El Torito - Dana Point

3.7
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84 reviews
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$30 and under
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Mexican
Founded in 1954, El Torito is the authority in great Mexican food. A festive & hospitable restaurant rich in heritage, we focus on offering a memorable experience to make each guest feel like family, as if we are welcoming them home.

Using the freshest ingredients and boldest flavors, our menu offers a range of quintessential Mexican food, along with culinary innovations we know guests will love. We are known best for our tableside preparations, including our made-to-order guacamole and flame-grilled fajitas, which arrive sizzling to the table.

Our standard is great, and we don’t do anything without passion. Over 60 years, we’ve learned a lot about Mexican food, like how not to mess it up.
What 84 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.7based on recent ratings
3.7
Food
3.8
Service
3.6
Ambience
3.6
Value
Noise · Moderate
76% of people would recommend it to a friend
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JM
JacqueM
Orange County
4 reviews
Dined on 15 March 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Always a pleasure to dine here for brunch. The staff are so pleasant! And when you order bottomless mimosas, they really mean bottomless 😉.

DM
DebbieM
1 review
Dined on 8 March 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Eight of us had a great Brunch Celebrating my Dad’s 97th Birthday. Our Server was very friendly & efficient and the food was great.

MJ
MaxnJack
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on 7 March 2020
Overall4Food4Service4Ambience4

Service was a bit slow. They took a while to take our drink order and also to bring the drinks. I also don’t think they read the reservation notes which stated w e were celebrating a birthday. Other than that, the food is reliably good and the restaurant is otherwise a pleasant experience.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Orange County
1 review
Dined on 1 March 2020
Overall2Food2Service3Ambience1

The restaurant needs a total renovation it looks very dingy and old looking.

TC
vipTedC
New England
2 reviews
Dined on 22 February 2020
Overall3Food1Service5Ambience2

Usually a good spot but tough night.

LC
LisaC
1 review
Dined on 14 February 2020
Overall4Food5Service5Ambience5

Food was delicious & staff was quick & friendly. Felt a little pricey.

W
vipWendy
Orange County
29 reviews
Dined on 8 February 2020
Overall4Food3Service5Ambience5

I love going to el torito. The steak fajitas we ordered weren't that great this time. really disappointed with food quality:-(

JG
vipJeffG
Orange County
14 reviews
Dined on 1 February 2020
Overall2Food3Service4Ambience1

Our server Gloria was excellent! The food was mediocre and the cleanliness and run down facility was atrocious. What happened El Torito? The condition top to bottom of this restaurant shows signs that they are either closing or nobody cares. We are locals and can testify the only reason this restaurant is still in business is because of the marina view. Will never go back.

l
viplarpap
Los Angeles
20 reviews
Dined on 5 January 2020
Overall2Food2Service3Ambience1

We have eaten at other El Toritos for Sunday Brunch and this was a little disappointing. It wasn’t bad, just very average. The food was different than the other El Torito brunches. None of it was marked so we were totally sure what we were eating in some cases. The tops of some were kind of hard like it had been sitting out a while. I would not return here. The staff was very friendly, our waiter was great.

The restaurant itself is in bad shape. Very old and dated, needs a serious facelift!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on 31 December 2019
Overall2Food3Service1Ambience2

My family of 16 people decided to meet for Dinner before New Years. The staff knew we had a big party and yet were severely understaffed. Such a disappointment. The one waitress we had between 16 of us and the rest of the tables in our area truly did her best. His was not her fault. This is a managerial problem.

W
Worch
Seattle
1 review
Dined on 29 December 2019
Overall1Food1Service2Ambience1

Our table of 9 got in fairly quickly and ordered quickly yet it took 1.5 hours to get our food. Some of it was cold, most items we did not like at all. We were really disappointed since there were so many reviews.

SS
SallyS
Orange County
13 reviews
Dined on 26 December 2019
Overall2Food4Service1Ambience1

Restaurant is run down but may due to not wanting to improve since all of harbor area is planned to be redone. No one at front desk and quite the crowd was gathered before anyone came to seat people. Table service was also slow to non existent. When we finally got food it was very good however.

