El Callejon - Encinitas
El Callejon - Encinitas

El Callejon - Encinitas

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.el-callejon.com/el_callejon/Pages/Encinitas.html#
  • Phone: 7606342793
  • Hours of Operation:

    Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:00AM - 3:00PM. Saturday - Sunday: 10:00AM - 3:00PM.

    Dinner: Monday - Thursday, Sunday: 3:00PM - 10:00PM. Friday - Saturday: 3:00PM - 11:00PM.
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Beer, Entertainment, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Smoking Area, Wine
  • Catering: We can cater your event from 25 people to thousands. We have catered the Super Bowl pre-event party twice!
  • Private Party Facilities: Our restaurant is divided in sections. We can reserve one of those sections to accommodate your needs.
  • Private Party Contact: Bernard Jourdain 7608022520
  • Entertainment: We feature 70's, 80's rock, reggae, Latin rock on Thursdays. We also have live Mariachi music Fridays and Saturdays from 6 -10.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Encinitas Blvd.
  • Public Transit: Coaster.
  • Parking: Public Lot
A word from El Callejon - Encinitas
We are a Mexican restaurant like you never seen before in the US.


We pride ourselves to prepare our dishes the old fashion Mexican way. We use truly Mexican traditional dishes and we do not offer any of the typical southwest options. Our sauces are delicious. We offer chipotle, poblano, mole. cilantro and many other options with either fish, shrimp, chicken and meat.


Our bar is also special. We have one of the largest collections of tequila. Over 1000 bottles and counting. We are like a tequila museum Our margaritas are also made the way they are supposed to be made. Freshly squeezed lime juice, triple sec and tequila. You are going to love them.


