Plaza del Sol Mexican Restaurant and Cantina is an iconic Mexican restaurant, located in Elk Grove, CA, and has been welcoming guests with amazing Mexican cuisine and friendly service for over 20 years. Over the years, this fine restaurant has been one of the favorites of Elk Grove locals, and all those who appreciate authentic Mexican dining.
As with all reviews I publish, I have no affiliation with the restaurant reviewed, and there is no monetary gain on my part, as I am simply a person who likes to eat, and I love to write-up, and publish my dining experiences.
Photo: It's a little after 12:30 in the early afternoon on Friday, June 25, 2021, and we've arrived at Plaza del Sol Mexican Restaurant and Cantina, located in Elk Grove, CA, to enjoy lunch. The restaurant is located in the "Elk Grove Village" shopping center, just off CA 99.
Just in case you're not familiar with Elk Grove, the city of 120,000 is located about 20 miles south of Sacramento.
Photo: As you enter the restaurant, an "old school" black board announces today's special. There are several comfortable carved benches for you to relax on, during busy hours when both dining rooms are full. The floors are tiled, the walls are painted with a contrasting color, there are lots of potted "faux" plants, and the restaurant truly hosts a "Mexican style" atmosphere. It's both welcoming and comfortable.
The main dining room, where we enjoyed our lunch is to the left, but to the right is a somewhat darker and "cozier" dining room, along with tables for large groups, and ... the full service bar!
Photo: The main dining room is very spacious, comfortable, and well-lighted by natural lighting, thanks to the many windows. The long table in the center of the photo is where the kitchen staff was placing "to-go" orders, as there was a constant stream of diners picking up "to-go" orders, along with many commercial drivers who deliver meals.
We don't do "to-go," as we feel that if we're going to spend "top shelf" dollars, we want to enjoy a total restaurant experience. The cold Corona beers also add to the atmosphere...
Photo: After we were seated, we were brought a bowl of fresh, warm-from-the-kitchen tortilla chips, along with a bowl of delicious in-house made salsa. The salsa was absolutely flavorful, mild, not spicy, and made for amazing dipping. To go with our chips and salsa, as we pondered our lunch selections, we ordered a couple of ice-cold Corona beers, which arrived with frosted glassed and a wedge of lime. Muy sabroso!
Photo: The first page of the menu lists lunch, appetizers, soups and combinations. Any listing on the menu is available any time the restaurant is open. We couldn't resist ordering the "Botana Plate" as an appetizer, when actually, especially if you added the optional meat, it would be a meal easily shared by two.
Photo: The second page lists the many specialties the restaurant has to offer, seafood, fajitas, beverages, sides and desserts.
Photo: Our friendly hosts, Teno, takes Adrienne's order. Note the large bowl of fresh tortilla chips on the table, as we're just getting started.
Photo: After placing our lunch orders, we decided to check out the full-service bar, where Adrienne gives me her "glamour girl" pose, as she sits at the bar.
Photo: The dining room by the bar is subtly lighted, has a wood floor, and sports booths and several large tables for large parties. The full-service bar is definitely the centerpiece of the room!
Photo: From the "Appetizers" section of the menu, we ordered a "Botana Plate," as when we dine together, we love to sample and share. The menu describes this delicious appetizer as, "A combination of nachos, crispy taquitos and melted cheese quesadillas, topped with guacamole, sour cream and jalapeno peppers. Add beef or carnitas for $3.00." The menu posts this amazing plate as an "appetizer," but it could have easily been a complete meal for both of us, especially if we would have added beef or carnitas.
The meal is built on a half plate of deep fried corn tortillas, lightly deep fried and covered with creamy, gooey, melted Mexican cheese and refried beans, which make for perfect nachos to snack on. The quesadillas started with a lightly grilled flour corn tortilla, and like the nachos, were filled with lots of delicious, melted Mexican cheese. Each taquito was deep fried to crisp perfection, and filled with carne asada.
The centerpiece of the plate is a large helping of fresh guacamole, with a scoop of sour cream, diced tomato and pickled jalapeno pepper slices. The seeds and stems from the jalapeno slices had been removed, so there was very little heat, and we enjoyed the delicious flavor that pickled jalapeno slices had to offer to this amazing appetizer.
Priced at $12.00 - add $3.00 for meat which is optional - this amazing platter was a bargain, and made a meal for both of us. This platter was perfect for "foodies" like Adrienne and I who like to "mix and match" and share. There was a lot of food on this plate, and was absolutely delicious, fresh, and was a selection to delight anyone who craves delicious Mexican cuisine.
