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Mexi-Cali Grill in Monterey report (thumbs down)

susancinsf | Jan 22, 200610:05 PM

I was *really* hoping this place, located on Lighthouse in Monterey, a block uphill above the San Carlos beach/breakwater parking lot, would be good or even decent, since there are a dearth of good, cheap places close to the Breakwater for a filling lunch after diving. In between dives, one doesn't want to give up one's parking space to drive over to some of the good places further afield, so something walking distance from the beach would be a real bonus...and sure, the tri-tip sandwiches at the Breakwater Deli are good, but the service is downright surly; Massaros and Santos is too upscale when one is still wet and grungy from swimming in kelp; and London Bridge Pub is a bit of a walk,...So anyway, hubby and I decided to try Mexi-Cali Grill Saturday afternoon, hoping we could add it to the limited rotation.

Alas, it was not to be. First off, it isn't by any means cheap! To my surprise, there are no tacos at all (from the outside, the place has the look of a taqueria), just burritos and Mexican standards, and most dishes run between 10 and 14 dollars. There are burritos, but they are eight dollars or more each, depending on the filling! Lunch and dinner prices are the same. No menu was posted in the window that I saw: if one had been I probably wouldn't have entered.

But we did enter, sat down, were brought menus..After getting over the sticker shock we decided to split an order of carnitas: at $12.95 it came with blah rice, three commercial tortillas, good stewed black beans (by far the best item on the plate!), two teaspoons of pico de Gallo that tasted only of lime, and about a tablespoon of guacamole. The carnitas themselves were a medium size portion, and bland and dry. Not much taste at all. A small bowl of salsa and mediocre chips rounded out the meal.

We had to ask for an extra plate to split the carnitas, as well as for a spoon to dish up the salsa. We were never offered water. Service was reasonably quick.

Lunch for two, with an ice tea and diet coke and tip was $20, and we didn't have that much to eat, nor anything really tasty...So, despite the great location (if one hangs out at San Carlos Beach as I have been known to do) I won't be back...

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