If an ice cold Bohemia, Organic Margarita or Hot Chocolate de La Selva with Organic Tequila sounds enticing, then you need to seriously consider tripping on down to “Olamendi’s Monarch Beach”. Better yet, forget the cocktail hour and go have a wonderful south of the border repast experiencing family recipes and dishes from the States of Jalisco and Veracruz. South Orange County is lucky to have Jorge and Maria Olamendi spoil us with tempting, spicy flavors from south of the border.
My maiden voyage to Olamendi’s had me feeling as if I had stepped back in time to old Mexico…a collage of Mexican culture which took over thirty years to collect is displayed throughout the restaurant from floor sculptures and wall photos to handmade furniture (made by Jorge himself). The only thing missing was the mariachi musicians serenading me with sultry, rich Mexican ballads.
Numerous visits to Olamendi’s have left me enchanted each and every time due to the fresh, very well prepared food overflowing with robust flavors! With a full bar, flat screen T.V. (for reviewing your favorite soccer game), fun cocktails, delicious food and pleasant service, how could one not have a nice dining experience? Olamendi’s has many signature margaritas to choose from and a favorite tipple of mine is the “Monarch Beach Margarita”. Slightly spicy, this cocktail is made with organic tequila, fresh jalapenos and fresh lime juice. Ay, caramba…es muy sabroso!! Yes folks, refreshingly delicious and not too sweet having the perfect blend of tequila and spice for my picky palate. In addition, you may also order a glass of red or white wine with the Olamendi’s private label.
I love garlic and avocado, therefore, when my “Pescado al Mojo de Ajo” arrived I was very pleased since my lightly battered fish fillet was smothered in tons of golden-crisp, sweet, caramelized garlic cloves and fresh sliced Haas avocados. I asked our lovely waitress Esmeralda to cancel the accompanying side of potato wedges that came with my dish and she replaced them with beautiful grilled ribbons of carrots and zucchini which were mounded nicely on my plate.
An old family recipe, the “Puerco en Mole Oaxaqueno”, is a heaping pile of moist pork chunks in a blend of eight different exotic chilies. My personal preference is a mole sauce that has more chocolate flavor with a hint of sweetness. At Olamendi’s the mole sauce is a little bit on the tangy side but tasty nonetheless.
A special order which is not listed on the menu is the “Enchiladas Rancheras” and you can request either cheese or chicken. The sauce for this dish is awesome and made with fresh tomatoes, red and yellow bell peppers, caramelized onions and chili peppers and is delivered steamy-hot to your table. Since this dish is made to order it takes a little longer to whip up but worth every fresh, palatable bite! If you are in the mood for a bowl of soup then you must order the “Albondigas Soup”, it is very yummy. This bowl of savory, handmade rice-meatballs comes with large chunks of potatoes, zucchinis and carrots in a hearty thick broth. Guys, the soup is only $5 for a bowl…eat up my friends!
The refreshingly, light “Olamendi’s Chef Salad” will satiate any vegetarian in town. A plate full of spring lettuce medley, thinly sliced fresh onion rings, cilantro, tomatoes, avocado and nopalitos (cooked diced cactus) is offered with your choice of Spicy Ranch Dressing or House Vinaigrette. This salad could be a great palate cleanser after a hearty Mexican feast. In addition, the "Grilled Shrimp Salad" is a shrimp lovers delight with its large portion of succulent crustaceans, tender avocado chunks and cherry tomatoes.
To satisfy a sweet tooth craving traditional “Flan” and “Raquellas” are available for your end of dining pleasure. The Raquellas is a flour tortilla which is filled with fresh strawberries or fresh pineapple then deep fried and sprinkled with sugar. WOW! Although I have yet to try this dessert, it sounds deliciously amazing…next time (followed by 30 minutes of intense cardio…yeow!). Whether you order dessert or not Olamendi’s treats you to a small plate of sliced churros and sweet, crispy tortillas chips which are drizzled with chocolate sauce and topped with a dollop of whipped cream.
I have had several other fines dishes at this restaurant and have been satisfied with all of them. *Welcome to Monarch Beach Olamendi’s and please stay a while!
Olamendi’s Monarch Beach
8 Monarch Bay Drive
Dana Point, CA 92629
Open Daily…CLOSED Tuesday
Opens at 11:30 and serves Lunch & Dinner
Great price point & tons’o’food (for great leftovers)
*Please note that there is an Olamendi’s restaurant in Laguna Beach which is owned and operated by Rosa another member of this large family. The Olamendi’s I refer to in this blog review is the Monarch Beach restaurant which is owned by Jorge and Maria.