This week’s restaurant review is about El Caporal, an authentic Mexican restaurant located at 610 North Overland Ave, in Burley, next to Arby’s. This restaurant is one of our date night regulars, but this visit was for their lunch. We weren’t disappointed.

Ambiance: You would think that any restaurant that has to follow in the footsteps of a 1980’s Golden Corral, at least from it’s architecture and interior layout, would be at a substantial disadvantage but the owners of the El Caporal have done a very nice job of phasing out the Corral and have turned it into a quaint Mexican restaurant.

Seating: The combination of tables, booths and lounge seating offer up a good range of seating opportunities. I always feel like the booths at restaurants aren’t made for me but they aren’t. I don’t see many 6’7” patrons squeezing into booths made for normal sized people so it isn’t a ding to say they are a little tight for a guy my size. With three options you can take your pick and they are happy to accommodate you.

Noise: We had a late lunch so the restaurant wasn’t very busy, making it quiet enough to have a quiet conversation. We have been there when it is packed and it is still very manageable from a conversation point of view. They have televisions that can be seen from nearly every seat but the volume is off and the closed captioning is on so you can read the dialog should you choose to do so.

Service: Our waiter was on the ball. Our drink preferences were taken as we were sitting down so I had my Mountain Dew in my hand in less than a minute. When a restaurant isn’t really busy there are some establishments where the wait staff use those moments for their break, but not at El Caporal. Our server came around every few minutes to see if we were taken care of.

Food: I am an enchilada fan but this trip I ordered a chicken chimichanga. It was just the right size for lunch and came out lightly fried and absolutely delicious. It came with rice and beans and also had sour cream and guacamole included. The dish was delicious and at $6.99 it was a terrific value. My wife opted for a bigger lunch, ordering a chicken fajita which also came with beans and rice. At $8.99 it was twice as much food as she could eat and we ended up boxing up half of the meal.

Our lunch came to just under $20 ordering from the lunch menu. Frankly, I think you get just as much food for the reduced lunch price as you do off the dinner menu so it’s a great value. The bathrooms were really decent given the fact that they are hand me downs from Golden Corral. They are nicely tiled, clean and just a little bit tight with seating for two in the men’s side.

There is tons of parking to go along with lots of seating, so if the parking lot looks full I can guarantee they will still have a seat available. And because the service is quick, if there is a wait it is only a few minutes.

Perhaps the nicest touch on a meal at El Caporal is the sopaipilla they bring you for dessert. It comes on a big chip and has a big bite of whipping cream doused by a little spice and honey. It is heavenly and you’re never too full to eat it on your way out! No wonder it’s one of our favorite dinner destinations.

This review is a reprint of the February 19th food column

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