El Dorado is one of my favorites out of the many excellent under-the-radar Chula Vista Mexican restaurants that need to be getting more love than they do.
They serve a fantastic Shrimp Taco owing mainly to their sizable shrimp, sweet and clean, battered and deep-fried until crispy. Slaw and white sauce on top are applied in reasonable ratios, and the red sauce from the salsa bar is fire from heaven and must be added. The Fish Taco is the same thing, but with fish instead of shrimp. While neither is bad, the quality of El Dorado’s shrimp is a cut above the quality of their fish.
What you must really get at El Dorado, however, are the Camarónes a la Diabla, a dish consisting of taut prawns in a spicy, rich, and garlicky sauce of roasted tomatoes and chipotle peppers. In Southern California, I have yet to eat a superior version of this coastal classic than what is served at El Dorado. Rice, refried beans, and fresh avocado are generously provided to take off some of the fiery bite.
If you want to love this place as I do, you should manage your expectations appropriately: El Dorado is a low-key and quiet “mom ‘n pop” restaurant in a small strip mall, more ideal for lunch than dinner.
Taco Scores: Shrimp Taco (92), Fish Taco (80)
Jay Recommends: Camarónes a la Diabla, Shrimp Taco
Sabor Mexican Grill; 311 Palomar St, Chula Vista, CA 91911; Monday through Sunday from 10:00am-10:00pm; (619) 426-4545; www.facebook.com/eldoradomexicanfood