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“A great new restaurant in San Clemente”

South of Nick's Mexican Kitchen + Bar
Ranked #2 of 222 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.
Reviewed February 20, 2012

We waited several months for the new "South of Nicks" restaurant to open. We have eaten there three times in the last month and each visit has been a delight. The atmosphere is upscale and modern yet set in a historic building with a mexican hacienda feel with white stucco walls and beautiful dark wood beamed ceilings which exudes an old world charm. The fireplace in the main room is a focal point as is the large rectangular bar in the same room. The service each time has been exceptional with servers who are friendly, attentive and knowledgeable. Make sure you ask to sample the other salsa's that are available - the mildest version is what is usually served with chips. The food is terrific - I have particularly enjoyed both the Carnitas and Chili Verde. The salads are all very good and the combination plates are ample and delicious. The price points are very reasonable considering the quality of the food, service and atmosphere. The premium margarita has a mixer that tends toward the sour side - which is not my personal preference. All in all, this is one of our favorite restaurants and is perfect for meeting friends for drinks, a relaxed lunch or a special dinner. The combination of comfortable atmosphere, attentive service and great food makes for a delightful experience.

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Thank kimstrange92673
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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574 - 578 of 592 reviews

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.

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Thank Triptots
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 11, 2012

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

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Thank NancyM001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.

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3  Thank jillian646
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.

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Thank beachdogs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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