Nestled on the second story of a business complex at San Diego Avenue and Old Town Ave lies El Agave Tequileria – an upscale and authentic restaurant for Mexican cuisine. Having never been there, my friend Michelle and I expected a restaurant much like the other array of restaurants scattered around Old Town. Boy, were we wrong! We were about to experience the most authentic Mexican food that we had ever tasted. Our years of growing up in Chula Vista with taco shops had lead us astray from the true qualities of Mexican food!
We walked up the stairs, and were greeted by a friendly host and a display of the most tequila bottles that we had ever seen in our entire lives. Tequila connoisseurs take note – El Agave boasts having over 2000 different Tequilas in their Tequila Museum/restaurant, which are displayed along every wall. That’s pretty unique!
We were seated in the indoor patio and had a view looking north on San Diego Avenue. As soon as we sat down, we were served chips and a trio of dips -2 salsas and a black bean dip. We went through the black bean dip like it was nobody’s business! The General Manager, a friendly man named Alberto, greeted every table and took the time to explain to his patrons that El Agave prides itself on serving only true, authentic Mexican food (don’t expect to find any nachos or fajitas here- and the only burrito served is on their lunch menu).
The appetizer Michelle and I decided on was the “Tlacoyos Cuitlacoche.” Don’t ask me how to pronounce it- but it was delicious. Corn maze dough topped with deliciously tangy black beans, queso fresco and cilantro.
Our next dish – a Nopalli salad –consisted of cactus (yes! Cactus!!), tomatoes, avocados and spices. I have always loved trying new foods, so I was eager to try cactus for the first time. The presentation was beautiful, and the salad was very refreshing.
You can’t go to a Tequileria without ordering a drink , so we indulged. Michelle had the Hibiscus Delight, and I tried the Exotica- a drink made with agave and my favorite ingredient- cilantro. Delish!
We ordered our entrees next. El Agave is known for their menu of different Moles – they have 9 different variations on the menu. I went with the Mole Poblano Don Julio, one of the restaurant favorites. For those of you who don’t know what Mole is, it’s a spiced Mexican sauce made with chili peppers and chocolate, served with meat. I was so pleased with my selection. The chicken was moist, and the mole was a thick consistency that was so delicious. I couldn’t get enough of the Mole!
Michelle ordered another restaurant favorite, the Filete Chipotle. The Filete Chipotle was a grilled steak topped with Machego cheese and chipotle sauce. Once again, the presentation was fabulous, and she loved every bite.
We finished our meal off by splitting the Chocolate Crème Brulee and felt like we were ready to pop with how full we were.
All in all, we had a great experience at El Agave. The wait staff was extremely attentive to every table, and the food was gourmet. Be forewarned, on a cost scale of 1 to 4, the cost is at a 3. Tip – if you check in on yelp, you can get a free appetizer! But you are paying for the delicious quality of food. This is nooooo typical Mexican restaurant in San Diego – but truly authentic Mexican cuisine. I walked away having a deeper appreciation for Mexican food and culture, which is something I won’t soon forget!
2304 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110