Hope to see you soon...
Continued
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerKid Friendly
  • Diners' Choice WinnerVibrant Bar Scene
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMexican
El Callejon - Encinitas reviews from OpenTable diners
20 reviews since May 26, 2014
Overall Rating3.5
  • Food3.8
    Service3.4
  • Ambiance3.5
    Noise LevelEnergetic
72% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
kid-friendly (10)great for outdoor dining (10)good for groups (9)great for lunch (8)neighborhood gem (7)vibrant bar scene (5)fit for foodies (3)special occasion (2)great for brunch (1)romantic (1)late-night find (1)hot spot (1)notable wine list (1)Show More
  • Not your ordinary Mexican place
    larry
    Dined on 9/3/2014
    Their menu was large and had a lot of different food items you don't see with other Mexican restaurants. The spicy salsa was great, and many entrees were made to share.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointed
    Merlynda
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    I have passed by this restaurant many times and it looks so promising from the outside, but that's the only positive thing I can say. One waiter took our order then came back 2 or 3 times to clarify the orders (there was only 4 people at our table). Then when he came back with the food, only 2 of us got our plates. A different waiter came out to serve a plate to our party, we it was not food we ordered. So we then had to flag down our original waiter to ask about the rest of our food. He pulled a long list of orders (from other tables?), but could not find the order he took from our table. I could almost forgive them if the restaurant was busy or the food was good, but it wasn't. It was so bland. Even the margarita was bland.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • MtbikejohnVIP
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    I like El Callejon because it feels like Mexico. Mariachis, Tequila, Mexican decor abound. Good Mexican food.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Exceptionally rude management
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    Upon arrival I shared my open table confirmation and was told they would not accept it because they are full and I should have never been given it in the first place. I asked what they would be able to do because we were confirmed and was asked in turn "what would you like me to do?" by the manager. I was confused, because what we had wanted was a table to sit and eat. Instead, he continued to yell at me and tell me there was nothing he could do to help because they were full. I then asked how long he thought it would be and he continued to say "I don't know, there is nothing I can do for you" and continued to hover and yell at me in front of a full lobby of other customers. Out of embarrassment, my friends and I left.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Not up to its usual standards
    Brie
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    We go to El Callejon all the time and get great service. This was definitely an off night for them. My husband and I usually sit at the bar, but we were a party of eight. Some orders were wrong and some were incomplete. We had to get up and order our own drinks once or twice. We know our server and he's great. The problem is that the restaurant was understaffed.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • mauinokaoi
    Dined on 7/20/2014
    This used to be one of our favorite places to eat. It's disappointing to see it going downhill lately. Overcooked fish (two different dinners), flavors have become more "Americanized" (probably to appease the tourists), and poor service. Our waitress was virtually non-existant, and we had to ask another waiter servicing other tables to get water, another round of drinks, and our check.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Food arrived at room temp
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    Started fine with the chips and salsa, but went downhill fast from there. Rarely saw our waiter. Food arrived at table cold. After at least 25 minute wait. Forgot the quesadilla for one of our kids. Ran back to get it and brought it out with the cheese even fully melted in center. Horrible experience. We had eaten there in the past and thought it was average, but a good place to go with 2 families and four kids, but never again.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Best margs in town
    LJSDVIP
    Dined on 7/13/2014
    and great food too. This is my favorite Mexican place in San Diego. Higher end food. GREAT seafood. Lots of options and a good kids menu too.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Always amazing...
    Cheryl
    Dined on 6/13/2014
    Never disappoints! Love the shareable Parelladas... pork, steak, chicken on a hot pan... make your own tacos! Yum!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Interesting Mexican food
    Sammmom
    Dined on 6/1/2014
    There is the typical tourist fare at El Callejon. You can find wonderful moles to traditional two item conmo. Try the Enchilada Benito with a chipotle cream sauce. YUUUUUM.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 10 ratings-only reviews submitted since May 26, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.1
    • Food4.3
    • Ambiance3.8
    • Service4.1
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The following 57 reviews are from the El Callejon - Encinitas reviews archive.
  • The 'Pretty Restaurant'
    Sarre
    Dined on 5/20/2014
    We've been coming here for about 20 years. The food is always excellent. With over 90 items to choose from, there is something for everyone. My favorites are the seafood dishes. Excellent flavor, great presentation, plenty of food and simply good. If you enjoy margaritas, EL Callejon has some of the best. The bar has a huge selection of tequilas at reasonable prices. As for that 'Pretty Restaurant' quote, that is what our daughter used to call the place when she was just 5. She is right.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good solid Mexican food
    Bob1VIP
    Dined on 5/15/2014
    Good food, average service, basic Mexican setting, price is right.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Margs to die for
    ctmille1
    Dined on 5/10/2014
