Walking into La Costa restaurant is quite like attending a Mexican fiesta.
Everywhere you look, there are colored banners, brightly painted wooden booths and chairs featuring artistically carved flowers, bright tiles and colorfully painted walls and flooring, and decorative lighting features.
From the receptionist who warmly welcomes you to crisply uniformed servers who are charming and efficient, you have an immediate feeling that dinner or lunch is going to be a delight.
Manuel and Elizabeth Amador recently assumed full ownership of the restaurant and will be changing the name to Fiesta Bonita Mexican Grill & Cantina in the near future, but for now, the sign still says La Costa.
The menu is huge, both in size and in the variety of choices of appetizers, enchiladas, fajitas, meats (carne), pollo (chicken), seafood (mariscos), tacos, burritos, soups, tostadas, salads, sandwiches, what they call Vegi-Mex (vegetarian dishes), and an almost unlimited list of combination plates.
We began our feast with a plate of Chicken Taquitos ($13.99). Unlike the more common finger-sized ones most often served, these were large egg roll-like fried flour tortillas, stuffed with shredded chicken and jack cheese, garnished with tomatoes, cotija cheese, and generous scoops of sour cream and housemade guacamole. The appetizer was enough for four, we discovered, so we took home half for a future lunch. They were simply delicious.
The 11 appetizers range from $8 to $17. The 60 entrees range from a modest $10.25 for a taco, enchilada, tostada or tamale combination to $36.99 for a Fajitas Combination (any three of chicken, steak, pork, fish or shrimp) accompanied by rice, guacamole, cheddar cheese, and corn or flour tortillas.
Enchiladas a la Crema ($14.50) captured the interest of my dinner guest and she was awed at the size of the platter containing two very large enchiladas, swimming in a rich cream sauce, filled with chicken, white rice and cheddar sauce. She judged them “perfect” and, while usually a small eater, cleaned the platter.
As a meat-eater I couldn’t resist the charbroiled skirt steak, especially after seeing a sizzling platter walking by the table. The Carne Asada y Mas ($19.99) was a platter the size of a Tesla, covered edge to edge with two large skirt steaks, grilled whole green onions, Mexican rice, refried beans (greaseless and quite yummy), carne asada, a chicken enchilada, and a grilled jalapeno pepper the size of a cruise missile. Wow, not a meal for a light eater.
The steak was cooked medium rare and beautifully charcoal flavored, the enchilada covered with sauce and cheese, and the rice and beans perfect when mixed on a flour tortilla. I passed on the jalapeno and left it all alone on the platter.
Bravely, and only because of our dedication to informing you dear readers, we ordered the Chocolate Enchiladas ($5.99). Sliced bananas and chocolate mousse filled two flour tortillas, which were fried and drizzled with chocolate sauce. When we were done, the plate was so clean it could have been reused for the next dessert!
By the way, for those not familiar with Mexican cuisine, about one-third of the items on the seven-page menu are pictured in full color. Get out your napkins, though. By the last page you’ll be salivating.