El Torito - La Mesa

4.3
97 Reviews
$30 and under
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 97 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.3
service
4.0
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
87% of people would recommend it to a friend
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rosieme
San Diego
9 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Great menu choices for food & beverages, waitstaff, Adrian, very cordial & helpful. Manageable prices, good service and good free parking warrant return to La Mesa
El Torito's.

DA
DeboraA
San Diego
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A very nice afternoon, our food was terrific and server very accommodating. The only thing would be the music was so loud my friend and o had to raise our voices to hear each other.

PC
PabloC
San Diego
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was excellent we had a great time!!! Service was great

El Torito - La Mesa
Responded 4 days ago

We cannot thank you enough for the kind words about our restaurant. Your review means a lot to us and lets us know we are on the right track! – Xperience Restaurant Group

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OT
OpenTable Diner
San Diego
1 review
Dined on May 9, 2021
Overall1food2service1ambience1

The restaurant cancelled my reservation I waited over 30 minutes after I thought I had a reservation waited for the food just horrible

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Diego
3 reviews
Dined on May 9, 2021
Overall3food2service5ambience3

We were seated right away even though it was Mother’s Day. It was very noisy, as expected due to the holiday. Had to ask a couple times for ample salsa. Food was just OK.

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Diego
1 review
Dined on May 9, 2021
Overall3food4service5ambience2

Extremely crowded for Sunday brunch with COVID modifications. People couldn’t serve themselves. I think this slowed things down a bit. I would have had a more pleasant experience if they limited the number of patrons in the restaurant. Each food station had a line to wait to get food. Food tasted good and our waiter was very friendly and attentive. Just the lines and noise level was not to my liking.

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Diego
1 review
Dined on May 9, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Brought my family here for Mother’s Day and she loved it! The food was delicious and the staff was so friendly! This place made us feel very welcomed, even with how packed it was. I would just suggest to make a reservation when the holidays come around because it can get full very quick.

El Torito - La Mesa
Responded 4 days ago

Thanks for leaving us such a wonderful review. We are glad that you and family loved our services. Our staff will be pleased to learn of your high praise. They work very diligently, and it will provide them with great encouragement to keep doing what they are doing. – Xperience Restaurant Group

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P
Partyofsix
San Diego
3 reviews
Dined on May 8, 2021
Overall3food3service4ambience2

Smelled like old oil used to make tortilla chips as soon as you walked in the door. Very noisy. Service/Waiter great. Probably won't go back.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on May 5, 2021
Overall2food4service1ambience3

The service was really bad. They took forever to even take our drink order which they messed up twice. Then they also messed up my food order.

W
Walter
San Diego
1 review
Dined on May 5, 2021
Overall3food2service2ambience3

Cinco de Mayo tacos, tortillas kept breaking apart. My reservation was @ 0700pm and had to wait 30mins for a table. Other than those two things everything else was fine.

S
Shona
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on May 1, 2021
Overall3food4service2ambience2

Although I did enjoy the food and felt the prices were fair, the service was lacking IMO. The server seemed rushed and was not very personable. It also seemed like he was spending more time and was friendlier at other tables. We did have our two young children with us that night, so maybe we were pre-judged based on that.

I might give them another chance but I would prob go on a different night (this was a Sat)

AG
AbelG
San Diego
1 review
Dined on May 1, 2021
Overall2food3service3ambience3

I use to go to the bonita location for many years, a few weeks after they close bonita location, we tryout this one La Mesa location. But the food services it wasn't the same, so we stop going there for about 3 years plus, then this Sunday may 01 /21 we decided to go and give an other tryout. But And again Food wise just not the same. Service was okay. And the question that I ask myself. I would tryout again I don't know. If the Quality of Chenge maybe I give an other try... thank you. .!!!!

CP
CiaraP
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our waiter was EVERYTHING and ok the food was bomb! It’s so fresh and when you reserve a table there’s no wait!

G
vipGary
San Diego
8 reviews
Dined on April 25, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience3

Very good food, but the waiting line for access to food was a little long

JS
JaniceS
San Diego
1 review
Dined on April 25, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Our server, Alajandro, was outstanding. He is a very hard worker.