    Saturday night before Mother's Day, the place was packed, loud, but very festive, roaming Mariachi band was great. Margaritas were awesome, and the food was very good. Service was decent, food came quickly. Overall, a bit expensive for Mexican, but you're paying for the authentic old-Mexico ambiance and the great location in Encinitas.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Better Bar Than Restaurant
    NativeCalifornian
    Dined on 5/3/2014
    San Diego has great Mexican dining, North County Coastal has some really good, authentic Mexican dining. Unfortunately the food at El Callejon is really mediocre, especially for the price. My go to item to gage how much I like a Mexican restaurant is the chile relleno, I ordered a plate with rice and beans. The meal tasted like a frozen dinner, bland and spongy. The other guests at my table felt the same about their meals, we left a good 2/3s of our meals' on our plates. The atmosphere is lively, the bar looked fun if you were meeting friends for drinks but there was a bit of a stink in the restaurant that further dampened our experience.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Birthday Group
    foodlover
    Dined on 3/15/2014
    I had a reservation for 14 people. They were very accommodating for our large group. We loved the mariachi band!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always delivers
    LJSDVIP
    Dined on 3/2/2014
    Great food - unique Mexican (they still have standards but their non-standard are amazing). Best margaritas in town.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, vibrant bar scene, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Found on Open Table
    socalgal
    Dined on 1/26/2014
    We went on a Sunday night and had a wonderful time with attentive but not intrusive service. We took our time eating and visiting with family and never felt rushed. Food was very good and the carnitas outstanding. Margaritas a bit strong. The feel is relaxed and decor is rustic Mexican.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Yum
    NomnomVIP
    Dined on 1/21/2014
    The jalapeño mango margarita and flautas were OUT OF THIS WORLD!!!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • The food was good, but they
    tommy
    Dined on 12/30/2013
    The food was good, but they ran out of salsa. What Mexican restaurant runs out of salsa?
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Mexican food; and tasty
    OpenTable Diner Since 2002VIP
    Dined on 12/1/2013
    Great Mexican food; and tasty STRONG margaritas! Very fast, attentive service. Fun/easy place to go with kids after day at LEGOLAND.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • good food, terrible service
    jlauVIP
    Dined on 11/26/2013
    We frequent El Callejon often and food is pretty consistent, but they can't seem to get the service right. I appreciate the first "hello", but then disappears for over 20 minutes and we don't even have menus......drinks? Anyone? I had to get up and hunt someone down for service. Unfortunately, this seems to happen more often with large groups and looking around the restaurant, there are usually multiple large groups. Hopefully, they'll be able to figure out this situation.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Terrific Margaritas!
    torimac
    Dined on 11/17/2013
    We are from the LA area on vacation down in Carlsbad. This restaurant was recommended by a local, and told us that this is where her chef friends all go for Mexican. Great recommendation! First, the margaritas were fantastic. They were the real deal! They actually had more liquor than mix in them. In fact, we don't think they even used a mix. Now the food. There were 5 of us and we all had something different and everyone was really happy. The fish of your choice with the mango sauce was delicious. The ambiance is more funky than fancy....but it works.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Understaffed lunch took 1-1/2 hours
    8outagainVIP
    Dined on 11/5/2013
    El Callejon was understaffed for lunch with only one waiter and a food runner. Instead of closing sections to fit the wait staffing, they left all tables in this sizable restaurant open. That made the lack of staff worse with too much floor space to service and to much time wasted walking to various sections. When patrons growing concerned asked if their food would soon be ready the waiter instead went into a long litany of how many tables he had and that there was no help. He repeated this to all every time he was asked. People were getting visibly upset since most patrons cannot linger at lunch time. El Callejon's food is pretty good Mexican but not so great that a boring hour and a half wait is worth it!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Just as good so many years later
    Emily
    Dined on 10/20/2013
    We went here with our party of 10 on a Sunday around noon. I haven't been in about 7 years. The food was fantastic and the service was great. Very fun! We also had two little kids with us and or waiter put the kids order in early which was so nice. We need to not wait 7 years to go again.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • The best margaritas in town
    Cindy
    Dined on 10/11/2013
    We have been going to El Calejon for 10 years. It stays our favorite. Great service great food and the best margaritas in town.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, vibrant bar scene, great for brunch, kid-friendly, romantic, neighborhood gem, hot spot, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • They were very accommodating.
    KattVIP
    Dined on 9/28/2013
    They were very accommodating. Excellent service, very patient with me and my group that had doubled in size. Good was terrific! It was a perfect choice for my birthday dinner!
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • We recently went for dinner
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 9/14/2013
    We recently went for dinner and were extremely disappointed. Most of our appetizers never showed up, and our entrees were lukewarm at best when they did show up. The appetizer that we did get, a Caesar salad, was unfortunately one of the worst I've ever had. One of our entrees was also equally inedible. We won't be going back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Outstanding Mexican Food
    LuvRajas
    Dined on 9/7/2013
