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El Vitral

El Vitral Restaurant

El Vitral has definitely got its groove on. Upon entering you immediately get a rush of great energy. El Vitral literally unfolds in front of you with its wide-open space and inviting patio, causing us to wonder why we never noticed this place before. Maybe because it’s a little off the beaten path and only open since May. Or maybe we’re just lame.

El Vitral is literally situated on the edge of Petco Park. Having passed by it a gazillion times on the way to a Padres game (yes, some of us are believers) we were shocked to realize such a cool, delectable place was right in front of our noses. It took a worldly friend inviting us to lunch to introduce us to this treasure in our midst.

Walking in you feel the immensity of the place. A long and airy bar offers cocktails and, oh yeah, lots of tequila choices for what we guarantee are amazing concoctions. Alas, it was lunchtime and a work day was still ahead so no shots (this time). Tequila bottles actually make up a lot of the décor. Numerous varieties lined the back wall, spaced beautifully on wooden shelves. Not to be outdone, magnificent flowers surround the perimeter of the ample patio overlooking the Park at the Park and the ballfield. Wicker tables and chairs keep the laid-back charm going whether you sit inside or on El Vitral’s spacious patio.

Observing the dishes set before other patrons, we knew we were in for a deliciously dangerous time. Not only were they beautifully presented but the gargantuan portions were awe-inspiring, if not a bit intimidating. Our friend had recommended the Ceviche Trio (not on the menu but available anytime, it will be our little secret - $12), which consisted of mahi mahi, clam and shrimp varieties. Each embodied its own with very distinct flavors and texture. The clam was interestingly diverse, and we pretty much finished all three.

Tacos and Tortas weighed down the table next with Camaron Enchilado (shrimp, celery, cream, Oaxaca cheese, chipotle aioli and avocado cream-$11) which artistically adorned the unique rectangular plate. Some may think it’s a bit much, but as far as we’re concerned, the more stuff the better! The Taco Vegetariano (mushrooms, white corn, poblano, onion, panela cheese, sweet potato - $9) also delivered the goods with a creamy sauce playing well with the other unique textures of the dish. The Barbacoa Torta (pulled beef, orange guajillo sauce, black beans, rice and avocado - $11) arrived in a pageantry of dishes. A deep bowl filled with the beef over a palm leaf was situated next to a warmed vessel of fresh tortillas and plates of black bean puree and rice. Seriously enough for three people (or two if you’re eating with Steve)! The beef basked in a rich sauce with the small tortillas acting as an agent for combining the meat, beans and rice into a truly satisfying dish.

El Vitral truly stands above the crowd with friendly, dead-on service, generously proportioned dishes and “wow” flavors. El Vitral has a great feel, and is the perfect place to sit, relax, maybe have a drink and eat. This ain’t your Momma’s Mexican food, it’s art for the palette – so be open, be ready and drink it all in. Enjoy!

The good – delicious food, delicious venue

The bad – hmmm, it was lunch time and we couldn’t have any tequila

Details »
  • City: San Diego
  • Phone: 619-236-9420
  • Name: El Vitral
  • Address: 815 J Street