El Camino Real

El Camino Real decorated door
El Camino Real decorated door

After hearing such good things about El Camino Real, and all of their vegetarian options, I had to pay a visit to this new, signless spot on Liberties Walk. I was craving tex-mex so much, I actually hopped the subway on a freezing holiday night. It was worth it. El Camino’s dim, candle lit space, filled with inexpensive, classic unvarnished pine import furniture immediately felt cozy.

Michelada and Margarita

Senor Lanky and I started the evening off right with a few drinks -a Michalada for him, and a classic margarita with additional chili and salt for me. They were both yummy and nicely spiced, though the Michalada is made with Clamato (boo!) and not vegetarian-friendly.

Michelada and Margarita
2 salas
2 Salsas

I was ravenous, so we quickly ordered the chips and salsa. While I usually vote for the rojo, it was the pulpy green tomatillo salas, heavily dosed with lime, that caught my attention, though the chipotle red was nice, too.

One of the best things about El Camino, Senor Lanky pointed out, is that they don’t try to do tex-mex – they do Mexican and then Texan, with all kinds of veggie options. Brilliant!

Homemade Jalepeno Poppers
Homemade Jalepeno Poppers

I went absolutely appetizer crazy. First off, homemade jalepano poppers, stuffed with real cheese, a little bank of spice, and a deliciously sweet sauce with pineapple and, if I remember correctly strawberry. The appetizer is wonderful, but at $8 for two, perhaps a bit expensive. Through another popper in there, El Camino, and you’ll have my heart.

Fried Pickle Chips!
Fried Pickle Chips!

I’m on a never-ending quest for Philadelphia’s best fried pickles (Memphis Taproom, you’re still crushing) so this appetizer was a no-brainer. And damn tasty. They may not look like much, but the cornmeal batter is a genius move that prevents the chips from getting too grease-sogged. The chili-mayo wasn’t half bad either.

BBQ Seitan
BBQ Seitan

I ended the evening with an order of the BBQ Seitan (spicy style). Again, a revelation! The seitan had a wonderful, peppery, crispy-grilled flavor by itself, and was dynamite dipped in the bbq sauce.

El Camino, I’m dreaming of my next visit.

El Camino Real on Urbanspoon

5 thoughts on “El Camino Real

  1. Have you tried their onion rings and smoked ketchup yet? They are really good as well. I have to try those pickle chips.

  2. I’m reading this late, but I went the other night with my husband, and we also enjoyed it. We got the onion rings, which were awesome, and the seitan “wings” as an appetizer. They were seriously delicious–SERIOUSLY. The texture was great. We then shared the chile rellenos and did not think it was all that good. It was kind of a mess of textures and muddy flavors. We also had to wait a really long time for dessert–there seems to have been a kitchen problem, so we also didn’t get the bunuelos (sp?) that we ordered. Instead, we got banana pudding which was…fine, but missing the chocolate the menu described. Phew! There’s my review. Oh, and the service was very nice.

    1. Maggie,

      I was actually there last night, too! I finally got to try the seitan wings and you’re right, they were increadible. I think that they must have to deep fat fry them first to get that texture, but I don’t even care. The onion rings are on my list for next visit! I also thought the service was maybe a little off – we ordered our pitcher of margaritas spicy and there was nary a fleck of cayenne. Ah well.

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