I've been eating at El Ranchito since the 1960s when it was a one-room place with pink vinyl booths and a sign tacked to the wall that said (sic), "Please no profound language." I wanted to have my wedding rehearsal dinner here but certain people nixed it, saying it wasn't 'nice enough.' Fair enough back then, but now......no visit to the Modesto area is complete without a trip to El Ranchito for dinner or drinks. The grilled camarones (shrimp) are fabulous, and I get a regular machaca fix here or, when I'm in the mood, I eat one of their huge tostadas. The menu's not fancy, just good, down-home cooking in the kind of atmosphere where you expect to see (and often do) friends who are also there for a margarita or a meal.
The place is still family-owned, with the third generation now being trained as wait staff.
The two downsides: 1. Friday and Saturday nights can get hairy-busy with locals, and folks coming down from the mountains from a day of play. 2. It's NOISY!
But the food and the folk more than make up for any downside, and the price is right.
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