CB
vipCBMauibound
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on 25 December 2019
Overall1Food1Service1Ambience1

Terrible experience. Had a reservation for 7pm. We finally were seated at 7:30. At 7:45, we still had not seen a server. Also, had not received chips, water or anything even though tables around us were getting tended to.
Talked to manager after we got up and walked out and he didn’t even say sorry. Terrible terrible service

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Diego
1 review
Dined on 25 December 2019
Overall1Food1Service1Ambience1

Took 30 minutes for a waiter to come to the table. Brought one drink at a time over a course of 20 minutes, with two drinks not being what was ordered. Brought one meal out at a time over a course if 30 minutes, never got one meal ordered. Should have followed gut instinct to run when the manager brought us to our table over disgusting filthy carpets and trashy areas. DO NOT EAT HERE! Corporate needs to check this place out and try to save their name!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Orange County
1 review
Dined on 24 December 2019
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience4

Christmas Eve

S
Scott
Orange County
1 review
Dined on 23 December 2019
Overall3Food3Service2Ambience3

Beautiful location, Limited selection especially on fish, slow service upon check out. Yes, would eat there again, but would also check other options....

l
luv2dinex2
Orange County
20 reviews
Dined on 22 December 2019
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

The service staff was wonderful!! Lots of food to choose from.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Orange County
1 review
Dined on 21 December 2019
Overall1Food2Service2Ambience1

First off, the hostess walked us to a table that wasn’t even set up with a chair yet and had to split the table in front of us. Furthermore, tried to sit us at a table that had French fries and food all over the booth and floor still. I know it was busy from Christmas with the lights and everything, but we witnessed two different servers drop a tray of food or drinks. It also took quite some time for a server to even come to our table. And lastly, the chicken in the Caesar salad was chewy like it was old or bad. Overall, lots of missed opportunities all over.

CW
vipCalebW
Orange County
19 reviews
Dined on 21 December 2019
Overall4Food4Service4Ambience4

Great family restaurant. Love the fajitas and the big margaritas with the Grand Mariner bottle

S
Shine
Orange County
1 review
Dined on 13 December 2019
Overall1Food1Service1Ambience1

I live in Dana Point. Had a group of my friends with me and found myself super embarrassed choosing the place. Managers need to step it up! Especially on a night with Christmas boat parade. Chips tasted like they were fried in nasty old oil. Service/no service was horrible. No one to bring us water, take our drink order and food order. I’ve been there several times and each time I was kind enough to think about giving them restaurant another try. Wrong! This night particular is the straw that broke the came,s back! Will NEVER go there again!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Orange County
1 review
Dined on 7 December 2019
Overall4Food4Service2Ambience3

Service is always slow here! That’s why I never go

k
vipkatiekat13
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on 6 December 2019
Overall2Food3Service2Ambience2

Our Open Table reservation was NOT honored.

The 2-star rating is mainly due to the fact our Open Table reservation was not honored. Upon checking in it at the host table we were asked if we made our reservation recently on Open Table. We said yes and were told “yeah that reservation wasn’t ever ‘confirmed’ - it was just a request but we’ll put you on the 1.5 hour wait list. We’ve actually been booked for weeks.” Umm what?

Since when is an Open Table reservation a request only? All my email confirmations were the same as previous Open Table reservations. So we found a tiny table at the bar instead of the booth that was requested to celebrate my husbands birthday. Overall, disappointing experience.

The Boat Parade was going on so I understand they were much busier than usual. We are locals who eat at El Torito several times a year. While it’s not the best, we love the harbor location, the wait staff is always friendly and food is decent.

Again, the low stars is a warning to fellow Open Table users to not trust this system at this location. If you really need a reservation you need to call them I guess.

AE
AprilE
1 review
Dined on 1 December 2019
Overall3Food4Service3Ambience3

Food was good, our waiter was good, but was a bit busy. He did not have time to check on us, to fill our drinks, chips or salsa.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on 30 November 2019
Overall3Food2Service5Ambience3

Food is extremely salty and service is good

m
masimca
Orange County
8 reviews
Dined on 29 November 2019
Overall1Food1Service1Ambience4

Not a very good experience and food was worse.
Service was extremely slow. Sat for 15 minutes still no service. Had to flag down a server to get us chips and salsa. Took another 10 minutes to get drinks. Food comes and its average at best. Paid for the premium fajitas (steak, shrimp, chicken). Steak was chewy as leather, shrimp had no flavor, gave the chicken to my son since his hard shell tacos were so greasy, they fell apart. Needless to say, will never dine here again. Too many other better options in Dana Point.

