23225 Hawthorne Boulevard
Torrance, CA 90505
Located on the corner of Hawthorne Blvd and Lomita blvd along “restaurant row” is El Torito. Originally called Chubasco’s which opened in 1954. El Torito is owned by Acapulco’s which also owns El Paso Cantina. In October of 2011 El Torito filed Bankruptcy.
Oliver: My favorite Mexican restaurant growing up in Torrance was The Red Onion, next door to them was another Mexican restaurant called Chubasco’s. I always saw it as, “the place next door to the Red Onion”. Red Onion is no longer there, replaced by Casa Maria and that was finally replaced by The Loft Hawaiian. First things first, El Torito no longer serves ground beef. I’m a simple guy and two ground beef tacos, rice and beans was always a favorite of mine. Today I learned that I have a new favorite in the taco department. I ordered their winter special 3 taco plate called “street tacos”. With it comes rice and beans. There are three different types of meat tacos, Steak, carneasade and chicken. Along with it comes an awesome picante sauce that really makes these soft tacos taste spectacular. My face was sweating, my mouth was watering and these were some of the best tacos I have had.
CARL: El Torito is fairly predictable Mexican food but, from time to time, it is our duty to visit and report to the world our findings. As Oliver mentioned above, he was craving Mexican food and this El Torito is about the closest Mexican to us. Oliver and I have had lunch here many times before – most often for their all-you-can-eat lunch buffet. Sadly, the lunch buffet was discontinued long ago. What remains for the under $10 crowd are some decent lunch specials and a few regular menu items. On this trip I opted for the “Celebration Trio” ($9.99) and a bottomless Diet Pepsi ($2.89). I selected the Celebration Trio because it looked to be a bit of a departure from the standard two item combos and the tired Mexican combos served everywhere. It also looked like a pretty good amount of food – and I was a bit hungry. The Celebration Trio features grilled achiote chicken over rice, sweet corn cake and pineapple tamale, steak soft taco, and frijoles de la olla. Honestly, I have no idea what most of that means – to me it tasted like flavorful chicken on rice, a sweetened cord tamale, a tangy steak taco and a cup of beans. Call it what you want – but I call it tasty and a bargain at $9.99. The Diet Pepsi (yuk) was a bit too pricey at $2.89 but refills were prompt. Our waitress was also hostess and, as it turned out, the Manager. She told us they had an unexpectedly busy Wednesday and they were understaffed for the waiting lunch crowd – explaining our 10 minute wait for a table when the restaurant was only half full. On balance it was tasty and not too pricey. Four Pigs.