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Oct 5, 2008 03:40 PM

Cilantro on Main St. [Watsonville]

Looking through a two year old post on the SF board by Eat Nopal listing places in the north bay that he had on his to-try list, I caught a mention of this place noting a specific dish, Grilled Red Snapper in Guajillo Sauce. Having always found EN's posts very reliable I went on a search of the CA board going back eight years.

A little over three years ago Carb Lover made mention of the place and NathanP noted that it was owned by the same folks that have El Palomar in Santa Cruz, another post from a year earlier also mentioned the name, but not the dish.

Any hounds have a recent experience with this place or better yet the dish? TIA


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  1. Good digging, PB! I've eaten at El Palomar in downtown SC at least half a dozen times now over the past two years but have never tried their sister restaurant, Cilantros. I believe there is another El Palomar somewhere down in Monterey that susancinsf reported on in the past year.

    Overall, EP is not the best Mexican food around, but it's a comfortable sit-down restaurant w/ solid food, good service, and tasty margaritas. Great for groups. They have many seafood dishes on the menu, and we have tried the snapper w/ guajillo before. I remember it being fine but not extraordinary in any way. We fare well w/ ordering at least one item from their specials menu, and their seafood is always fresh. Most memorable dishes have been grilled ahi tuna (w/ some sort of sauce that I forget), chile verde, and carnitas. Their corn tortillas are also handmade, and I like their table salsa. Not a destination-worthy place IMO, but a reliable choice among downtown's offerings.

    Further south on Pacific is a new Pakistani/Afghani place called Khyber Pass that looks like a quick-service restaurant. I've heard some good things so hope to try it soon. There is a new Greek place called The Greek opening on Cathcart where the old E3 Playhouse used to be. Vida has a new chef (formerly of Theo's) who is revamping their menu to be more bistro-ish (eg, duck confit, steak frites, etc). I've also heard that the much-awaited opening of Oswald is due by the end of the year. I know you were disappointed w/ your meal there a while back, but I'm hoping their relocation to a bigger space w/ a full bar and more varied menu will give us an alternative to Soif downtown.

    El Palomar
    1344 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

    3 Replies
    1. re: Carb Lover

      Thanks CL, your description of El Palomar rings true from what I recall of it. I believe we went in specifically so LadyPB could get her fish taco fix. We thought the bar area in the back had a nice "patio" feel to it. Also seem to recall another subspace, possibly used for a taco bar or ?????, memory's too foggy.

      1. re: PolarBear

        Yeah, the area on the left is the bar area and the right side is the taco bar. I've never gone just for their taco bar since I prefer other taquerias like La Cabana, but I suppose it's a good late dinner option. They have some good happy hours specials too...

      2. re: Carb Lover

        Here's my May report on the El Palomar in Monterey:

        I liked the tortillas much more than the margaritas, but the seafood was fresh and very well prepared, and that snapper with guajillo could be quite good; if the Santa Cruz location is similar I'd agree with the reliable but not destination-worthy assessment.