Thursday, November 23, 2017     Volume: 18, Issue: 38

Santa Maria Sun / Eats

Orcutt's Old Town Mexican Cafe delivers on flavor


There is good news for restaurateurs and chefs on the Central Coast. If you put soup on your menu, I guarantee you will have at least one loyal customer who will order it every time: me.

Steak and shrimp is one of the dinner specials featured on the menu in Orcutt’s Old Town Mexican Cafe on Clark Avenue.

I won’t bore everyone with too many details (as I have before) about why I think soup is the world’s most perfect food, but suffice it to say it’s always a guarantee that I will find it on a menu and immediately crave it. In the case of the Old Town Mexican Cafe in Orcutt, that soup was their pozole, and I had to have it.

Pozole is a wonderful complex stew that is often quite difficult to make. So it ends up being a treat to get it served at home (and if you do happen to get it made for you by someone at home, please be very thankful and loving because that person clearly loves you very much, with all the work it takes to make). Pozole is made with hominy and a meat, usually pork but sometimes chicken, and can be made with green or red sauce. Old Town Mexican Cafe’s version is red and it is insanely delicious. I tried this thinking it would make a good side or an appetizer, but I got the small portion (for $6.99), which was actually a huge, hearty portion that could easily stand up as a main dish.

Orcutt’s Old Town Mexican Cafe features pozole on its menu. The traditional soup is made with hominy and pork and topped with fresh shredded red cabbage.

For an entree, I went with steak and shrimp (for $14.99 with rice and beans) because one of the best tests of any restaurant is how well they handle simplicity. This was, in highly technical scientific food terms, freaking amazing. I love the plating of this dish, too; they do a great job of presenting simple dishes in pleasing ways and the extra touches are nice.

I’m also of the personal opinion that Old Town Mexican Cafe’s table salsa is the best tasting of all the Mexican restaurants I’ve tried in this area. If one of our readers would like to quibble with me over this point or has another restaurant in mind, please feel free to reach me via email.

If I had anything to quibble about, it would be that everything feels a bit underseasoned. I had to add salt to two different items, but sometimes that’s common in some restaurants that cater to a variety of customers who might have salt-restricted diets. So, that’s not that big of a deal. Also, the evening service can be a little slow (they seem to be more popular than they account for). But once you get your order in, the wait for food isn’t too long.

Old Town Mexican Cafe in Orcutt treats the margarita right, with one shot of Ku Gold agave. Other specials from their drink menu include michelada, which can be topped with shrimp for a few dollars more.

The very best part of the experience is the margarita Old Town Mexican Cafe serves up. Made with Ku Gold agave, margaritas start around $6.50 and go up to about $11.99, and include options like micheladas with fresh shrimp and lime-a-ritas.

With all the options making Orcutt a more competitive spot for diners’ dollars, the Old Town Mexican Cafe is still delivering solidly. Make sure to be patient; you don’t need to rush good food.

Arts and Lifestyle Writer Rebecca Rose is a slowpoke. Contact her at

Old school flavor
Old Town Mexican Cafe is located at 140 E. Clark Ave., Santa Maria. More info: (805) 937-5000.






Classic martini at Far Western Tavern in Orcutt.

• Cheers to the start of the holiday season. What better way to celebrate than with an expertly prepared martini (pictured)? The Far Western Tavern in Orcutt has a great bar and they really know what they’re doing when it comes to making martinis. Try it out at 300 E. Clark Ave., Orcutt.

The Bear and Star’s Chef’s Table dinner in December will feature Executive Chef Ted Hopson from The Bellweather, an incredible restaurant located in Studio City. To find out more, call (805) 686-1359 or visit The restaurant is located at 2860 Grand Ave., Los Olivos.

Weekly Poll
What do you like most about the holiday season?

Spending time with family and friends.
The food, and eating too much of it.
Gift giving and receiving.
The days off from work.

| Poll Results