We hadn’t eaten Mexican food in quite a while, and this place was recommended to us by friends. El Santo has a typically small storefront at Calle Larga 9-82 at Benigno Malo, just a few doors west of Sunrise Café.
Inside their sliding door entry is a small dining room with six small tables, plus another small glass-covered room in the back with seating for a few more. We sat in the sunny room in back, where we pushed two tables together to accommodate the five of us.
The décor is festive, with sombreros and serapes on the wall, flags and maps of Mexico with a painted Day of the Dead skull.
Our handsome (according to the women in our group) waiter spoke English, and his service was good, considering that we had arrived just at lunch time and the place was packed, which of course slowed things down considerably. This is not a fast food joint, but worth the wait for a leisurely lunch.
The food was excellent, as was the presentation. I had the Tacos al Pastor ($6), which included four tacos in soft corn tortillas and a dollop of guacamole. The tacos had a sweetness to them that was unexpected but quite good.
Jackie ordered the Llave Nordica ($5.25) for four enchiladas with mushrooms. Very tasty.
One nice thing about El Santo is that if four enchiladas sounds like too much to eat, or too expensive, the enchiladas can be ordered individually for $1.50 each.
Hot sauce is available, but for those who are afraid of cauterizing their taste buds, the meals are toned down to accommodate Ecuadorian palates This is not to suggest that the food is bland; not so. The spices are there to accentuate the taste without necessarily adding unwanted heat.
Their menu is extensive, including quesadillas, enchiladas, tacos, burritos, nachos, sopas, tostadas, gorditas, chilaquiles, enfrijoladas, etc., etc. and all good things Mexican.
They have beer, wine, margaritas and other drinks. Jackie and I shared a Pilsener, which arrived cold and with a napkin wrapped around the bottle, held on by a pinched bottle cap, an interesting and unique touch.
For postres, we indulged with some tiramisu and cappuccinos , both of which were excellent. This is not an instant coffee place.
The restaurant is disabled accessible, and the prices are moderate. They do not accept credit cards.
El Santo, Calle Larga 9-82 y Benigno Malo, Cuenca