Saturday, March 13, 2010
Tortilleria La Rancherita - Mexican in Bonita Springs
Tortilleria LaRancherita has been open for over ten years here -that's staying power! Other restaurants come and go every couple years, not mastering the triad of consistently good food and service at a reasonable price.Yesenia and chef/husband Paul Judice, co-owners of Tortilleria La Rancherita (Tortilleria) have a steady flow of customers all day long, open from 9 am to 9 pm Moday -Friday, and 8 am to 9 pm Saturday and Sunday. Paul trained at Johnson & Wales and worked at other restaurants-he has a solid culinary background.
Enter through the restaurant's door, or the other door which puts you in the convenience store
Mrs. Yesenia Judice in Convenience Store Side
part, and go in the bright orange painted restaurant, which can seat about 32 people. The overhead fan is multicolored, the back wall has coffee and some cold drinks, and there's a video game, tv, and large screen TV with Hispanic shows on at low volume. Seating is on wooden chairs at red formica tables, with a hot sauce, a habanero hot sauce, and napkins on each four top table. Order at the convenience store and see a wide assortment of cold drinks, or order from your table; there's menus on the wall and tableside. Take out is popular.
Convenience Store Side
Have a seat, and a generous portion of fresh, hot fried Mexican tortilla chips, fresh tomato and cilantro based salsa, and a delicious mild-moderate hot salsa verde comes to you. This is the real deal. You are greeted warmly and promptly-pick a table and get comfortable.
Tacos are $2 each, prepared with soft corn tortillas, onions cilantro, lime and salsa on the side. Three or four are plenty! Rice and beans are an extra $2. There's sixteen to choose from, including: barbacoa, carnitas (prk), fajita, egg wit hham, nopales (cactus), Mexican sausage, chicken, al pastor (marinated pork) ham, shrimp, vegetarian and fish, plus some specials. Guacamole is $3.50/5.99 small/large, and extra chips are $2.
Tortas (grilled Mexican sandwiches) are $5.99 each, including breaded steak, al pastor, steak, pork, ham, etc. Soups are menudo, chicken soup, shrimps soup, beef stew and pinto bean.
Platters include fresh tender hot corn tortillas made on premises, Mexican rice and beans or french fries and salad. All are priced under $10! Some popular ones are steak Mexican style-grilled thinly cut for $8, and various chicken, pork and beef sandwiches. The grilled tilapia filet and shrimp combo with tomato, onion, cilantr and lime in a seafood broth is said to be a "must have' for $9.99. The enchiladas are $8.99, flautas $8.99, and fresh hot tomales are $8.99. There's also beer, kids menu, and breakfast items. The steak tacos and the Milanesa Torta are big sellers.
I had four tacos, and was more than filled up! Each comes with two properly made corn tortillas. The bistec (steak) was tender, the al pastor's marinated seasoned pork was tasty, the lengua (beef tongue) is cooked just right, and my favorite was the fish taco! It's a large (for a taco, of course) portion of fresh tender fish, served with lettuce, tomato and a white sauce on top, unlike the cilantro and onions served on some of the other tacos.
Tacos below, clockwise from 11:00 al pastor, lengua, fish, steak
Competition? They've watched numerous competitors start and fail over the 10+ years since they started. Their tacos are as good as my other favorite taco restaurant, Taqueria San Julian on Bayshore. Is it authentic? Oh yes! About ten Mexican men were at 4 different tables when I visited at the off hour of 4 pm, and it was clear they were regulars-by how they ordered and how the server chatted with them. I was the only gringo in sight-that's my kind of authenticity.Tortilleria is about 0.2 miles north on Old 41 from the stoplight(at old 41 and Terry), in the same strip center as, and just northeast of the Sherwin Williams store, which is on the east side of Old 41. Tortilleria is actually just around the corner, facing tiny Bonita Drive, not facing Old 41.
Tortilleria La Rancherita, 26751 Old 41 Road, #3, 498-4633