El Torito - Dana Point

3.7
243 Reviews
$30 and under
Mexican
The authority in great Mexican food for more than 65 years. Offering a memorable experience to make each guest feel like family.
What 243 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
3.5
ambience
3.6
value
Noise · Moderate
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L
Liz5
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Overall a great place to go. Lovely views. Everything but the Mahi Mahi was great. The fish was just not flavorful. Will definitely come back though. Service was amazing!

MB
MarthaB
1 review
Dined on January 16, 2022
Overall3food3service2ambience2

Food was ok, we had better before and that is why we drove for 2 hrs to get here. Service was slow and it was not busy. I made reservations thinking it was going to be busy.
Like last time, I was a little disappointed ☹️

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Diego
1 review
Dined on January 14, 2022
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Tasty food and excellent fast service.

AC
AllisonC
Orange County
22 reviews
Dined on January 8, 2022
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Okay, food wasn’t bad, great location and good service.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Orange County
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2022
Overall4food4service4ambience3

We combined reservations with a friend that also had an OpenTable reservation

B
Bonnie247
Los Angeles
6 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2022
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Wonderful great time, the food was amazing and the entertainment and bar action was like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

S
vipShelliesbytheseaandsnow
Salt Lake City
5 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2021
Overall3food3service4ambience2

First time dining at this location. Bacon wrapped shrimp were to die for!! Fajitas shrimp (no flavor) steak (round steak overdone) tons of onions and if you looked hard a tiny sliver of green pepper. House dressing and salad delicious. Short staffed but very friendly. Restaurant seemed very run down. Won’t be back for a while

CK
CharlotteK
Orange County
3 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

I booked the time so we could watch the sun set over the water. So beautiful.

HS
HeidiS
1 review
Dined on December 26, 2021
Overall4food4service3ambience5

Service was great until it was time to pay. We waited over 30 minutes to get the bill. Finally, my family left to walk around while I tried to pay. It still took another 15 minutes after my credit card was taken.

m
markm
Orange County
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

excellent dinner served on Christmas Day far better than the buffet on Thanksgiving at the Laguna Hills store

PD
PatriciaD
Tucson
4 reviews
Dined on December 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Christmas dinner for 12…excellent service!

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2021
Overall2food2service2ambience2

Went here for Christmas with my mother. I made a reservation and requested a booth with a view of the bay. People who walked in with no reservation before us received the last booth with a bay view. We were seated at a booth not next to a window. I noticed a group that got up by a window and asked a server if we could move over there and he said that people with reservations have priority seating. He said we couldn't because we would have a different server which I responded, I don't mind and then of course explained we did have a reservation and requested a booth with a window and bay view. Then he said it is first come first served seating. Lol, which excuse is it? Anyways, he was pretty snappy with me and said he would let the girls know in the front. No one came up to us and our food came so I walked up to the front to let them know that iur food came and we will just sit where we are now and she looked at me and had no idea what I was talking about, apparently the server never told the hosts. To top it all off I ordered the cheese enchiladas and the cheese wasn't melted inside and the food on the plate was semi cold. Not a great experience.

T
Tourist
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2021
Overall1food1service1ambience1

Went here for Christmas brunch, service was nonexistent and food wasn’t good, and very overpriced. Mask mandate not monitored. Will not be returning.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2021
Overall3food3service5ambience3

I understand that the pandemic is on and it's hard to hire staff and supplies are low for products and things like that but I can't wait for the future when things get back to normal and we can actually have a really pretty good experience. This time around was kind of me besides the service was great.

MW
MonikaW
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2021
Overall4food3service3ambience3

We had a very hard time to understand the waiter, he was not very friendly . The Buffet Service was good .

PD
PDiddy
1 review
Dined on December 22, 2021
Overall1food1service1ambience2

Slow service, food was bland (magi tacos were very dry, fajitas were not seasoned), bathrooms were not replenished and were dirty.

