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“Great, great, great”

South of Nick's Mexican Kitchen + Bar
Ranked #2 of 216 Restaurants in San Clemente
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $35
Cuisines: Mexican, Seafood, Steakhouse
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Description: "Southern California Mexican" Featuring Prime steaks, seafood, and Mexican favorites. An Orange County favorite for Mexican dining.
San Clemente, CA
Level 5 Contributor
95 reviews
64 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Great, great, great”
Reviewed February 17, 2012

GREAT menu, innovative flavors, gourmet presentation, a fun twist on some traditional Mexican dishes, GREAT upscale atmosphere -- good energy, fun and casual. GREAT service -- very attentive but not hovering. Make sure to have reservations at all times of the day/evening.

  • Visited February 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Triptots
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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541 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
San Clemente, California
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Great Mexican, tasty sauces, good portions. Very busy since it's new.”
Reviewed February 11, 2012

Plan on waiting since it is new. Comfortable seating. Not noisy like Nick's on Del Mar.Good service.

  • Visited January 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank NancyM001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jillian646
Level 5 Contributor
44 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Very Disappointing..”
Reviewed February 8, 2012

As a HUGE fan of Nicks in San Clemente, I had really high expectations for "South of Nicks" but was very disappointed with our dinner experience. We went over the opening weekend and had to wait an hour for table, so we enjoyed a couple of beers and salsa at the bar. A piece of the avocado pit was actually in the guacamole - I could have seriously broken a tooth on it.

Anyway, after waiting over an hour, we went up to the receptionist and she claimed to have called us 20 minutes before. Turns out they called the wrong number! I've never had this problem at the original Nicks restaurant.

Not a great first impression of the restaurant....

My main complaint is with the menu and the LACK of vegetarian options. I believe there was only one salad that we could order that didn't include meat. We ordered the burrito without chicken, only to find out that their beans AND rice are made with lard. Come on, seriously?

The only way I'll go back is if they revamp their menu to include vegan/vegetarian options. Considering San Clemente is a health-conscious SoCal town, I'm shocked that South of Nicks didn't include healthier food options on their menu.

  • Visited January 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank jillian646
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Clemente, CA
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Excellent Mexican Grill”
Reviewed January 29, 2012

We visited this new restaurant for lunch and we were very impressed. It is very spacious with a "cantina" ambiance with a large bar in the middle and tables and booths surrounding it. The wine list is short but well thought out. The bar is full service with some excellent sipping tequilas as well as imported beers and mixed drinks. We chose the house chardonnay for lunch and were happily surprised that the house pour is Edna Valley. The pour itself is generous and the price is only $6.00 per glass. A great deal. We shared an appetizer of shrimp taquitos that were superb. Huge shrimp wrapped in a thin tortilla and deep fried, served with salsa fresca and queso fresco. For our main dish, I enjoyed the pork carnitas, which came with salsa fresca, guacamole spanish rice, refried pinto beans, and handmade tortillas. The carnitas were excellent, however, the refried beans seemed to be almost pureed and lacked both texture and taste. My spouse enjoyed the snapper Vera Cruz, a large fillet of snapper baked and served in a banana leaf with tomatoes, olives, onions and capers in a white wine lemon sauce, that was cooked to perfection. The prices are moderate and fairly typical for south Orange County. Service staff seem very knowledgeable and prompt. This is a great new restaurant and based on our lunch experience, we will be visiting it again soon for dinner.

  • Visited January 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank beachdogs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Irvine, California
Level 5 Contributor
74 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Serene, historic and yummy”
Reviewed January 26, 2012

Got a lunch reservation through Urban Spoon today. As a sucker for architecture and history, I loved walking into the new South of Nick's space today for lunch. This was Ole Hanson's office and the first building ever built in San Clemente.

South of Nick's kept the gorgeous tile floor entrance and the awesomely hefty, exposed wood beams on the ceiling - it is beautifully zen inside the thick Adobe walls. The new skylights bring in some of the sunny day - it was 75 degrees today! The only thing better than a perfect California beach day is adding some tasty, authentic Mexican cooking. My Chili Verde was perfection. The homemade chips, salsa and tortillas were great treats too.

I could live on salsa, but my boyfriend can't stand tomatoes or cilantro- The Horror! His taco salad showed up looking like it was dressed up for Halloween as a tomato-cilantro festival. He asked the waiter for help and he promptly brought the manager over to discuss. She told us they would talk to Nick and adjust the menu wording. There was no mention of tomatoes or cilantro under the taco salad description. After whisking away the dish, they immediately brought out a new salad sans offending vegetables and herbs. They also cut it off the bill AND the chef came out to apologize. Now that is customer service...and all the while they were holding interviews for the new waitstaff!

Love me some Nick's (or South of Nick's in this case!)

  • Visited January 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Courtney C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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