night dinner. There were several excellent choices out there but we finally decided that Margaritas were definitely a good idea, so we made reservations at the El Adobe de Capistrano. The actual restaurant is housed in a historic landmark, built in 1778 as one of the Yorba Adobes. The restaurant serves authentic Mexican cuisine and this restaurant was President Nixon's favorite dining spots whenever he visited the "Western Whitehouse" in nearby San Clemente.
We knew we had reservations for 7pm but we arrived a bit early and the place was packed with people. We went to the bar, ordered our margaritas, ate a few chips and salsa and then our name was called for a table in the dining room.
Update: May 2007: On a day trip to SJC we stopped for lunch here. We had margaritas and a lot of chips and great salsa. The service was prompt and efficient and the food quite tasty. Very reasonable prices for lunchtime.
Favorite Dish: Kris ordered a burrito filled with chicken, mushroom, spinach topped with a verde salsa. I had a cheese enchilada and taco accompanied with rice and beans. The servings were generous and filling.
I had a wonderful flan for dessert, thick rich and creamy and Kris had Grand Marnier. The service was very good and we enjoyed our table which looked over a large party going on.
El Adobe de Capistrano is open daily for lunch an dinner. It is advisable on week ends to make reservations.
When we asked the proprietors of the Inn we were staying at for dinner suggestions Harold immediately said, "L'Hirondelle". He said the food was superb, the atmosphere sublime (he likes to sit on the patio by the fountain to watch the world go by) and the service impeccable. He was correct on all three accounts, only we sat inside as the weather was a bit chilly for us.
Our evening commenced when the lovely owner, Lisa Golesorkhi greeted us at the door and brought us to our table. Lisa's husband, Ali is the chef who concocted a vast array of dishes to tempt every palette. The two purchased the restaurant upon the untimely death of the original owner. The have succeeded by maintaining the high standards of the restaurant.
We sat inside as the night was a bit chilly. Decorated in French "Shabby" chic, L'Hirondelle was awash with color, candles fragrant smells emanating from the kitchen and on the sette beside me, there was a pillow. I wondered if it was there so I could nap bewteen courses! The mirrors placed in strategic places gave the room a feeling of openess despite it's closed quarters. The lighting was kept low and they use of candles throughout the restaurant gave it a comfortable and relaxed feel.
L'Hirondelle is open daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations are recommended. Attire: Resort wear casual to dressy.
Favorite Dish: The entire menu is presented in a fashion which makes everything sounds enticing, even the fish and mushrooms sounded good! (Ha, just teasing). Miss Picky eater here, I was worried there would be nothing much on the menu to satisfy me. I am happy to say that inference was incorrect. I actually had to choose between several entree choices. Here is what we had:
Starters: We both opened with the: French Onion Soup topped heavily with shredded Parmesean cheese. This soup was delightful and tasty. A basket of fragrant bread and butter was offered as well. We shared a bottle of Champagne, Piper Sonoma. Then it was time for the entrees; I had pork medallions with a mustard sauce and Kris had the Shrimp Maison, both of us commented on how well prepared the food was and the wait staff gave superior service. Then it was time for dessert.
I am not a big fan of chocolate, so I ordered the Creme Brulee' and Kris ordered a "backward cake that had chocolate cake, coconut cream in the center followed by a rich, thick, comfort-food level, chocolate icing. The Creme Brulee was tasty, a perfectly formed sugar disk atop a nice flan-like custard. Although this custard tasted just fine I was a bit disappointed with this particular dessert. Creme Brulee' should be thick and creamy underneath the sugar cap, this one the custard was like that of mexican flan, firm and a bit watery, not the thick and creamy custard associated with a Creme Brulee.
The food, service, cleanliness and excellent service combined to make this dining experience a real treat.
Diedrich's coffee house has been taken over by corporate Starbucks, an insult to the quaint main section of San Juan Capistrano. The following tip is about Diedrich's and not Starbucks that latter bing an establishment I try not to patronize.
We are early risers, so when the Inn Keepers told us that coffee would be available around 8am we did not panic. We had walked by Diedrich's coffeehouse and noted the hours of operation were very early. Diedrich's is a chain coffeehouse with much better coffee than Starbuck's.
We enjoyed the ambiance as Diedrich's faces the Mission San Juan Capistrano. The growing morning light dappled across the remains of the Great Stone Church. We sat on high stools and read the local paper and made our plans for the day.
There is Wi Fi access as well.
Favorite Dish: Diedrich's does offer a breakfast menu however, I did not try it as the Mission Inn where we were staying offered breakfast with our room rate.
We did have the brewed coffee...Kris had the "rocket fuel" and I a more "milder" blend. I also tried the hot chocolate which was excellent, not overly sweet and Kris bought a orange-cranberry scone for us to share.
This is a cozy coffeehouse decorated with warm woods and colors. I also liked the name; died rich! There are paintings on the wall by artist Hyatt Moore to enjoy as you sip your coffee.
Favorite Dish: I had my usual latte with hazelnut and it was better than Starbucks!! Raspberry cookie was good too.
a nice little mexican restaurant with great, delicious food and reasonable prices.
Favorite Dish: i loved the torta with carnitas. it was delicious, juicy, everything was cooked well. even though i was full i was craving more.
L'Hirondelle is the first SJC restaurant worth mentioning. The city of the swallow has an authentic and op rate restaurant in "L'Hirondelle", whose name conveniently means "swallow" in French. For many years, Walter Gasper owned and ran this lovely restaurant. Although Gasper passed away in 2004, L'Hirondelle thrives by serving quality in food and providing an intimate, romantic setting within and outside on the patio.
