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“Best Restaurant”
Review of Cafe Rio

Cafe Rio
Ranked #130 of 272 Restaurants in Lake Forest
Cuisines: Mexican
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner
Restaurant details
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner
Mesa, Arizona
1 review
“Best Restaurant”
Reviewed October 18, 2013

Food tastes great. Good staff. I recommend the pork burrito. Get it smoothered. Clean restaurant. Prices are slightly high

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
Thank JessicaRampton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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27 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    8
    8
    6
    4
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Lake Forest, California
Level Contributor
335 reviews
197 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
“Good consistent food”
Reviewed September 19, 2013

The food at Cafe Rio is reliable and always good. I have tried the Lake Forest and Tustin locations. It has the Chipotle-type preparation, where you request what you want on your selection. It also has the noisy echo with concrete floors. I personally get tired of the noise, so don't go that often; I hear they do that to keep people from staying too long but they should consider that people may not frequent the restaurant due to the noisy atmosphere.
The tables are bolted to the floor, so you can't move them around for large groups, unless you find the one that moves and slide it between the permanent tables.
I like the pork barbacoa although it is a bit sweet; there is a good selection of drinks and the ice, for the ice aficionados, is the mini pebbles.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Tim_the_Enchanter417
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The Villages, Florida
Level Contributor
163 reviews
110 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“Disappointing”
Reviewed September 4, 2013

While visiting Calififornia, I had a craving for Mexican food which can be hazardous to a native Texan when dinning outside of Texas. My husband and I went into Cafe Rio expecting a nice sit down meal. What we found was a very noisy, busy cafeteria style establishment. The long line seemed promising but we were very disappointed. It really didn't seem to matter what you ordered because it all looked and tasted alike. A large tortilla was placed in an aluminum pan and various meats, beans, etc were slopped on top of the tortilla. My husband ordered a chicken enchilada iof which he ate half. I ordered three pork tacos of which I ate only one. As mentioned by a previous reviewer the pork was so sweet that it was sickening. The food was over all a bland, overcooked mush.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank perrjojo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Irvine, California
Level Contributor
138 reviews
106 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Fresh Food, Inattentive (Rude) Service, Dessert for Your Entree”
Reviewed August 3, 2013

I stumbled into Cafe Rio while out shopping and read the menu posted in the window. It looked okay, I was hungry, and I had a craving for some spiciness. Once inside, I saw tortillas being made fresh right in front of me. Nice! The menu offers burritos, tortillas, salads, etc. Employees behind the counter asks guests for their choice of meat (pork, chicken, or steak), kind of beans (black or pinto), veggies, etc. (no raw onions for me). There were no nicey-niceys, like "Welcome to Cafe Rio," or "How are you today? Nobody explained how the assembly line worked or the several choices to be offered. I ate chicken the night before and don't like beef unless it's flavor is heavily masked, so decided to try the pork. Ahead of me in line was an elderly man who was asked about a couple of the choices, but one of the employees on the assembly line hardly looked up, spoke with his coworker instead, and honestly was impossible to understand because he spoke so quickly and rote-like. The man couldn't understand him. The employee seemed bored and annoyed that the man asked him to repeat the information, and the employee still hardly paid attention to the man and still was hard to understand (we are not talking about a language problem, here). Score one for rudeness.

Now the food and environment: Overhead signs labeled the pork, "Sweet Pork Barbacoa." I thought the "sweet" was a term of endearment, but OMG, it was literal! To me, the pork was sickeningly sweet--not at all what I expected of south-of-the-border pork. I could barely swallow it. And my craving went unfulfilled. The veggies, however, were very fresh and crunchy, and the decor was rustic, with colorfully painted, mismatched chairs and tables.

If I go to Cafe Rio again, I'll look inside first to see if Mr. Rudeo is there, and if he isn't, then I'll order the chicken.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Adrienne E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mission Viejo, California
Level Contributor
38 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Rio De Delicious!”
Reviewed May 30, 2013

Cafe Rio is amazing. You get a crazy amount of food for a reasonable price. Everything is cooked so fresh and is insanely good. They are known for their barbacosa salad. Try it, you will not be disappointed!

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
Thank sammy c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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