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Los Panchitos Mexican restaurant review: Worst experience ever (San Diego, CA)

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I’ve given negative reviews in the past. I have left disappointed with the food, service, or both, from a restaurant before. But never quite like this. My experience at Los Panchitos Mexican Food tops it all.

While on vacation at San Diego, California, my party and I were looking for a small (preferably Mexican – our favorite), local restaurant to try out. We spotted Los Panchitos Mexican and Seafood conveniently located a few streets away from out hotel. It’s a cute little spot in the corner of Midway Dr. and Kemper St. (3602 Midway Dr.)

It’s not the cleanest or neatest restaurant I’ve seen, but it’s small and local with a comfortable vibe. Ordering was easy, well, after a 6-8 minute stare down with the lady that I imagine was supposed to be at the counter. She was talking to a coworker at the back of the kitchen. We exchanged glances, but she didn’t seem at all preoccupied to speed up her conversation to come greet us.

After taking our order, she brought the food to us one plate at a time. We didn’t like this, since, she took a couple of minutes in between each plate and we kind of (like most people) wanted to all eat at the same time.

I was the last to receive my plate, and my order was completely wrong. I had ordered the carne asada nachos, the lady took down “carne asada fries.” Not only did I not even know “carne asada fries” was a menu option, but nachos and fries do not rhyme, so I’m not sure how the two were mixed-up. I thought maybe fries was a topping and that there were nacho chips underneath. So I picked up some fries and looked but nope, this was a different order.

We called the lady over and told her my order was wrong, she quickly apologized and took the plate back. We assumed she knew the mistake as she took it back without asking the problem or allowing us to explain. In a few minutes we realized that she did not get it. She brought back carne asada fries again, but this time with nacho cheese instead of shredded cheese.

My husband explained that he had placed an order for me for carne asada nachos. The waitress argued with him, getting an attitude and telling him “No, you said fries. You did not order nachos, you said fries…” I then asked if I could just get nachos.

We all then witnessed the waiter give the plate of carne asada fries to another table. The table happily took it, as it was free. But they don’t know that I had touched the plate looking for nacho chips. If I was them, I wouldn’t want a plate that the food had been touched by another table.

It had now been over 20 minutes of my party of four receiving their food. The waitress then came back empty handed. She told us that we will have to pay for the “extra order” of nachos. We told her there shouldn’t be a reason for us to pay for it, since she mistook our order. She said, “Yes, but the carne asada fries have been eaten so you have to pay for it.” Excuse me? Eaten by the other table she gave it to? This was ridiculous.

After exchanging looks with the cook (who had been sipping on a beer the whole time as he worked, by the way), she told us that the cook refused to make us nachos unless we paid for them. My husband, an ex-chef, told her it was outrageous. Nachos are the simplest things to make and what happened to good customer service?

I used to be a waitress, and this would be a big no-no had it been my place of employment. My husband then asked for his money back, the rest of our party finished what they were working out and we quickly left.

I see Los Panchitos have a lot of good reviews but include they have “bad customer service.” Then why come here? I don’t care how great the food is (which by the way, it wasn’t that great, trust me – I picked on my friend’s plates while I waited), if I’m going to be treated like that then forget it. After all, it’s our business that keeps them going. They should learn a thing or 300 about good customer service.

Almost forgot to mention, someone in my party ordered a margarita. And after the waitress served it, she went to the back (there is no division to the kitchen, you can see everything) and poured what was left over in the blender from the margarita and drank it as if she did this every day. Maybe both she and the cook were a little tipsy, and that’s why they were so rude and not writing down orders correctly.

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