Restaurants & Bars

California

Manuel's in Aptos

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Manuel's in Aptos

Carb Lover | Jun 2, 2006 03:21 AM

Y and I had a quick bite to eat at this enduring Mexican restaurant in Aptos (off State Park Dr. exit). According to their developing website (see link), they've been around since 1965! Very much a local's scene w/ families and groups who looked like they had been coming for generations. It was our first time yet we felt immediately welcomed by their genuinely friendly staff. Good vibe as everyone looked happy to be there.

I knew their salsa would be good since I buy the jarred version that's sold at some local markets. I've found it at Sunnyside Produce in Soquel. Tasted even better fresh from the restaurant, and their chips were crispy and light.

Menu is relatively small w/ the usual Mex-American combos...enchiladas, chile relleno, burritos, etc. They have a different special each day, and tonight it was chicken crepes...sounded a bit unusual w/ a creamy curry sauce.

We ordered a chile verde burrito, beef taco, and chicken enchilada from the a la carte side of the menu. Taco by default comes w/ a crispy shell (for those who like this style), but I requested soft tortillas instead. I also got a house margarita.

While I wouldn't say the food was life-transforming, it was really solid for what it was. The enchilada was bursting of fresh-tasting shredded chicken, although the chicken and sauce lacked adequate seasoning. The standout was the succulent and juicy beef chunks piled in the taco. Very flavorful and beefy.

For some reason, I never had a chance to taste the chile verde burrito before Y ate it all. He proclaimed it very tasty. Even though he got the half order (1 burrito instead of 2), they accidentally brought out two. When we corrected them, they said that we could just keep the extra on the house. Very easy going service. Margarita was one of the better ones I've had in the area...nicely balanced w/ a good tequila punch. All this for $18.50 pre tip.

The place reminded me of El Chino in Santa Cruz w/ a warmer atmosphere and slightly less interesting menu. We'll def. be back to sample more of the menu and kick back w/ some margaritas. Any locals have favorites here?

Link: http://www.manuelsrestaurant.com/

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