WG
WendyG
Orange County
1 review
Dined on December 21, 2021
Overall3food4service2ambience2

Unfortunately, the lack of workers really impacted the night.
One bartender for a busy place, had reservations but had to wait 20 plus minutes. Service was slow but they didn’t have enough workers to make it efficient. Hope things can get better so a nice place can run efficiently again.

SM
SusanM
Orange County
11 reviews
Dined on December 21, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Our waiter was outstanding. Clearly swamped, he kept us informed and did a killer job on the tableside guacamole. The kitchen was slow, - I suspect a staffing issues as the place was busy but not swamped.

The chips, guacamole and sliders (an appetizer) were excellent. The fajitas were good - and enough for three people- but the steak was a little tough (a quality issue) and the chicken a little dry (better that than undercooked.) The included sides were very good.

Pass on the sopapillas.

JW
vipJudyW
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2021
Overall2food2service2ambience2

Food mediocre. Ladies room very dirty and no paper to dry hands with.

MG
MikeG
1 review
Dined on December 20, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

It never fails to supply a great meal for the family.

LG
vipLifeisGood15
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on December 19, 2021
Overall1food1service1ambience1

This place has really gone downhill. Threadbare carpet, dirty floors, bad food, horrible margaritas, and slow service. We had low expectations going in but even those were not met. Will not be back.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Orange County
1 review
Dined on December 19, 2021
Overall1food1service1ambience1

Restaurant is dirty and they forgot some of our food. We ended up having to request some meals to go because it took so long and they forgot :-(

7
vip7beachie11
Orange County
50 reviews
Dined on December 13, 2021
Overall3food3service5ambience3

We earned $10 credit (by accumulating 5,000 points) and made an online reservation on the app which showed our credit by the time we booked. The manager said they wouldn’t accept it If this is a restaurant policy, then Open Table needs to adjust their online system to show that El Torito is not participating in OpenTable’s credit points policy.
On a separate note, the food is usually good and consistent here, fajita tacos were not up to par and the restaurant is in disrepair. In the ladies room, the automatic paper towel dispenser was hanging crooked on the wall.
The server Adam was excellent and gave us a 10% credit as a concession.

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 12, 2021
Overall1food1service1ambience1

Just a terrible experience. We came to see the lights at the harbor and made reservations for dinner. The food was not as stated in the menu. We have been here many times over the years, and sadly it will no longer be a destination for us. Our waitress brought us water after ten minutes and we ordered table side guacamole as an appetizer. It never showed up…not at any point. We had to ask for silverware to eat. Chips were brought to us about a half hour after we sat down. The fajita salad was not a fajita salad. It was cold, old chicken on top of some romaine lettuce. Just awful. We used the restroom which was filthy and the paper towel dispenser was falling off the wall and the restroom smelled horribly. The carpet throughout the restaurant is filthy as well. We will not be back.

MA
vipMarleneA
Orange County
9 reviews
Dined on December 10, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Dining on the water is always nice, especially when it's Christmastime and the boat parade is going on! Our server was so sweet and attentive, and the food was really good. The restaurant could be a bit cleaner, but I'm sure the staff was very busy serving their patrons.

CM
ChrisMT
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on December 10, 2021
Overall1food2service1ambience1

Mu family and I came to El Torito for dinner and then to enjoy the Dana Point Harbor Christmas lights. The service was terrible, the restaurant is run down - and I mean, really run down, the food was only slightly better and I think it was because we were all so hungry. This is not a restaurant to frequent. It needs a complete over-haul. It needs better management, it was tremendously understaffed. This is unfortunate because it has a prime spot on the boardwalk at Dana Point harbor. Not good at all.

l
lemonem
1 review
Dined on December 5, 2021
Overall1food1service2ambience3

I had asked the restaurant for window seating due to a special event. When we were seated, we were not even in a booth, but a table in the middle of the restaurant. We asked to be moved to an open booth by the window but were told that was for larger parties. That booth remained empty the entire time we were there. The food came out very fast, but was average tasking and a little stale. The portion was super small for $20 a plate. Definitely not worth the price. I was extremely disappointed. To make matters worse, my and partner have been sick all day today with stomach issues. So much so that we both had to call in sick from work. As someone with a strong stomach, this clearly must have been from the cooking of meat.

