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“Aptos Hot Spot”

Manuel's Mexican Restaurant
Ranked #5 of 71 Restaurants in Aptos
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Mexican
Dining options: After-hours, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: After-hours, Reservations
Reviewed 16 April 2014

Always bustling with locals, very cozy atmosphere, margaritas flowing, good salsa and chips, reliably, good food, excellent friendly service.

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Thank Michael M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (194)
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132 - 136 of 194 reviews

Reviewed 16 April 2014 via mobile

Manuels is an institution in Seacliff. A very popular local restautant. The food is good, the margaritas excellent and the atmosphere lively and fun. A must for any visit to Aptos!

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Thank Jennifer G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 April 2014

Manuel's is an institution in Aptos and especially in the Seacliff neighborhood. If you want to eat in the restaurant, go early and/or be prepared to wait for a table -- even if you make a reservation. The daily specials are often great and I've never ordered anything that wasn't good, from cile rellenos to chile verde, tacos, enchilladas, whatever. They also make an excellent Cadillac margarita. We call in with an oder and take it home at least a couple of times a month.

Thank ptrounstine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 April 2014 via mobile

Ok I need to qualify this a bit.

I have been coming to Manuel's since I was 15 so that's a total of 40 years. That should tell you something - I can't say that for any other restaurant of any type except mcdonalds which ain't the same!

They have NEVER changed the menu during this time, nor the recipes, nor the execution of these dishes. Prices rose modestly over the years and that's it.

They have always maintained a focus on local wines by the bottle and by the glass. You don't have to worry about getting the crappy, stale swill here the way you do most Mexican restaurants. Hearty Zinfandels accouny this cuisine nicely!

The salsa you get ahead of the meal (along with chips of course) is to die for. It is unlike anything I've ever been served anywhere else! The heat varies but generally acceptable to most palates. I for the life of me can't figure out how to reproduce it. They must strain it because there is no chunkiness to it.

Moving forward and here's where I will throw caution signs. I ALWAYS order the #3 combo - a chile relleno and a cheese enchilada. So if you stray away from this you may not feel the same about Manuel's as I do. The tacos and burritos you can do better elsewhere. The tamale is really good as is the chile verde and chile Colorado. Really good but not enough for me relative to the #3!

First the relleno. Hands down the best ever. A FLUFFY batter more like a soufflé, the ranchero sauce a broth like sauce with celery, onion, chiles that is the real deal in authentic Mexican cuisine. Cheese melting in the center and if you love the salsa, heap mounds of it on the relleno!

The cheese enchilada. Well you say, why not chicken or beef, etc? After all you are getting cheese in the relleno, right? Yes, but the enchilada sauce and that cheese together are sumptuous! There's little bits if onion buried in that enchilada that lift it to new heights. In short, do not try to create balance with this dish until you taste it the way they serve it! Again, add plenty of salsa should you care too!

The beans. Very wonderful, comforting dr fried beans that clearly have some Monterrey jack cooked in. My favorite of any place ever.

So some places you have to stick to certain things to get maximum enjoyment, Manuels being one. But this is heaven if you find the right choices!

Note: a lot of people love the Sunday night special of mole and also the Friday night special fish.

I wouldn't know.

Thank William F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 March 2014

This dingy little bar has enthralled it's reviewers with plenty of booze and flavorless food. Space is very tight, expect to sit back fat to back fat. Putting their best foot forward with a greasy bowl of chips and a 'salsa' that looks & tastes like a bowl of Siracha (bad breath flags go up immediately. The menu is lifeless & very limited, plus pricey for a combo. My tamale was so blah & machine made I gave up 1/4 of the way through. My partners 'chili relleno' was the old magazine recipe for baked scrambled eggs with a can of diced green chiles. The whole thing is reminiscent of 1970's fare typical of immigrants valiantly trying to support there families with no cooking talent. As long as you're knocking down booze, this might be good to you. Our 2 combos w/ water were $30+. Try Palapas

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2  Thank jeans163
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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