Resturant Review: El Naranjo

Sessen Stephanos , Lifestyles and Entertainment Editor

Sitting in the middle of Rainey Street, El Naranjo is a beautiful and vibrant restaurant, with a unique menu and a prime location to have a nice brunch or dinner.

The first thing that surprised me the most about El Naranjo was the location. I have driven past Rainey street countless times but I was under the impression that most of the streets’ businesses were bars or pubs that were age 21+ only. However, after walking around Rainey street on Saturday night with my family I was surprised to see the number of restaurants that were open for all ages.

Rainey street is a street with alot of character. Positioned between Lady Bird Lake and Interstate 35, Rainey Street is exploding with character. Many of the businesses are located in former bungalows that have been renovated into a bars, restaurants or other small businesses.

El Naranjo has a beautiful outdoor patio in both the front and the backyard. Indoor seating is fairly limited, it seemed like many of the people who were sitting indoors had set up a reservation. However, we chose to sit outside and we were seated immediately.

El Naranjo’s menu was unlike anything I had ever experienced. The restaurant is specifically geared towards traditional mexican cuisine and I was excited to try dishes that I had never been exposed to before.

I had a vegetarian Chillenos Rellenos which is a  poblano chilli stuffed with spinach, goat cheese, pine nuts, and surrounded in a cream based tomato sauce. The food was beautifully arranged and I thought my dish was absolutely amazing. The portions were reasonably sized, not enough food to have leftovers but enough to be leave the meal full and satisfied.

The service was excellent, and the waiter was really good about answering any questions that we had over the menu. The executive chef walked around and checked in with all of the customers on how the food was. I found out that the chef is from Oaxica City, Mexico and uses only locally sourced ingredients to produce refined traditional Mexican food.

With prices on the higher end, Naranjo is more of a special occasion dining venue, rather than a casual place to grab a meal. It really made me appreciate Mexican cuisine, I appreciated trying authentic mexican cuisine and being able to change my preconceived idea what Mexican food is.