    From the chips and salsa, to the drinks, to the main course, everything is perfection! You know it is a good restaurant when the chili rellenos are great. I come especially for the rajas. I have never seen them any where else. The service is always good, always an abundance of waiters keeping a watchful eye on all tables to provide excellent service. A nice casual atmosphere. I have been coming here for 15 years and have never had a bad meal or bad experience. I drive down from Dana Point and it is worth the drive!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good second choice
    Tito
    Dined on 8/10/2013
    I couldn't get reservations at Q'ero in Encinitas, so I tried this place. I was pleased. It's above-average Mexican. Good tortilla chips, tasty salsa. I had Camarones Mexicana, which was very good. My wife had shrimp with garlic, which was also good. The waiter was good and the bill was reasonable. Overall better than I expected. I would go back if I were in Encinitas.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • El Callejon Still Tops
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004VIP
    Dined on 8/7/2013
    With a Mexico/Encinitas ambience, long-time El Callejon continues to serve the best drinks - especially tequila, margaritas, etc. - and the best Mexican food. Bernard, the gracious host/owner is always there and makes your visit feel like you're visiting family. And by the way, El Callejon has been serving chipotle-based dishes for years and they are definitely among, if not the best. This is a true neighborhood gem!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, vibrant bar scene, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not a burrito joint!
    raneyVIP
    Dined on 8/3/2013
    El Callejon has been my family's favorite restaurant for many years. They continue to become more popular, but have maintained the same very high quality of food. My favorite dishes are the Halibut Vera Cruz (grilled Halibut with sauteed onions, tomatoes, olives and capers) and the Puntas Oscar (chicken breast pieces with a rich chipotle sauce and cheese). They have the best tamales in the area (Oaxacan style, wrapped in banana leaves), and their Carnitas is not only delicious but served with a side of rajas. The chips are served with Pico de Gallo, but don't forget to ask for their spicy red sauce it you like it hot.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Group lunch
    Colasmc
    Dined on 8/1/2013
    Made a reservation the night before for a large group lunch. Arrived and the restaurant didn't have our reservation, but worked to seat us quickly. Food was great, waiter tried his best, was a little overwhelmed I believe by the large group.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • El Callejon
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 7/18/2013
    They have a unique and fabulous menu. The service is great, the staff moves fast!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • El Callejon is the BEST Mexican
    PoshanVIP
    Dined on 6/28/2013
    El Callejon is the BEST Mexican restaurant in San Diego County. Everyone should go!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, hot spot, great for lunch, special occasion, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • surprised so good
    pnweater
    Dined on 6/26/2013
    Excellent service. Quick with the drink.....which our choice of drink could be considered dangerous. The food was better than expected, and there was a high expectation goung in. I'm not going to say or suggest what we ordered yry it all ...... what we oreded was excellent! !!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great seafood dishes
    Mexfoodie
    Dined on 6/26/2013
    My favorite item is the fresh fish with a Mexican flair, lots of different sauces to choose from to customize for your taste. Portions are generous. Unfortunately, the service is not friendly and at times seems disorganized. Although the guacamole is good, the chips are not, but good margarita's. Festive outdoor atmosphere, perfect for summer. Look for discount coupons in the local magazines. Fun to work off dinner with a walk to Moonlight Beach after eating. I recommend this restaurant with the caveat, don't expect friendly personalized service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Menu (and Non-Menu) Favorites!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIP
    Dined on 5/31/2013
    El Callejon has great sauces. Pick the meat you want, then decide what sauce you'd like (of course not all sauces are a good match for all meats). We LOVE their sauces - creamy chipotle, guajillo chile, mole, cilantro, to name a few. Also, if you like a little extra spice, ask them for a side of their habanero sauce (and use sparingly!) Some dishes we love: carnitas chipotle (pork with chipotle sauce), camarones al mojo de ajo (garlic shrimp), rajas (pasilla chiles with cream sauce), cochinita pibil (beef with mushroom sauce), tacos al pastor (barbecued pork tacos). We also have "off the menu" favorites: osso buco, crepas de langosta (lobster crepes), meat parillada platter modified with "puntas Oscar" chicken and "crispy carnitas"
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • LOVE THIS PLACE! A+ ALWAYS!
    LNANS
    Dined on 5/18/2013
    Great service! Our server was attentive + helpful. Came here to celebrate graduation and couldn't be happier. Excellent margaritas! Not made with mix like Las Olas or others in the area. Homemade chips, salsa, & guac = superb. Great atmosphere. El Callejon is definitely recommended!!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for brunch, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, hot spot, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Family Owned Resturant
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 5/11/2013
    If you are looking for a quite Mexican Resturant for a romantic evening, El Callejon is not the right choice. However of you are in the mood for excellent food, a live group of Mexican musicians to serenade you and the high energy of family and friends having a good time talking and laughing this is a good choice. The food is really good and a a good value. Our server was helpful, friendly and even made a fresh pot of coffee when requested. The specials were interesting and we had a good time.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • one of the best tequila selections!
    Malibumax
    Dined on 3/31/2013
    one of the best tequila selections! good fresh mex, lots of home cooking going on, fresh fish,shell his, good meats, great guac
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic