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Celia's or El Charro in Lafayette

Yeah I know neither are exactly chowish destinations..... I am heading to dinner tonight with a couple of girlfriends and we want to stay in Lafayette. We decided Mexican would be fun for Margaritas and chips. El Jarro gets good reviews but it is so small, we want to take our time and chat. Seems like Celia's and El Charro fit the bill, which is the better of the two? Any menu items that stand out? Thanks!

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El Jarro
3563 Mt Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, CA 94549

El Charro
3339 Mt Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, CA 94549

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  1. You could do much better than either of these truly awful places by going to Taco Bell. Seriously, if you want Lafayette, try Metro, Artisan, Chow, Pizza Antica or the bar at the Lafayette Park Hotel (excellent Balsamic Chicken). Some love Chevalier, but I was underwhelmed.

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    Lafayette Park Hotel
    3287 Mount Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, CA 94549

    4 Replies
    1. re: zorrosf

      Taco bell ouch.... Are they truly that bad? My point was that tonight is less about the quality and more about hanging out and enjoying a drink while not breaking the bank and we will be happening to have dinner. Not sure any of the places you mention fit the bill. Now I don't want horrible disgusting food either though...

      1. re: elliora

        No they are not that bad. Celia's is in the EL Torito level of quality and style. Don't know if its part of the chain but the Celia's near me does an awesome happy hour where you get a free appetizer with your drink. If you aren't too elitist about your Mexican food it's fine. If you want it authentic, or like LA Mexican it wont fit the bill. If Americanized El Torito style food works for you, it will be fine.

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        El Torito Restaurant
        5 Monarch Bay Dr, San Leandro, CA 94577

        1. re: Ray Weiss

          We are not eating till 8pm (got to put the kids to bed!) so we miss all the happy hours. I prefer authentic, but don't expect it in Lafayette. El Torito style food I can handle, taco bell not so much. I'll probably leave it up to everyone else then if they want Mexican or to eat at Chow.

          1. re: elliora

            So I have been overruled, El Charro it is... Back to my original question then, is there anything that stands out on the menu? I don't need to be blown away but would like to feel content with what I ordered, if that makes sense.

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            El Charro
            415 Main St # 417, Woodland, CA 95695

    2. Go to Chow, Caesar salad (Mexican) and a beer. ;-)

      1 Reply
      1. re: wolfe

        Ok you sold me, Chow has wine cocktails, that will do, thanks!

      2. Ugh, was Taco Bell not taking any more reservations? j/k, sorta

        There is/was a great torta place, closer to The Roundup and Yankee Pier...

        When in Laf, do take in the new library, Wow! Cafe to open there in Lib complex, soon-ish...

        1. so wanted to update this because well taco bell may have been preferred if they served margaritas... My friend and I got to El Charro around 8pm and the place was PACKED, but we only had to wait for a few minutes for a table, the place was clearing out quickly from the families having dinner.

          Chips are brought quickly to the table with 3 dips, a red salsa in a regular size bowl, another red salsa in a very small condiment type bowl and their "famous" cheese dip in another of those small bowls. Tried first the regular salsa and it was made from canned tomatoes, really?!? The smaller salsa was too hot to eat much of, but tasted much better, although that's not saying much. The cheese dip tasted like cold butter and blue cheese, not sure how it became famous, but sadly it was the best of the bunch in small doses.

          Our waiter finally arrives and we order our food and two small margaritas at the same time. Then we wait, and wait and wait some more. Tables around us who arrived way later are getting their drinks. Our waiter is no where to be seen. We wait some more and finally find our waiter who is shocked we have not gotten our drinks, he will take care of that right away. and then we wait and wait some more. Our food arrives, still no drinks, finally a good 20 plus minutes after we place our order the drinks finally come. The waiter apologizes and has given us bigger margaritas, then he disappears again for the rest of the meal. By this time the place was not that busy so I'm not sure what the waiter was doing.

          Anyways on to the food, my friend got a super burrito, which she said she enjoyed, but the thing was not even wrapped properly. And you should see the size of the super burritos at the Mexican places i go to. Anyways I got a three item combo, two enchiladas, one beef one chicken and a taco dorado with beef. Yeah don't order the taco dorado, what was i thinking, store bought shell and all. The beef was not bad on wither the taco or the enchilada, but the chicken... It was so sweet and just did not taste good. Rice and beans were passable.

          When our waiter finally appears with the bill he didn't charge us for the drinks and only charged me for a two item plate. We left a nice tip because of that but he would have gotten even more if he had been around.
          All in all it was convenient being so close to my house, the margaritas were good, the beef edible. i don't regret going that night but would never step foot in the place again. And next time I'm taking my friend to my favorite place in Concord for some good Mexican, I'll drive!

          3 Replies
          1. re: elliora

            Thank you for taking one for the team but don't say you weren't warned.

            1. re: wolfe

              I know, I was warned! Honestly if the salsa was decent it would be fine for a couple times a year meal close to home, as long as you avoid the chicken. That salsa though....

            2. re: elliora

              What is your favorite place in Concord?