Expect a wonderful dining experience here. Service is just what you may expected from a "mom and pop" eaterie- done with a very personal touch. As far as the menu, there is beaucoup of choices. Filet Mignon and Lapin a la Liégeoise are a few specialties. Seafood, chicken and veal dishes are also featured on the menu. If you are vegetarian- well, you may be a bit frustrated but not totally dissatified. There is always brie, fruit and salade!
Though the price range for this restaurant is a bit pricey, one can manage to eat well here and still spend less than $20, especially during the lunch hour!
Oh, and no need for reservation , but it does not hurt.
Favorite Dish: I had Atlantic Salmon and Mushroom Farci from the menu, the latter was rather rich but wonderful! Forget about a regime and indulge!
What a surprise to learn that Diedrich's has closed and Starbucks took over the site. The building is old, from the early 1900's and I was told that it began as a sort of mechanics garage. Later it became a cafe, you know the greasy-spoon type and then it was Diedrich Coffee.
It's not easy to tell that it is a Starbucks, even now. The motto of SJC is "Preserving the past to enhance the future" and the city required that Starbucks keep the original look of the building. That means that the easily recognized logo of the green Siren is no where to be seen.
Favorite Dish: My favorite is Cafe Mocha and sometimes a pastry.
I didn't actually eat here , but I would have if I could have. The outside dining patio was what caught my attention and it also looked more like a "fusion" type bistro.
At the time the menu looked interesting and a good place for lunch. Also, it would be a great place to stop in the afternoon for Happy Hour which is from 2 pm to 7 pm and offers appetizers and drinks at a reduced price. They told me that they offer specials on Sundays during football season as well as showing all the games. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays there are Specials offers so, almost any time you'd eat here there is a deal.
Located about a block from the train station and about two blocks from the Mission it would be easy to time the stop at Sundried Tomato Cafe for a quick drink before boarding the train for home.
Favorite Dish: As I said earlier, I haven't eaten here so can't recommend a dish, but I can say that I'd choose Happy Hour on Wednesday to stop here. This would be when I would pay a reduced price on appetizers and get a Martini at half price!
Very casual, order-at-the front type restaurant. This place is good! Everything is written in Spanish and they even announce the numbers in Spanish! I was the only white person in the entire restaurant when I ate there for a quick bite. There's also a market inside and many people order to-go meals here. Seems quite authentic.
Favorite Dish: Simple chicken taquitos. The salsas are also quite good.
Located right across the street from the San Juan Capistrano Mission you'll find a wonderful restaurant called the Cedar Creek Inn.
Be sure to ask for a table on the patio. There is usually live music playing, the food and service is excellent, and the atmosphere is pure Southern California. Cedar Creek Information
Favorite Dish: The crab cakes are out of this world! Everything on their menu is excellent, especially the Angel hair pasta with basil and tomato sauce, the ravioli in cilantro cream sauce, and the grilled Ahi sandwich. If you're in the mood for spirits, you MUST try their martinis or the yummy house Margaritas. Each is served in an individual carafe on ice...simply .wonderful!!
We visited the restaurant on the first day of opening. The atmosphere is very nice, the food is authentic. My husband ate a hunter schnitzel, PERFECT fresh mushrooms, cream sauce and a marvelous steak that went far beyond the ordinary. Even my -Kutschertoepfle- was incredibly delicious. Medallions, Kaesespaetzle and yummie souce. We expect the case in any way again. My husband particularly liked the German beer :-)
Favorite Dish: Traditional BARTH`S Schnitzel & Kutschertoepfle
Had a chance to visit the Mission and then found this place a short walk away. The shop was right across the railroad tracks and had a good vibe to it. Once I saw the Italian coffee sign in the window I knew it was going to be a nice place to take a seat and watch the people go by.
Favorite Dish: The reason for even writing this review was for the blueberry pastry that was baked that morning. They made sure to warm it for us and it was soo good I had to go in and buy another. The Latte was excellent and was it hot. Be careful!
The owner came out and visited with our entire group to say hello and made us feel like we were home.
I had to sit there for a little while to really enjoy the atmosphere and immediately went into vacation mode.
This is definitely a mom and pop operation, but based on the line to place your order and the full tables, it's a definite must.
Favorite Dish: None of the meals are small, so if you are on a diet, don't eat here!!! I tried the gigantic Grilled Fish Burrito (grilled fish, cabbage, tomato, homemade sauce surrounded by a delicious flour tortilla) along with chips, salsa and a soda...Fantastic!!!
By far... EL ADOBE!!! It's a Mexican restaurant on El Camino, just south of the Mission. It is in, naturally, an old adobe. Lore goes that there is a tunnel system under this part of the town that people used to hide in when banditos came into town to rob the bank. In fact, the wine cellar at El Adobe is an old holding cell!
Great mariachis and great margaritas. The Sunday brunch in the covered patio is fantastic, too.
Favorite Dish: Hmmm.... everything is good. If you want a good sampler, though, get the El Presidente (named for Richard Nixon, as it was his favorite restaurant to visit when he lived at the Western White House in San Clemente). It's got, I think, a chile relleno, taco, etc.
27174 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano, California, 92675, United States
Good for: Solo
28742 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, California, 92675, United States
Good for: Solo
I stayed at Mission Inn last weekend. It's a charming conversion of a motel to a bed n' breakfast/in...more