40th Anniversary: OC’s Famous Avila’s El Ranchito

One of the OC's classic Mexican favorites celebrates in April with throwback dishes and deals.

Anne Watson

THAT ONE RESTAURANT: We all have a pocket filled with restaurant recommendations that are at the ready when we're asked for them (and even when our opinion is not solicited but we want to give it). Our suggestions cover the grub-worthy gamut, from tacos near the beach to restaurants with fireplaces in the mountains to that one place your parents always want to go to when they visit (just in case your friend also has visiting parents, too). As for classic Mexican places of SoCal? Oh boy... Diners have their loves here, the places they'll drive to, or stop on the way to LA (or vice versa), and when they recommend them they tend to talk with their hands, mimicking the gooey cheese on top of an enchilada to how thick the table salsa is when you dip a chip. Avila's El Ranchito is one of those California classics. It's been a Newport Beach staple for four decades, weathering the closure of other eateries while staying true to the savory entrees that fans have come to expect (the gooey cheese, the hefty salsa). To celebrate those fans, those keep-on-truckin' dishes, and its big 40th anniversary, Avila's El Ranchito is devoting Thursday in April to celebrating the tasty touchstones. Celebrating, that is, with deals.

THROWBACK THURSDAYS, which kick off on Thursday, April 2, will offer "discount items" that have been centerpieces of the menu "for decades." Look for the kettle-cooked carnitas and Mama Avila's Soup, which comes topped with cilantro and avocado (seriously, any spicy chicken soup lacking in either should really reconsider its path, because that duo is strong). 

TO SEE ALL THE UPCOMING DEALS... keep an eye on the restaurant's Facebook page. And be grateful for the longtime places still doing old-school tamales and rellenos and carnitas and all of that comforting goodness we grubbed on as tots and still seek out today, when we want something filling and able to stand the test of time.

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