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Ricardo's Place
Sharing Authentic Mexican Cuisine is a Family Tradition

When Ricardo's Place opened in San Juan Capistrano residents took notice as a familiar building took on new life, colorful inviting décor and began to bustle with activity as customers discovered a local hot spot.

What they also discovered is that Ricardo is not only a real person who visits with the diners but he is carrying on a family legacy of over 30 years in the restaurant business here in South Orange County and the Capistrano Valley.

It all began with Grandma Juana in Mixtlan Jalisco, Mexico. She was the main Chef in her hometown preparing the food for events parties and weddings and making every event memorable. Her recipes were passed to Mamacita Alicia who brought the secret recipes to Southern California 30 years ago along with two brothers and eight children.

Ricardo, a San Clemente high school graduate, encouraged Mamacita to open her first restaurant in the middle of the 1980's. Ricardo, Alicia, Alejandro, Estela, Bertha and Rosa as well as the rest of the family are dedicated to create the healthiest and most affordable Mexican food around. Ricardo's first restaurant job was at Pete and Clara's which was once in the building that is now Ricardo's Place and Ricardo's mother worked at Walnut Grove in the early 70's. A new generation is now at work at Ricardo's Place with Ricardo's daughter, who has a career in human resources, working there three days a week and his son also taking an interest in the restaurant business as he is in collage with a Business Major.

This family affair extends to La Cocina de Ricardo, their Lake Forest location, managed by Uncle Mario. Many Orange County residents will remember Mario as the popular manager of legendary Mexican restaurant, The Villa, which was a Dana Point landmark for Decades. La Cocina de Ricardo's San Clemente location is managed by Ricardo's sister Bertha and brother Alejandro and has proudly served locals for 15 years with special thanks to San Clemente High School students and staff whose patronage has contributed to the restaurant's success. The San Clemente location does not serve alcohol.

Both Ricardo's Place and La Cocina Ricardo have a full catering liquor license. Mario created what many consider the Best Margarita in Southern California. Serving both Sonora Style and Jalisco style Mexican food, Ricardo's is famous for their soups and Carnitas. They feature 12 soups and among the favorites are Caldo 7 Mares or Seven Seas; filled with Fish, shrimp, crab legs, clams and octopus and Pozole, hominy and pork soup. Birria or Goat Meat Soup is a delicacy that many request. Ricardo's Carnitas is made with lean chunks of pork fried with jalapenos, onions and Cilantro.

The location of Ricardo's Place in the heart of San Juan Capistrano is a natural evolution of a family legacy that has been deeply rooted in this community, which now enjoys the taste and spirit of Mexico in a bright cheery and welcoming venue with the family who has been here all along.

© Copyright 2005 Christina Duane & Ricardo's Place . No unauthorized duplication without written consent.




Ricardo's Place
San Juan Capistrano


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