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Sep 1, 2009 04:15 PM

What's your preference--Chef Rick or Far Western Tavern?

Leaving early tomorrow from LA--Cambria--we usually stop at Chef Rick but have never made the trek over to FWT. Any opinions?

Also considering checking out other new places (to us) : Bayside Cafe and Giovanni's in Morro Bay, El Bajio and East Beach Grill in Santa Barbara.

Any thoughts? We've been steered to great food by hounds so many times. As always, I'll report back.


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  1. No contest: Chef Rick's is the place for food which is why you keep going back, right?, But since you are already a regular at Chef Rick, certainly it is worth it to experience Far Western, more the place for funk than the food. Far Western has gotten a lot better for dining in the past few years, whereas before it was more for its novelty and setting than its food. La Simpatia just down the street from Far Western in Guadalupe is a worthy detour just for its fabulous chili rellenos. If you are making the trip to Guadalupe for dining diversity, my own choice would be La Simpatia. (Thanks to a local CH rec)

    East Beach gets its best reviews for breakfasts and is more ho-hum for lunch. There will never be a resolution to the Great Milpas Street Wars between LaSuperica and El Bajio, which bodes well for either choice.

    By all means go to El Bajio and this will qualify you to your own Milpas Street fight creds. Both have die-hard fans. And one can see why. Both have strenghts and both have weaknesses so you can find ways to love or not love either of them.

    5 Replies
    1. re: glbtrtr

      I'd throw Altamirano's and Los Agaves into the mix as well for the Milpas experience.

      1. re: PolarBear

        Upon recommendations here, we recently went to Altamirano's and it was not that good at all. Maybe when we were looking for Mexican seafood restaurants on Milpas, it was Cesar's and not Altamirano's? Los Agaves I believe falls into the "no lard" brand of Mexican restaurants, so be forewarned taste is sacrificed for superstition.

        Polar, you are always right on about your recommendations, and I think we both made a mistake about Altamirano's when looking for good Milpas Street seafood perhaps. Not even worth a second try as far as I am concerned to see if the first rec was wrong.

        1. re: glbtrtr

          My last visit was a couple of years back. Wish I could recall the menu item we liked so well, it was similar to one of the LSR dishes, chopped up chiles (poblanos?) with melted cheese, pork and salsa, that's sad if they've slid downhill so bad. We stumbled on Los Agaves after finding LSR closed one evening, and you're right, I crave the lard preps.

      2. re: glbtrtr

        Giovannis- enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hope it is sunny and pleasant on the deck!
        La Simpatia is the bomb- and if you like Chicano art from the 70's- you get a bonus!! Very good food, made in front of your eyes. Last time I was there- they rolled a fresh hunk of ground meat into a burger- hand make each rellano and the stewed meat....ah the stewed meat.
        FWT is good, don't expect too much and it will be better. The beans- I was told the secret is chili colorado suace in them. The steak sandwich- the salads- the curtains!!

        Please report!!

        1. re: JalamaMama

          "Bomb" means good, right? (Voice from another era asking)