We were a table of six at Las Mananitas on a Monday evening. One of the other couples are regulars and we sat at “the” corner window table with a beautiful view of the reservoir below and the surrounding green hill country. The table also overlooked the seating on the large outdoor patio below us, with most of the tables set with white table cloths and a goodly number of diners enjoying the warm sunny setting. A couple of TV screens in the bar area showed the FIFA World Cup match, in muted Spanish. Recorded Mexican background music was at just the right level, loud enough to be heard but without in any way interfering with our table conversation. Our corner table had plenty of light from the outdoors, but further back the interior seemed dimly lit and none of the inside tables were set with table cloths.
We enjoyed a couple of rounds of margaritas, sangria and beer accompanied with nachos and salsa sauce. Then we placed our orders... as it happens all of them different dishes. Two of the party asked for items which were not on the menu.... one of those being chicken quesadillas. No problem, gladly accommodated. A good example of service which was friendly, accommodative and attentive throughout the evening.
I ordered one of the specials for the day... red snapper stuffed with crab meat... requesting that the fish be “on the undercooked side to ensure that it not be too dry”. Our waiter took all of the orders and then returned to inform me that for the specials, the fish was “already precooked” and therefore the kitchen could not accommodate my request. Hummm. I then ordered the red snapper from the regular menu, with the same request, along with an alternative option for a non-fish entree if necessary. Our waiter quickly returned to tell me that for the regular menu entree, the fish could be prepared to order. Good. And when the entree came to the table, the kitchen lived up to the promise... nicely cooked, moist and tender. Unfortunately, the chicken quesadillas arrived without any chicken in them. To his credit, our waiter offered to have the kitchen prepare a new order or, as an alternative, a fresh margarita on the house. As I said earlier, responsive, attentive service. My wife accepted the margarita offer.
The above misadventures aside, the entrees ranged from good to somewhat above average. None stood out as being outstanding. Prices are reasonable, but not an outstanding value difference maker. So overall, our experience was somewhere between average and very good. Giving Las Mananitas the benefit of the doubt... based on ambiance (at least at our table), scenic view and service... a grudging slightly above average. Unless invited back by our friends we are unlikely to return.
NOTE: Possibly we were not adventurous enough in what we ordered. For example, none of us ordered the duck confit. If/when we return that might be a way to understand if Las Mananitas deserves a better rating.