Bonita, CA reminds me of a cowboy town, like Norco, CA, with small local shopping center/strip malls, rustic wooden signage, and residential neighborhoods off the main drag from the freeway. In a non-descript shopping center in this small town is a diamond in the rough. Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro opened in 2005 and has been wowing Bonita residents and beyond with their Mexiterranean cuisine. The Peña & Plascencia families started their restaurants in Mexico in 1969 and also acquired Caesar’s in Tijuana where the first Caesar Salad was created in 1927. With their vast range of cuisine from Mexican, French, Italian, and Spanish, Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro became a fusion of the cultures and cuisines of these regions. The interior of the restaurant reminds me of either an upscale steakhouse or Italian family eatery with dark wood furnishings and bright white table cloths. The servers’ uniforms were firmly pressed with bright white aprons. The service was professional, classy, and very friendly.
Taquitos Porados de Cachete is deep-fried beef cheek tacos with tender greens, cojita cheese, marinated tomato & onions, mild salsa aguada, radish, and fresh Mexican cream. This has a surprising mix of flavors from Mexico and Italy. The beef cheek tacos were full of beefy flavor and very tender. The salsa tasted more like Italian marinara with the fresh tomato and oregano flavors. Put it all together and it was a like a symphony of flavors to my palate. The cojita cheese was like a cross between fresh mozzarella and ricotta, creamy with soft texture. The pickled red onions added a slight vinegar flavor just like the pickled vegetables you would get at a taco truck. Thumbs up, way up!
Gobernadores are shrimp and mozzarella grilled tacos with habanero salsa. Think crab cakes, but made with shrimp and a more delicate texture. The mozzarella gave it a creamy flavor. The salsa enhanced the sweetness of the shrimp and was, surprisingly, not too spicy. Thumbs up, way up!
Cazuelita de Gambas (Shrimp) is served in garlic tomatillo salsa with fresh thyme, chili oil, and baked with feta cheese. The shrimp was baked to perfection with a crisp snap. This dish takes on an Italian flavor even with the use of tomatillos. The feta cheese was broiled and added a creamy, salty flavor to the dish. Thumbs up!
Roadside Ahi Tuna Tostada served with guacamole, fresh cream, mix tender greens, lettuce, and mild habanero. The fresh ahi was still dark pink, sashimi grade. It had a slight citrus taste with a hint of spiciness to give it a nice flavor. The flavors were perfectly blended together. Thumbs up, way up!
Orejas de Mar (De la Familia del abulón) is King Top Shell (part of the abalone family) escabeche in a mild chimichurri habanero sauce. The Top Shell was expertly prepared - very tender and clean tasting. The chimichurri along with the olive oil worked really well with the flavor of the Top Shell by bringing out the sweetness of the meat. Thumbs up, way up!
Pulpo Asado a las Brasas (Grilled octopus) was grilled to tender perfection. The citrus chili pepper sauce was just right, not too sour and not too spicy. Octopus has a delicate flavor and it has to shine through. The char from the grill added a great smoky flavor to the dish. We almost ordered a second dish of this because it was so onolicious! Thumbs up, way up!
Bone Marrow Sope served with fresh habanero & chile de arbol sauce, rustic beef glaze, and old school fried parsley. The bone was roasted to perfection making the marrow as buttery as can be. The rustic beef glaze was like the richest beef consommé simmered to a thick consistency of beefy goodness. The habanero and chile de arbol sauce was slightly spicy with a creamy flavor. Both sauces complemented the marrow perfectly to keep the palate on its toes. The presentation was beautiful! Thumbs up, way up!
Grandmas Tacos de Fideo are original spaghettini tacos with fresh cream, Spanish chorizo, fresh salsa verde, tender greens, and fresh cheese. The first thing that popped into my mind was “County Fair Food”. It’s a crazy pairing of tortillas and spaghetti. It was way too carb heavy for me, but I give them kudos for creativity.
Classic Tijuana’s Original Caesar – make sure you ask for it to be made tableside. It’s a little more but well worth it. The Caesar dressing is expertly prepared by your server right in front of you – mashing up anchovies, adding egg yolk, lemon juice, garlic, parmesan cheese, whisking it together with olive oil and ends by tossing the romaine heart leaves into the dressing. I haven’t had a properly made Caesar salad in years and savored that moment in time. Thumbs up, way up!
Slow Cooked Beef Short Rib served with cabernet sauce, seasonal vegetables and Yukon gold potato puree. I’m a connoisseur of beef short ribs and have them every time I see them on a menu. This is the best one I’ve ever had! It was superbly tender. They serve it with a knife but you will not need it. It almost falls apart as if frightened by your fork and then just melts in your mouth like a beefy butter. The baby seasonal vegetables were perfectly sautéed and seasoned to accentuate their natural sweetness. Thumbs up, way up!
Tijuana’s Border Churros are served with dulce de leche dip, vanilla ice cream, and Ibarra Mexican hot chocolate. This is a great ending to any meal. Churros were crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The vanilla ice cream tasted homemade with flecks of vanilla bean. Hot chocolate was just sweet enough. Thumbs up, way up!
If you’re ready for a worldly epicurean flight, Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro is taking reservations. All seats on this flight are first class! Relax and enjoy!
- Valentine’s Day – 5 Course Prix Fixe Menu for $65 – 4 Course Dinner, Wine & Champagne, and Live Accordion Music.
- ½ off Tapas Tuesdays in the Tapas Bar
- Winedown Wednesdays – 50% off all wine bottles
- Thursday Beer Lovers Festival – 36 oz. pitchers of beer for $5
- Martini Fridays - $7 (with house vodka) from 8pm until close
- Sangria Saturdays - $14 per pitcher, all day
- Sunday – Happy Hour all day in the Dining Room Bar: $1 off beer, $2 off wines by the glass, $5 tequila shots, $6 sangria and margaritas, $7 house martinis
Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Décor: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars
For more information:
Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro
4346 Bonita Rd
Bonita, CA 91902
- Hours: Tuesday through Thursday from 4:30pm to 10pm, Saturday from 2pm to 10:30pm, Sunday from 12pm to 8pm