CC
ChristineC
San Diego
5 reviews
Dined on April 23, 2021
Overall4food5service5ambience4

The food was great, our waiter was excellent, the only problem was the host. When i arrived i gave him my name and reservation time and told him that the two people i was meeting should already be there. He said “no” without really looking and seated me. I sat there for about 5-10 while they brought me water and chips and i finally asked a server if my dining partners were anywhere else in the restaurant and i described them to her. Yes, she said, they are here and i will take you to them. Really annoying of the guy at the entrance to not even care to look. I would recommend this place with the caveat to be careful if you are meeting someone there.

CD
vipChristopherD
San Diego
6 reviews
Dined on April 20, 2021
Overall2food2service2ambience2

Let's hope when Covid-19 is over El Torito can gain back it's previous standing.
As it stands now....it should've stayed closed. Service, I felt like the server was doing me a favor and didn't want to me to order out of sequence. The food was alright but not particularly memorable. We were going to order more Tequila but again I felt like I was putting the server out. They may have been short handed and it was later in the afternoon on a slow day.

LR
LoreleiR
San Diego
1 review
Dined on April 17, 2021
Overall3food5service5ambience3

El Torito's has excellent food but no atmosphere to accompany the delicious food or the hefty price you pay for that food. A little investment in updating the tables, decorations, and especially the carpet would make El Torito's a fine dining experience.

d
dragonfly
San Diego
1 review
Dined on April 11, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

the food was delicious, the service was outstanding

SL
SocorroL
San Diego
1 review
Dined on April 10, 2021
Overall2food2service2ambience2

We did not think the food was worth the money, presentation was not so good, omelette was small. Waiter did not bring condiments, pepper, ketchup, hot sauce.

When we tried to use our coupon he said it was not pertaining to our meal.
We presented a different one but realized our first one was the correct one, but he did not apologize for his error.

PM
PatriciaM
San Diego
1 review
Dined on April 4, 2021
Overall3food4service2ambience2

Just disorganized at check in ,too long of waits to get food from the buffet.

JM
JulioM
San Diego
1 review
Dined on April 4, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience4

I enjoyed how easy it was to make my reservation through the app and loved the food and service!

GA
GinaA
San Diego
1 review
Dined on April 4, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Nice, casual, friendly, and the food is always good.

T
Tank
San Diego
1 review
Dined on April 4, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Waiters are the BEST!!!
Food is great.
I love this place 💕

P
Paty
San Diego
1 review
Dined on March 28, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Love El Torito, it has been a Family favorite for many years when we would visit in Arizona. Now it is a must every time we visit California.

LD
LindaD
San Diego
13 reviews
Dined on March 21, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

We dined indoors and were seated in a booth too close to the open front door, so it was cold. The restaurant realized this and had a heater, but it wasn't helping, so the waiter moved it in front of us. He also gave us excellent service. The ladies in the next booth, especially one lady, talked so loudly that it was hard for us to communicate. Perhaps a different seating location would have made the experience better. The flaming fajitas platter was very good! More beans needed, though. Good margaritas.

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Diego
1 review
Dined on March 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food came quickly. Service was great. The food was a little on the clicker side but was still delicious.

k
vipkak6
San Diego
110 reviews
Dined on March 20, 2021
Overall3food5service3ambience2

To start off with, we had reservations for 6:45 and arrived about 6:35. There was no line, but we were told we have to rage until 645 to be seated outside. And was about 6:50 before we finally got a seat. Then we were given a waiter who was having an off night. Our soup and salad were not delivered before the meal as we had requested. The salad and soup are both wrong. But then we were assigned a new waiter named Andre who was super. The food was good. Having a heater outside would have been a nice touch as it was chilly. I felt like we were penalized for wanting to sit outdoors. (We are still not comfortable dining indoors due to COVID). Even the waiter initially was not told we were sitting out there so it was a while before we received drinks, chips, etc.We had called ahead to verify that there were doing outdoor seating and so since it was offered it seemed reasonable that we should be treated just as any other customer. Andre did save the day as did our busser with making sure our drinks were refilled and food to our liking.

AM
AmyM
San Diego
7 reviews
Dined on March 17, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Our server Andres was fantastic. The food and Margaritas were perfect. We will be going back soon.

