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Apr 22, 2013 01:08 PM

Frutiland La Casa del Sabor--Arroyo Grande

I searched the board to see if this place had been mentioned before and couldn't find anything. I was visiting the area this weekend and always try to post here afterward if I find anything new.

Two of us discovered this wonderful little spot (warning: only outdoor seating) on Saturday. The owner and his wife cook everything themselves, from homemade blue corn tortillas to huaraches. We had outstanding fish tacos, and a side of onion rings that bore no resemblance to any other onion ring I've ever had. The fish in the tacos was impeccably fresh, with a light dressing, cabbage, and an outstanding pico de gallo made of mangos and peppers. The onion rings were made with wide slices of white onion dipped into a heavy, spicy batter. They were served with a dipping sauce that was faintly sweet but also had a really good zip of jalapeƱo. My dining partner got a chocolate milkshake (not made with ice cream) but I think the better bet would be any of the fruit drinks.

These folks are making their food with a whole lot of love and a commitment to quality. The flavors are creative, and the chef does not seem interested in gringo-fying the food. The chef was exceptionally friendly and truly wanted to make sure we enjoyed our lunch. And even though this isn't much more than a taco shack in appearance, they took credit cards.

We also went to Jocko's in Nipomo, and no one will be surprised (I think) to hear that it was as good as always. Miraculously, we had a 7:15 reservation and got seated at EXACTLY 7:15. I nearly thought it was a mistake. We've always waited at least an hour, even with a reservation.

803 E Grand Ave.
Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

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  1. Have eaten there once and the portion was huge. Got a torta that could have been shared easily by two hungry guys. It was tasty and fresh. The menu is very extensive, not a taco stand menu where you can get street tacos by the each, this is more of a meal-driven menu.

    The owners have expanded seating to form a little patio on the side street end of the building, but it's still too close to noisy Grand Ave to be comfortable for me. I'd rather sit in my car in the rear lot, with lots of napkins! ( surely, I'm not the only chowhound who always carries a kitchen towel in the car to serve as a 'bib'?)

    Definitely rec this place but the only dining spot is very noisy and can be breezy; chilly as well when the wind is howling off the ocean.

    1. Ate there (or rather, ate takeout from there) two nights last weekend.

      Friday night I had the fish tacos, which were mostly great: really good fish (grilled, not batter-fried), shredded cabbage, nice light dressing, mango salsa, and little shreds of bacon, which was a great touch. My only complaint is that the (blue-corn) tortillas were a little tough. (The time it took to transport dinner back to my motel might have contributed, but that was only about 10 minutes.)

      Saturday night I violated B. Kliban's admonition (never eat anything bigger than your head) and had the Mexicana torta (carne asada & chorizo). This sucker just about fills a whole styrofoam takeout container, to give you a sense of what kind of acreage we're talking here. This was steak, a split chorizo link (intact, not crumbled), avocado, jalapenoes, some kind of dressing. Overall, very good, although I found myself kind of missing a more traditional torta style (with beans, cheese, & crema).