I have been going to The Whole Enchilada for more than 20 years and the menu changes, the interior decor is modified, and from time to time the wait staff changes, but the food overall has been excellent. For traditional Mexican food like enchiladas, tamales, and the like this restaurant is nothing special. Go for the seafood dishes, which includes the "Whole Enchilada" which is an enchilada with fresh snapper cooked over a wood fired grill, the experience is exceptional (only order with the green tomatillo sauce and not the red sauce which kills the flavor), or the enchiladas stuffed with shrimp and crab, or a wide variety of other special house creations.
Food prices are reasonable for the area. Wine prices are very high, beer prices are average. The only bar drinks I have had is a margarita which I request without ice (ice is fine for a daiquiri or a Slurpee) and they are OK.
I have yet to have great Mexican food outside of the LA area so my expectations are not high. If you get the Vera Cruz types of dishes at the Whole Enchilada you will be in for a treat. If you want traditional Mexican food then the best food and value is at El Palomar on Pacific Street in downtown Santa Cruz. The El Palomar makes the only decent chile relleno I have found outside of southern California.
The Whole Enchilada is a good place to take people who do along with those who do not like Mexican style food as the menu is quite varied. Avoid it on Saturday nights and Sundays as the bar next door has a rock band and a loud bass sound pounds its way into the dinner area of the restaurant.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.