Ortega's in Hillcrest
We've eaten here several times both for breakfast and dinner, and the most recent visit will be our last. We liked it the first couple of visits, but the most recent two or three have all been mediocre and expensive. The lobster I had last week was flavorless and full of shell bits. The rest of the food was somewhat underseasoned/undersalted, especially the tableside guacamole. While it sounds like a good idea and it's fun to have them make it - I think good guacamole really needs to sit for an hour or so, to let the flavors blend.
Service was also a little lacking - they forgot a drink and an entree, and it was a bit slow. We were with some old friends so we didn't mind too much, but we definitely noticed.
Ortega's was never my favorite, I LOVED Chilangos, but the last few times we have been to Ortega's it's just been awful. We have been 4-5 times. The service is hit or miss, mostly miss. Last time we went we took out of town guests for a quick dinner after going to the zoo and before they drove home and we were very disappointed. I ordered the Chicken Pippian, chicken breast covered in a creamy pumpkin pippian sauce with steamed veggies. Sounds delicious but really didn't have any flavor. Granted, I like my food seasoned.
The time before I ordered the Puerto Nuevo Tortilla Soup. The waitress asked me if I would like chicken in it, I said sure. The soup she brought me was barley warm, and not the soup I ordered. Upon mentioning that I received the wrong soup she said "I thought you wanted chicken in it. The Puerto Nuevo Soup doesn't have chicken in it." I told her that I thought she was offering to add chicken to the soup I had ordered, not bring me an entirely different one. She didn't offer to take care of it in any way which was disappointing.
On our second visit I ordered the lobster, nothing to write home about. Mine was over cooked and on the smallish side. There guac is ok. I love spicy food and have asked a couple times if I could get some jalapenos on the side and they always tell me they don't have any.
To me, it seems like the food and service have gone down ever since they expanded the place. Ortegas always sounds like it's going to be better than it is and we leave disappointed, and with a lighter wallet. We miss Chilangos!!
I've been a few times and the food and service were solid, the atmosphere comfortable, and the margaritas, if I recall, were pretty good. Can't say I'd go far out of my way for it, but if you're in the neighborhood it's a nice friendly place that won't break the bank. In fact I might just go back to try the lobster soon.
We've been to Ortega's a few times and have been happy with it every time. I am not one of those people that is "ohhhh this isn't REAL mexican food" so you have a reference.
I have gotten the lobster twice, very good and saves you a trip to Puerto Nuevo. I just wish their bugs were a little larger (but not the large tough tourist lobsters haha).
They have several other things on the menu that look worth trying too.
We like Ortega's and have been going there for lunch once or twice a month since they opened. The interior is appealing, the hosts always remember us, the food good, and the ingredients fresh and well-prepared. As they have expanded into the adjacent space, the menu too has expanded and become more interesting.
This is definitely coastal Baja/Puerto Nuevo style cooking instead of the "authentic, traditional, and regional Mexican cooking," that has been much discussed here. But, hey, Baja is becoming a food region -- it was even discussed a few years ago by Rick Bayliss on 'Mexico: One Plate at a Time' (on PBS) when he interviewed a Mexico City chef who was using Baja recipes and wines at her restaurant. I think this is a pretty serious establishment with good management and a mission quite different from Chilango.
We've had the lobster only once at Ortega's. It was fresh and good and pricey.
I just ate there last night- we go regularly. I had the lobster and it was a nice size, sweet and tender, and I think it was $25. The menu refers to it as grilled, but the two of us who ordered it agreed that it tasted like it was fried Puerto Nuevo style. We meant to ask the waiter about it but after a couple of margaritas we forgot. They also do a good tableside guacamole with roasted garlic and a squeeze of juice from a grilled lime. My two favorite items there are the portobello poblano quesadilla appetizer and the plaintain crusted huachinango.
I understand that the owners are the same family that own the various Ortega's restaurants in Puerto Nuevo.