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“Not worth the money”

Uncle Julio's Rio Grande Cafe
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Ranked #26 of 281 Restaurants in Woodbridge
Cuisines: Mexican
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Reviewed July 29, 2013

We ate at Uncle Julio's about three months after they opened. It was very crowded (Saturday evening). The food was just okay, the service was terrible plus it was expensive for what we received. I don't mind paying for good food, but this was not good food. There were many wait staff in the dining room but we could not seem to find our waitress when we needed a refill of drinks. She appeared to take our order and give us the check. Needless to say, her tip reflected her lack of attention. We haven't been back since.

Thank BandMomVA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (169)
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133 - 137 of 169 reviews

Reviewed July 27, 2013

We were on an REI run near dinner and husband wanted to try something new. I'd heard mixed things about this place, mostly negative, but he wanted to give it a go anyway.

It was pretty busy at 6:30 on a Friday evening so I expected a wait but it was less than five minutes. We were seated outside, at our request, but it had to have been the worst seat in the house. Near the door to the main dining room so we were entertained watching the wait staff go in and out our whole meal. They had to maneuver around the empty chair at our table each time they walked by. There were three tables open near the sidewalk and I should have insisted we move but for whatever reason, I didn't.

Checking the menu, I was taken aback a bit when I saw their fajitas were almost 20 bucks. A quesadilla app $13-15. I thought it was way overpriced right off the bat but then found another summer menu or something with more reasonably priced entrees. We chose the brisket tacos and brisket quesadilla. We got chips and salsa right away and if you're looking for the standard pico this isn't it. It's more of a roasted salsa verde with thin, crispy homemade tortilla chips and was very tasty.

We must have been lucky to get a tremendous wait person. Kelly was on the ball, friendly and extremely helpful. Within minutes, our meal was brought out and it was surprisingly tasty. The guac was very good, tacos and quesadillas were delicious loaded with meat. The only thing lacking were the sides. Cilantro rice was bland and dry and I asked for pintos in place of black beans and they weren't the best. Bottom line: food is standard tex-mex, nothing unusual or over the top good, but it tasted good.

We didn't get mixed drinks because I'm too cheap to pay 10 bucks for a couple shots of drowned liquor. The lady next to us was (loudly) complaining that her drink was way overpriced.

Kelly was at our table numerous times to check on us and when I commented on the salsa she offered to send some home with chips. The overall experience was pleasant, except for where we were seated, the atmosphere is typical chain style where they try to replicate an open air market in Mexico. We probably won't go back because we're die hard Chipotle fans and I'm fine with a more limited selection and pay half the price for better food.

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Thank Yorkiemom19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 17, 2013

My father came into town last week from South Carolina, and since we both love Mexican food, I thought it would be a great place to try. So, my father, my husband I went to Uncle Julio's on a Monday and judging from the atmosphere, thought we would have a good experience - boy, was I wrong - again! Judging from the fact that there were less than 10 people dining at prime-time, I should have known something was wrong.

First, a very nervous and shy waiter took our drink order and to my father's dismay, this restaurant did not have ANY of his top beer choices, which for a Mexican restaurant is inexcusable. Finally, on maybe his third or fourth suggestion, the waiter stated they had one beer on my father's very long list of options. My husband and I ordered soft drinks and waited for all beverages to arrive.

When the beverages arrived, this very nervous waiter absolutely doused my husband, literally wetting the entire right side of his body and getting me as well - and this was just in the first five minutes. My husband finally cleaned himself up, got a new beverage and we then proceeded to order.

My father orders a very simple fajita dish and asks if he can have beans instead of rice with his meal. Literally, the waiter did not appear to know the difference between refried beans and other types of beans and was confused by my father's request. I mean, you work in a Mexican restaurant and don't know the difference between beans? Finally, after five minutes of explaining the waiter took all of our orders and we waited for the meal.

During our wait for the meal, we dined on these absolutely horrible chips (the salsa was okay) that were literally so thin that the slightest bit of salsa would break them in half. And they were so greasy they would put 1950's hair gel products out of business - gross!

The meal finally arrived and guess what? My father was served rice with his meal (which is why he requested a substitution for beans) and some gross pinto-like beans instead of refried beans on the side of his meal. At this point, my father had to explain himself AGAIN and the entire plate had to be taken back, with the refried beans placed in lieu of the rice on the fajita plate.

My husband and I had the enchiladas and they were positively disgusting and bland. No kidding, I have had better at Taco Bell!! My husband and I also had the gross Mexican rice on our plates (which we did not eat) and this pointless garnish of lettuce and tomatoes on the side of our enchiladas. What are we supposed to do with that, exactly??

I also notice that for a chain this pricey that there is not a customer relations representative that answers to any of these reviews, so this should tell prospective diners that they simply don't care about our opinions. So, why frequent their establishment if they don't care?

I am so, so embarrassed that I recommended this place and my father had to have a crappy meal. If only I could get his money and our time back together that we wasted on this horrible meal with a horrible waiter.

Never, ever again. No kidding - stay away. You will get a better meal and better quality at Chipotle and spend 500 times less!!!

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Thank Lori B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 3, 2013

Uncle Julio's is a nice place for lunch, and not crowded at that time of day. I have never been there for dinner. The service has been consistently very good and the mixed drinks are notably nice. It is probably priced about 20% higher than other Mexican restaurants in the suburbs; but for my money it is worth it. Starting with the salsa and chips and right through to the desserts, it is fresher tasting than typically found in chain restaurants. For those I know who grew up on Tex-Mex food, this is the only substitute for home cooking.

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Thank eileen645
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 15, 2013

Uncle Julio's is one those places, at least for us, that you try once for "trying's sake" and that's all. I don't remember specifically what we had but we left feeling we paid too much for too little and flavor was not at the top of the list. The mixed drinks on the other hand, like the margarita's were excellent.

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

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