E
Eastcountycrew
Richmond
1 review
Dined on March 16, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience3

El Torito in La Mesa was at their change of shift when we arrived for our reservation. We didn't have to wait very long and were seated as far away from the DJ (per our 84 year old father's request) as we could be seated.

Our server, Rachel, was AMAZING!! She was attentive, energetic, and never allowed our glasses to get to the empty point. The food was hot and delicious, and the safety protocols through.

Overall....FANTASTIC dinner with Rachel as our server!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Phoenix
1 review
Dined on March 14, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Absolutely the best El Torito I have visited in California. Definitely worth the drive and the customer service was on point!

BC
BradleyC
San Diego
2 reviews
Dined on March 12, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great place. Fajitas were excellent. Andre our server was attentive and outstanding.

MN
vipMsNessa
Central Coast
36 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Food was good, service by Thresa was outstanding and the music was great just a little loud but great overall

BE
BrianE
San Diego
2 reviews
Dined on March 7, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Menudo is great here and Carlos the bartender/server is awesome!

LT
LoveToEat
1 review
Dined on February 21, 2021
Overall3food3service3ambience1

We sat inside. Unfortunately long wait at buffet line. The restaurant can use more cleaning. Waitress was attentive. Food was fresh and tasty. Nice authentic Mexican place. Good value for $29 Sunday brunch.

XX
vipXXX123
San Diego
6 reviews
Dined on February 21, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Asked to be seated far from others but close enough to the buffet. We were accommodated with that request and it was also nice and quiet. Service from the bartender was excellent! Food was really good as well.

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Diego
2 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2021
Overall1food1service1ambience1

Okay so we all know that COVID restrictions are impacting businesses, and most businesses have learned to adjust and have a good system in place. Valentines day is a very challenging day for restaurants and for couples that want to celebrate this special day. We used open table to check availability for Sunday evening for a table for 2. El Torito in La Mesa showed availability starting at 6:30 PM and every 15 minutes to half hour after that. We made a reservation using the app for a table for two at 7:30 PM. (See attached photo). We showed up 10 minutes before our reservation and went inside to check in with the hostess. She pulled up our reservation on her iPad and said I see you here but we have overbooked ourselves and have 11 people waiting in front of you and the wait is over an hour. I asked why didn’t someone call us text us email us in advance if they knew there was a problem. She said she has no way of doing that I know it’s not directly her fault but if there’s connectivity between the open a table app and the El Torito scheduling software that she was using on her device why wouldn’t one company or the other and make sure to provide some form of two way communication between them so the restaurant can avoid issues by communicating with the customer. She said there is nothing she could do we left and went to our car in the parking lot and got back on the web. We found the Brigantine which was one exit away showed availability. We called them and the hostess there said come on over we can have you seated in 10 minutes. We drove right there and checked in with the hostess. She directed us to go get ourselves a drink at the bar which we did and by the time we got back to her they took us directly to our table. It was a wonderful Valentines evening at the Brig in La Mesa. Not the Mexican food we originally had in mind and the price difference between the two restaurants is significant but it doesn’t matter to us. the Brig stepped up when El Torito failed.

C
Ceci
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2021
Overall1food2service1ambience2

Horrible! Never have I ever experienced the worst service ever. Started from the greeter. She honestly did not know how to do her job and was soo disorganized. I asked her questions and she just continued to either not know the answer or lie. Server thought we were content with our chips and salsa and took forever to greet us and attend to our table. I asked are you not honoring the reservations and again the greeter said well... uugh coming out of quarantine to go dine in at El Torrito and be treated like that no thank you!! What a joke. They need to step up their game because people want to finally get out and dine out.

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Diego
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Gil was the best waiter EVER! He was absolutely entertaining and earned his tip. They are cautious about COVID guidelines and things are handled well.

GR
GloriaR
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My reservation was easy, got our table fast and efficiently. Our waiter was Gilbert, he's fast professional and also fun. He gives you that comfort, like you are home with family. Service was great on your buffet areas. Pleasant cooks/servers. Overall, we will be back soon. Thank you

FAQs

El Torito - La Mesa does offer delivery in partnership with Postmates and Uber Eats. El Torito - La Mesa also offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (619) 698-7404.

El Torito - La Mesa is rated 4.3 stars by 97 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.