24312 Rockfield Blvd
Lake Forest, CA 92630
Disclosure: I received one or more of the following items for free for the purpose of a review. I was not obligated to give this restaurant a positive review and all thoughts and opinions are of my own. .
One of my favorite things about living in Orange County is the endless choices for Mexican Food. I especially love the fast casual ones because it allows me to get in and out quickly since I have a large family and a busy schedule.
Recently I dined at Cafe Rio in Lake Forest and was impressed at the concept behind this restaurant. The menu comprises traditional recipes and techniques inspired from the Rio Grande Valley regions of Northern Mexico, Texas and New Mexico, and all food is made fresh daily from scratch – the green chilies are imported from Hatch, New Mexico, and the red peppers are from Mexico.
The ordering process is run pretty efficiently. When you arrive you will see a menu at the entrance. Decide on your item/s and then get in line and tell the employees behind the glass what entree you want. They will ask you what meat and ingredients you want on it and you can customize it completely to your liking.
A really nice perk at Cafe Rio is that they offer FREE yes I said FREE Quesadillas to kids 6 years of age and younger. One of those Quesadillas will totally fill up my 2 year old (leaving more food for me since I don’t have to share)
But even better than a free Quesadilla is this beautiful sight. Crushed ice. Perky little white clusters of cold goodness. I absolutely love crushed ice at restaurants. It’s pretty rare and when I find a restaurant that serves crushed ice I never forget it.
Aside from your typical soda machine, I noticed that they also served Strawberry Lemonade,southwest Limeade, Mint Limeade and Horchata. I was impressed at the selection of beverages.
I adored the decor in this restaurant. All of the tables were bright cheerful colors mixed and matched with different colored chairs. The light fixtures were tin lamp shades with holes cut out in a design allowing the light to shine through freely.
Finally, it was time to eat. Every entree looked and smelled incredibly fresh. My one son ordered the Nachos with Chicken. You can see in the photo that these came with crispy tortilla chips topped with mexican cheeses, your choice of meat, pinto or black beans, pico de gallo, sour cream, and a huge scoops of handmade guacamole.
I ordered the chicken enchiladas with a mild sauce, pinto beans and rice. The pico de gallo sauce on top was a nice compliment and gave it a nice light flavor. They use corn tortillas are bake them in the oven.
My other son is a huge meat lover and couldn’t wait to sink his teeth into the steak tacos. He is a simple man and ordered with plain with just a side of rice. Exactly how he liked it. He said the Cilantro lime rice was delicious.
Lastly, we had the chicken salad. It looked like it came straight from the farmers market. The lettuce was a crisp bright green and paired perfectly with Cotija cheese. The seasoned , shredded chicken tasted so good and the Beans and Rice are great to add for some extra filling . You have your choice of Cilantro Lime Vinagrette dressing or Tomatillo Ranch Dressing. Both are equally good.