SW
ShelbyW
Los Angeles
8 reviews
Dined on December 3, 2021
Overall1food1service1ambience1

Old dirty restaurant that has seen better days. Our order took an hour to receive, and the quality was less then poor! The floors were totally covered with stains and the wait stations were dirty and full of junk. Will never go back, and one should look else ware for dining options in Dana point, CA.

B
Bonnyxox
Las Vegas
23 reviews
Dined on November 27, 2021
Overall2food4service3ambience1

I have gone to el Torito for over 3 decades. This restaurant in Dana point CA is in an amazing location but is a DUMP. RAGGED dirty carpet. Torn floors. Lumpy seats. I can’t even imagine what shape the kitchen is in. Not enough servers. The entire place desperately needs a make over. Cleaned up. PLEASE. It would be a gold mine if it was refreshed. I won’t be visiting there sadly…

YF
YasamanF
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on November 25, 2021
Overall1food1service1ambience1

It was very very bad experience for the thanksgiving! The buffet was so funny ! They didn’t let you touch the foods ! They served foods by themselves and the service was horrible! The food was cold the turkey was bad !

D
Dennis
Orange County
5 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2021
Overall4food5service3ambience5

Really slow to get our order then the rest went very well.

TS
TameraS
Orange County
1 review
Dined on November 21, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Nice views. Tasted as expected. Always happy with the cilantro dressing on the salad.

s
snba
Orange County
1 review
Dined on November 19, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience4

We made reservations since there was 9 of us. The service was great. Brought out chips, water right away.

DP
DebraP
Las Vegas
5 reviews
Dined on November 6, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

we had a large party of 12 which we had made previous reservations for, everything was ready for us and we were seated quickly.
Geraldo was our server and he was excellent!!

SR
vipSylviaR
Palm Springs
16 reviews
Dined on October 31, 2021
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Brunch. Unfortunately, like all restaurants, El Torito seem s to be short staffed, I like tortillas and hot food. I was perplexed why pancakes were brought to my table before champagne. Like, who ordered pancakes? It was a El Torito touch.
I’m of Mexican descent and find it absolutely annoying that I have to get food wait for the warming of tortillas, just to get back to seat with tepid food.
The menudo was tepid because the lid was left off.
The taco station had pots resting on brick. Try warmers.
The layout is such, you have wait and kitchen staff rushing by while your elderly self is trying to balance food and stairs.
Bring me tortillas in a warmer, skip the pancakes.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on October 23, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Celebrating 16 year anniversary

F
vipFamilyof5
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on October 18, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Delicious food & amazing service!

D
vipDrdave
Orange County
4 reviews
Dined on October 15, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always a good time

GG
GGFORCE
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience5

El Torito's 67th anniversary, and quite the fiesta it was. Free Taco Bar, Happy Hour everything, and an excellent Mariachi Band to boot! Great staff and smiles on everyone's faces, plus engaging and attentive management made this a really fun outing for us at the Dana Point Marina. I topped it off with a sweet tip for everyone... Another great time at El Torito!

RH
vipRandyH
San Francisco
27 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Service was very quick and very good. Our waiter checked back with us often and made several recommendations.

We had a window seat overlooking the marina so it was a very nice view.

The food came out to the table very quick and it was cooked perfectly.

Although it is a chain restaurant the food is good, and the portions were large, do I would eat here again if we were back in the area.

FAQs

You can order delivery directly from El Torito - Dana Point using the Order Online button. El Torito - Dana Point also offers delivery in partnership with Uber Eats. El Torito - Dana Point also offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (949) 496-6311.

El Torito - Dana Point is rated 3.7 stars by 243 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.