Photo: Meet Teno, our friendly server, who clowned up for the camera, as he brought my lunch to our table. He provided us friendly and exceptional service.
Photo: Thanks to our friendly server, Teno, for taking our photo as we're ready to enjoy an amazing lunch at Plaza del Sol. That's a lot of food! Although both of us are great eaters, we took about half of our lunch home in boxes for dinner.
Photo: From the "Lunch" section of the menu, Adrienne ordered her lunch with a "Chilie Relleno," stuffed with ground beef, as the centerpiece of her lunch. All selections from the "Lunch" section include rice and beans, and you can choose between several varieties of meat, or if you're "meatless," you can choose either avocado or cheese.
The "Chilie Relleno" started with a large poblano pepper, and was stuffed with seasoned ground beef, as per Adrienne's request. It was battered, and deep fried to a perfect golden brown, then covered with the restaurant's "house red sauce," which enhanced the delicious main dish.
Included with her lunch, as in all selections from the "Lunch" section of the menu, were a side of refried beans and Mexican rice, which were good, but not especially memorable. The plate rounded out with a side of shredded lettuce.
Photo: My dining companion and "foodie" friend, Adrienne, enjoys her lunch of "Chilie Relleno." The plate next to her is our "Botano Plate," which the menu advertises an "appetizer," and she and I have been working on it as part of our lunch. We're both on our second beers...
Photo: From the "Seafood" section of the menu, I went with "Tacos Camaron - Pescaco, " commonly known as shrimp tacos, as I hadn't enjoyed Mexican seafood in quite some time and I was ready. Your meal starts with two tacos, and for a couple dollars more, you get a third taco, so a third taco sounded perfect for me. The menu describes this amazing plate as, "Your choice of two or three tacos prepared Ensenada style. Soft corn tortillas filled with pico de gallo and topped with our special white sauce."
In the style of Ensenada, Baja California, each taco is built on two... yes... TWO medium size -not "street taco" size - corn tortillas, lightly toasted, and warm and moist. I've been to Ensenada many times, and shrimp in tacos is always battered and deep fried, and that's how my shrimp arrived, battered and deep fried, as in the style of Ensenada. Some restaurants, particularly chain restaurants, grill the shrimp, and that's just not the way it's done in Mexico. I didn't ask, and I was pleased to find my shrimp was battered and deep fried.
The pico de gallo was fresh and delicious, but when you're visiting Ensenada, you'll rarely find pico de gallo on a fish or shrimp taco, as it's normally served as a side dish. In Mexico, you'll find shredded cabbage in place of lettuce. The pico de gallo was delicious, but not exactly authentic, at least to many of the vendors I've visited during my travels to Ensenada and San Felipe. I was surprised to find a little shredded Mexican cheese on the tacos, as I've never seen that in Mexico, but things could have changed, as it's been a few years since I've had the pleasure to visit Ensenada or San Felipe.
The "Special White Sauce" served on the tacos was simply amazing! It appeared to be "crema," or Mexican sour cream, with lime added, and "something else" that gave this cream a bold, tangy, and robust flavor, that simply sent these delicious fish tacos "over the top" in flavor.
The rice and refried beans were solid, very good, but nothing memorable, as they tasted like rice and beans found at chain restaurants, as couldn't detect the "earthy" taste of lard in my refried beans, which totally enhances the flavor.
The tacos were definitely delicious and crafted "in the style" of Ensenada, but differed in many ways from the tacos you find at the various street vendors. I would have preferred cabbage, with pico de gallo offered on the side, and the cheese left out altogether. But... that's just "nit picking" on authenticity, as these tacos were amazing, and the two perfectly toasted corn tortillas held together well. I LOVED these tacos!
Photo: Three delicious "Tacos de Camaron - Pescado" ready to enjoy, showing all of the goodness each of these amazing taco has to offer. The small shrimp were battered and deep fried, just like you'd enjoy at Ensenada or San Felipe, Mexico. The helping of Plaza del Sol's "crema" was simply amazing, and added a zesty tough to my delicious lunch.
The food was simply amazing, our host was super friendly, and the dining room was very spacious and comfortable. We loved the full-service bar in the dining, and the large tables, which would make a great gathering for a large group. Such a great dining experience with my "foodie" friend! Come for the "Botana Plate," and stay for the main course! Whatever your taste in fine Mexican cuisine, Plaza del Sol Mexican Restaurant and Cantina has you covered!
Plaza del Sol Mexican Restaurant and Cantina
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