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Friday, October 22, 2021

A combination plate of good food and awards


El Dorado Cantina

A combination plate of good food and awards

Story by Bob Gourley

Photography provided by El Dorado Cantina


El Dorado Cantina has been judged one of the Top 5 Mexican restaurants in the country, and their success has led them to open their third location in the Las Vegas valley, this one at the Central Point office complex on the west side. They have only been open for two months, but judging from the crowd on a recent Tuesday evening, things are going well.

Non-practicing attorney Darin Feinstein started the first location in 2014. Wanting to ensure quality, every item is made fresh daily from the finest available products, utilizing sustainably raised organic and GMO-free ingredients from farms, family businesses and vendors throughout the country whenever possible.

From the small reception area decorated with rose wallpaper, you can go to the bar or the dining room. Chandeliers decorated with stained glass butterflies and a wall of decorative masks adds to the ambiance. Four large televisions broadcast live sports events, so you won’t have to miss the score. General Manager/Executive Chef David Gaspar Mangual usually circulates the room along with Manager Martine Jordan, checking to make sure everything is to your liking.

After being seated in the dining room, a basket of freshly made tortilla chips arrived, accompanied by two salsas (roasted tomato red and roasted tomatillo green). The green edition, with its spicy finish, awoke my taste buds. For a libation I enjoyed a Raspberry Margarita, delivered in a tall glass and inviting.

The Small Bites menu offers selections such as Shrimp Taquitos and Vegan Quesadillas. On a recommendation from David, our server, I ordered Imperial Shrimp featuring wild shrimp wrapped in bacon, then lightly fried. A surprise ingredient was wild Mahi mashed to a fine consistency then stuffed between the bacon and shellfish. The bacon added a slight smoky taste.

The main fare offers a compelling list of burritos, tacos (street and signature), bowls, and vegan items. If you’re feeling adventurous, try what many of us would consider non-traditional Mexican—Rudolph’s Cedar Chipotle Salmon, for example.

The list of enchiladas might seem overwhelming, bur take a minute and imagine how each might taste. I suggest the Enchilada Trio, three of their most popular choices. The first one is grilled USDA prime filet mignon and Monterey Jack cheese wrapped in a fresh corn tortilla and topped with red enchilada sauce. The second is a pulled chicken version, slow cooked and marinated in chilies, then immersed in green tomatillo sauce. Finally, the shrimp enchilada includes two cheeses enhanced with chipotle cream sauce. A choice of beans and rice come as sides. I want to add that this was some of the best rice I have had in a long time, fluffy and not dried out as in some places around town.

Two desserts were featured, and they suggested I try them both. First, a beautifully plated dish of Flan arrived with scrumptious vanilla custard and caramel sauce plus chocolate coated crunchy pearls. The second ending to my meal was Tres Leches Parfait, a decadent combination of sponge cake layered in light and creamy chocolate mousse and cookie crumble. You can also choose either chocolate or vanilla ice cream to finish things off.

The separate bar area was busy, and features a full menu as well as an exciting list of cocktails to choose from and over 100 tequilas. So much to ponder. One of their signature libations is the Walk in the Park made with Cazadores Tequila, cucumber juice, agave nectar, lemon and lime juices, ginger and elderflower liqueurs, cucumber slices, micro flowers, plus mint. All the flowers in drink and food items are edible, and add a nice touch to the plate or glass.

Wine fans may want to order an estate Merlot from the Kunde Family Estate or a Sonoma County Chardonay from Ferrari Carano. Imported and draft beers are also available.

Popular Happy Hour specials are available weekdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and all week from 12 a.m. to 3 a.m. Brunch is served all day with classics like Chilaquiles and Huevos Divorciados.

Different forms of Mexican cuisine have been around for years from take-out to casual sit-down restaurants. With its emphasis on quality and organic ingredients, El Dorado elevates the genre to a new level, and a visit to El Dorado will linger in your memory for a long time.

El Dorado Cantina Restaurant and Bar

Centra Point Office Park

8349 W. Sunset Blvd. #150, Las Vegas



430 S. Rampart Blvd. #110, Tivoli Village



3025 Sammy Davis Jr. Dr.,

Las Vegas 702-722-2289



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