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“Don't Waste Your Time or Hard Earned Cash”
Review of Rio Cafe - CLOSED

Rio Cafe
Cuisines: Mexican
Dining options: Dinner
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner
Reviewed February 14, 2015

As one reviewer pointed out the only thing Latin about this place are the beer signs in the window.

Bathroom was filthy, paper on the floor, toilet seat well pissed on, door lock broken, and etcetera. I can only imagine what the kitchen looks like! But wait.... hair in my food.. I guess I don't really need to know what the kitchen looks like.

I've owned and operated over a dozen Latin themed restaurants in the states and Latin America. Clearly this was one of the worst attempts at creating quality Mexican food I've ever experienced.

That said, six of us decided to give the place a try after hearing good things from a local. Six different dishes were tried and all 6 were two steps above horrible, one of which was inedible.

Salsa was flavorless, (canned crushed tomatoes) the soup was a fair imitation of dirty dishwater and the mains were unbelievably bland. The chips were greasy, soggy and chewy. The tamales were drier than a popcorn fart, and the shrimp were nearly inedible. The pan fried oysters were greasy and dirty.

I suppose I could go on with a more detailed description of the nondescript and flavorless food but why bother. Suffice to say that this is one of, if not the worst meals I've ever had.

There are several Mexican restaurants in Astoria, two of which are very respectable and authentic. Save your money and frustration and go anywhere else for a meal.

Service was only fair and the server clearly let everyone know she was too busy to be bothered with something as silly as a second visit to the table.

Had she reappeared I would have liked to show her the hair in my food and soup.

Under normal circumstances, I might consider they were having an off night, but the quality of food, lousy service and inordinate prices for what is received reeks of rip-off.

SAVE YOUR MONEY!! Eat elsewhere

Date of visit: February 2015
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Thank ronzo4600
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (49)
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5 - 9 of 49 reviews

Reviewed January 6, 2015

Delicious, most flavorful and authentic Mexican food! The service is always superb! We moved away a number of years ago and have yet to find a restaurant that lives up to the standards of the Rio Cafe's food. We always stop when we are back in town. The Enchiladas Nayaritas are a special treat and there will always be a warm welcome for you.

Date of visit: December 2014
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Thank Siouxzunn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 7, 2014 via mobile

We were looking forward to couples night with great Mexican food. This was our 2nd visit here. The first was delectable. Unfortunately, not this time...
Chips were stale, hard enough to hurt my teeth when biting them. After one I was done.
Our food was ok but nothing to give praise about. I am hoping third time will be better. Unsure of how soon I will return due to disappointment.

Thank kolbanans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 22, 2014

Great lunch on a rainy afternoon. Wonderful reception and attention from the waitress whom I assume is an owner. This is a down-home rustic out-of-the-way type of restaurant that I'm always delighted to find. Food was hot, delicious and plentiful. Loved the margaritas!

Date of visit: October 2014
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Thank Donald B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2014

I really want to reward The Rio with more stars, I really do. The owner is so sweet and friendly, and our experiences with her have been nothing short of great. Fresh, flavourful food that transcends the typical Americanized Mexican Menus. How cool that the Rio is owned by Irish folks (including the building) !! Being from Ireland myself makes this an added bonus.

My only complaint at this stage of the game (after about 5 visits) was that the prices are just a tad bit high. Other than that, no complaints.

Now let's examine our last 2 visits. Keep in mind that we are locals, and locals are the ones that keep you alive in the off season, as well as bring in folks / recommend you during the tourist rush. On those cold, rainy Wednesday nights when you can hear the ghosts of customer's past...it is people like myself that come in and keep you in the black. Ironically, our last 2 visits were on nights just as I describe. The difference was that we didn't feel valued as customers. Julie (the owner) wasn't working, it was another lass who may be a sister ? / relative? Hard to say, as she could pass for being related to Julie in the looks department. I sadly, failed to get her name, but it is not really that important at this stage of the game.

She was rather uninspired and just bland as a server. We engage all of our servers, and tend to be very outgoing and friendly, so when we get a ho-hum reception, it usually isn't us. Even when she talked about her big dogs, she was rather solemn. My biggest point of contention though was being told that she "would have to charge us for more chips", when we requested a refill. More chips were never an issue with Julie (nor at any other Mexican place I have dined at, and I have been to quite a few over my life in many areas of the world). One would think when we are your only customers on a slow night, that bringing more chips would not be an issue. Her defense to my questioning was that "well they are the good kind" (meaning made in-house). Ummm, so if they were the crappy from a bag kind that can actually cost more, it would be OK to comp them to me? Come on!!! The first slow night this happened, I thought maybe it was just an off night for her, but when it happened the following week, along with her blase' attitude, I think it is more of a trait.

Sad, as we really like the Rio's food, but don't like to be made to feel like we are to be indebted to them for their service and chips. It is the other way around folks.
I am pretty sure that the profit that is made from what is charged for the food can easily absorb paying for fresh corn tortillas and some oil to made "the good kind" of chips. Next, will there be a surcharge for the use of the chair and table as well?

A sad insult of our intelligence and patronage.

Date of visit: June 2014
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Thank Padraig B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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