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“Not as good as it used to be”

Uncle Julio's Rio Grande Cafe
Ranked #20 of 275 Restaurants in Woodbridge
Cuisines: Mexican, Southwestern
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Special occasions, Kids, Families with children
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Lunch, Full Bar, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Television, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Woodbridge, Virginia
Level Contributor
156 reviews
136 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Not as good as it used to be”
Reviewed January 31, 2013

Since this small chain has been taken over, it really has dropped its quality. Price is ok but then so is the food.

Helpful?
Thank 1LarryFox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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153 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    46
    46
    33
    16
    12
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Arabic first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
46 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Third and last visit”
Reviewed November 11, 2012

I ate at this restaurant for the third and last time a few weeks ago. My first two experiences were just "OK", although I found the food and beverages to be rather expensive for a casual Mexican restaurant. Since there (currently) aren't that many decent restaurants in the Woodbridge area, we decided to eat here on a Friday night in October. We had to wait 45 minutes for a table and ended up sitting in the bar. We were surprised that the regular fajitas did not come with cheese and sour cream and ordered the upgraded fajitas for 2 ($ 35) instead. At first we thought they had made a mistake when they brought the platter. It certainly didn't look like a plate for 2 and for $ 35 we expected a little more. That wasn't the only disappointment. The meat was undercooked (we had asked for it well done) and had a lot of fat on it. It really just didn't taste good and we couldn't finish it. We complained and the manager comped the fajitas, but the damage was done. We really won't go there again. It's way to expensive for mediocre (and in this case, very poor) food. Drinks are expensive too. $8 for a glass of wine at a Mexican cantina is a rip off.

  • Visited October 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank AmandaUSA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woodbridge, Virginia
Level Contributor
49 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Very Good Food But Can Be A Hassle”
Reviewed November 4, 2012

My family visited this restaurant several times and the food was really good. The menu had plenty of selections to choose from. The only time I went there and was sadly disappointed was June 2011. It was my husbands and mine 44th anniversary. We went for lunch and the waitress was new and didn't know her menu very well. When my husbands order came out the tortillas were missing, so we enquired about them. The waitress argued that the lunch didn't come with tortillas. Only the dinner came with them. Then my lunch came out, I had ordered the soup and salad. The meat was missing and when I got into the salad I found the core from the lettuce head in the salad. I called the manager over and showed him what was in my salad and he said that the core from the lettuce head was usually garbage. So I said, "Is that what you serve your customers, garbage?" He was not amused. I also asked about my husbands tortillas and he said that the lunch that my husband ordered did indeed come with tortillas. It was finally taken care of, but it did leave us feeling like we had to fight with the waitress to get what we had ordered. Since that time we have visited this restaurant again and was very happy with our meal. I do think that the drinks are weak and I will say that the price is a bit high.

  • Visited June 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Karen T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woodbridge, Virginia
Level Contributor
35 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“A fresh take on Mexican cuisine”
Reviewed October 29, 2012

Although a bit noisy during the dinner hour, come earlier or later and enjoy the traditional decor. Hand down the BEST dry rub ribs ever!

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
Thank Gloria B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woodbridge, Virginia
Level Contributor
33 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Not quite authentic but a good alternative!”
Reviewed October 26, 2012

Pros: Great location, excellent décor and atmosphere, margaritas, fajitas, close to good Mexican Food
Cons: Parking, possible wait time

My wife and I moved to Virginia a little more than 4 years ago from New Mexico, so you can imagine we immediately began searching for a go-to place for Mexican food.

We decided to try Uncle Julio's after a few recommendations and it being local to us. Of course everyone had their own opinion of what Mexican food is and what the closest Mexican food gets around here, but still considered Tex-Mex. I will start by saying we have yet to find a great authentic Mexican food place in Virginia, but this place is pretty good.

Uncle Julio's is located in the newly built Stonebridge shopping center. New shops, restaurants, groceries, and a gym are located here. Soon to be apartments and possibly the Potomac Nationals Stadium! Parking hasn't been an issue previously, however as restaurants open and the final shops finish up, you can expect heavy traffic in the near future. You may have to park around the corner. The restaurant however is fairly big, with a huge bar area, indoor seating, and two outside areas great for the warmer weather. The restaurant décor is a typical modern mix between Tex-Mex and authentic Mexican style.

We've gone several times on various days and times. There have been a few times we've had to wait 15 - 30 minutes. I wouldn't say it gets overly busy but best to expect a delay on the weekends after 6:00. I don't believe they take reservations over the phone. Also, if you get a chance, sit outside, it's a great location and atmosphere.

The staff has always been pretty friendly. We've never had a really bad experience, maybe a little bit of a wait from time to time but overall a pretty good and helpful staff.

The drinks are pretty good. They have a good selection of margaritas and usual bar drinks. They have some select wines and beers as well. I recommend trying a margarita as it's a must to find the right Mexican place for you. I will say I like almost any and all margaritas and they're pretty hard to screw up.

Regarding the food, they start you off with the usual chips and salsa. I will say they are pretty good and get away from the usual ketchup, people call salsa, and chips we're used to from other restaurants. We were told to try the fajitas the first time we went there. After multiple visits, we tend to only get the fajitas and I strongly recommend them. I have however tried the carne asada and will say it's definitely another option and a go-to favorite when I'm not having the fajitas! The fajitas come with either chicken or steak, both are perfectly cooked for fajitas on a bed of sauteed onions and peppers. It comes with fresh hand made tortillas, which you can see being made by the bar area. You also get the fajita toppings: cheese, sour cream, guacamole, tomatoes, lettuce, grilled jalapeño, and with a side of beans and rice. The carne asada again is excellent, a tender slab of steak and very delicious and tender. You definitely get a fill here. We've never tried a appetizer. We have tried the dessert, and if you say it's your first time, which we did our first time, they tend to give you a order of their mini sopapillas.

Overall this has become our go to for a great place and close to authentic Mexican meal. I'm sure they have some great other dishes and plan to try them in the future, however, the fajitas are a must! If you have room, go with the mini sopapillas. If you get a chance, sit outside. Price isn't too bad, you can expect to pay 15 - 30 dollars a person.

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

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