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“Highway Robbery” 1 of 5 stars
Review of El Paisano Restaurant

El Paisano Restaurant
442 Smokey Bear Blvd Hwy 380, Capitan, NM 88316
(505) 354-2206
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Ranked #3 of 7 Restaurants in Capitan
Cuisines: Mexican
Restaurant details
Roswell, New Mexico
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Highway Robbery”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2014

The exterior of the building is a coy plan. It is the first reasonable looking place one sees for a while, so it lures the unwary who arrive at Capitan feeling peckish. The interior seemed nice until the ice tea arrived. They committed the great travesty of serving powered mix and even put in crushed ice so there could be no mistaking the cloudy murk. Then we got our order and things went from bad to worse. The silverware was dirty. The "nachos" was a handful of chips with a small toss of shredded cheese backed into them. The enchiladas were basically really spicy taco soup, with raw corn tortillas and more lettuce than meat. The portions were so small that even though it was awful, we felt annoyed. The bill was the final blow: 34.50.

Where it got even worse was finding out there was a festival going on in Lincoln, with food trucks and everything.

Never eat at the El Paisan. It's a trap.

  • Visited August 2014
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
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19 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    11
    2
    1
    0
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Oceanside
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Day trip to Capitan, NM”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2014

We were on a day trip from Las Cruces to Capitan and stopped for lunch at this restaurant in Capitan. We were warmly greeted and seated. The decor was southwestern and rustic. We loved the wooden tables and chairs trimmed in cactus wood. The menu is on a board and is plentiful all made fresh daily. We ordered the Green Chili stew, homemade and delicious with home made tortillas. Chips and salsa came complimentary too. For desert we had a brownie with ice cream also fresh made. Don't miss this place when traveling through Capitan, worth the drive from Las Cruces or Albuquerque.

  • Visited June 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Excellent home made New Mexican food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2013

We were just passing through New Mexico when we stopped here. We invited the owner/cook/waitress to sit down and have lunch with us. Her cooking and company were both excellent. Her home made sauce was wonderful. She also has items for sale in her restaurant like books, ceramics and paintings.

  • Visited November 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Antonio, Texas
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Surprise Surprise”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2013

I've been there before, but this time I paid close attention. There wasn't a large selection to choose from but the selections I made over a course of 3 days was quite a surprise. Each entrée had a splash of color which made the meal very appetizing. The taste coupled with the arrangement of color was exemplary. Each meal made me want for more.......I will go back and have another fine eating experience at this restaurant.
BA

  • Visited July 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ruidoso, New Mexico
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“One in Forty!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2013

Let me explain the title: about one in forty restaurants I visit around the world does something, IS something that makes me feel as if I've come home. It's an odd cocktail of service, atmosphere, timing, food.

Today, El Paisano became a "one in forty" for me. Owner Esther Otero's son and his wife were pruning bushes outside, they greeted us as we entered. Esther met us at the door and gave us the choice of any table we desired.

While the bulk of Ruidoso-area restaurants this week are deluged with flies, I noticed Esther prowling the small and spotless eatery, chasing down a lone survivor (eventually, I happily grabbed a nearby swatter and completed her mission).

I glimpsed the kitchen -- again, spotless and tidy -- and settled into a glass of iced tea, fresh-brewed, and chips that conjured up memories of patio dining in Leon or Monterrey, thick and savory. The biggest treat: Esther's homemade fresh salsa, which she admits is never exactly alike two times in a row. "Did you add some celery?" I asked. "Just a little, for the taste." Amazing, what just a touch of celery can do to garden-fresh salsa. I'd have drunk the stuff with a straw, if my wife would've allowed it.

I opted for the beef enchiladas on Esther's assurance that they were filling -- she was right -- and my wife tucked into a generous bowl of green chili stew. Both went beyond what we'd have expected from a decent restaurant: it was as if we were eating something made by relatives for their own family. Fresh shredded lettuce and ripe tomato slices came with mine, as well as wonderful beans whose flavor was subtle and void of harsh restaurant-style seasoning. My wife had a hot homemade tortilla with her stew, loved both. I can see, however, why some might pan her honest homestyle authentic recipes: when you're used to Chili's or Taco Bueno and their sodium infused fire-for-the-tongue, real food may be under-appreciated.

Go find out for yourself: this gem is worth the drive from Ruidoso. It is truly a "One in Forty."

[Note: Cash or checks only]

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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