CF
CarmenF
San Diego
1 review
Dined on 14 November 2019
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

All the ladies that same said the same thing. This was the best place to have our luncheon. The service was great. We loved our waitress and all the servers.

NM
NancyM
San Diego
6 reviews
Dined on 9 November 2019
Overall4Food4Service5Ambience4

Went to use my birthday gift certificate and it was terrific! The food was great and the service was even better.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on 8 September 2019
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Came for my mom 63rd birthday always a good experience great food

OT
OpenTable Diner
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on 8 September 2019
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Great food, service and location.

DR
DonR
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on 2 September 2019
Overall4Food4Service4Ambience4

Labor Day Evening — the margaritas were the special and worth the trip. The food was good as usual, but the service was a tad slow that evening. I don’t know if the kitchen was short on help or if there was a rush on takeout. The only bad thing, since the food was slow, was that we over indulged in the chips and salsa — so we left really stuffed.

y
vipyntbom
Los Angeles
130 reviews
Dined on 1 September 2019
Overall2Food2Service1Ambience2

We went on a Sunday at around 11 am. We didn't know that it was brunch only but decided to stay. It would be great if there were other options. Service was horrible. We had to clear our own table of the used plates...I picked them up myself and put them on an empty table. Our server seemed scattered...maybe overworked....but was flustered a lot. She finally saw that I had bused my own plates and she said, "There was supposed to be a bus boy...."
The food was only so-so. Things weren't hot enough and the food, in the brunch, should be labeled. My niece and I are vegetarian so didn't know what had meat in it.

AJ
vipArthurJ
San Diego
5 reviews
Dined on 31 August 2019
Overall5Food5Service4Ambience5

All was good but the window facing the water was quite dirty from the inside.

VI
vipVIP1000dines
Orange County
411 reviews
Dined on 25 August 2019
Overall3Food3Service4Ambience2

This restaurant is very dirty. Dirty torn carpet. The seats and floor around our table were dirty with food and chips. Food was okay. El Torito needs to clean and fix this restaurant. What this location has that the staff is super friendly.

C
Chad
1 review
Dined on 18 August 2019
Overall2Food2Service3Ambience2

They charge a surcharge? What is that? The Manager had to come out and tell me the reason: "since we make our food from scratch and not cans." Seriously? That's laughable. Food was sub-par; poor quality. I'd say maybe it DID come from a can? We'll never know!! Avoid this place...

OT
OpenTable Diner
Orange County
1 review
Dined on 13 August 2019
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Taco Tuesday! Seated immediately.
Fast service

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Las Vegas
7 reviews
Dined on 12 August 2019
Overall4Food3Service5Ambience3

Waitress was really kind and worked hard for being under staffed.

Location needs some improvements inside such as carpet upgrades.

Host sat us right away. Open table worked great.

DC
DwightC
1 review
Dined on 11 August 2019
Overall3Food3Service3Ambience2

El Torino @Dana Point is 50 yrs old and looks it. Needs some serious remodel refreshing.
We go there on occasion when in OC. Quality is degrading but still average fair. Another CA chain bought out and raided by investors that are closing many of their outlets. My guess is El Torito will shutter this operation in the future. The past with waiting time reservations on a weekend and evening have disappeared. The harbor restaurants all have diminished quality, branding, and service.

GD
GregD
1 review
Dined on 10 August 2019
Overall3Food4Service4Ambience1

I like everything but the restaurant was sooooooooooo DIRTY !! With So many employees everywhere things should be clean. Smelt felt and looked dirty floor to ceiling. Especially the bathrooms 🤢 everything seemed dingy well warm.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Manchester
10 reviews
Dined on 8 August 2019
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Always great Mexican food in a great atmosphere

El Torito - Dana Point
Responded on 11 August 2019

Thank you for the nice review!!

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DW
DiningWithRoses
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on 30 July 2019
Overall5Food5Service4Ambience4

Came in on Taco Tuesday. It was delicious! And great price.

El Torito - Dana Point
Responded on 3 August 2019

Thank you for your five star review, i'm glad you had a wonderful time at taco Tuesday!

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FAQs

El Torito - Dana Point does offer delivery in partnership with Postmates and Uber Eats. El Torito - Dana Point also offers takeaway which you can order by calling the restaurant at (949) 496-6311.

El Torito - Dana Point is rated 3.7 stars by 84 OpenTable diners.

You can book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size.