There’s a spot reminiscent of the Mexican Riviera right in the middle of Thousand Oaks, and this place is hopping.
I visited Cisco’s Restaurant on Avenida de Los Arboles on a recent Saturday evening, and there was a rockin’ 70th birthday celebration in the adjoining private party room, and most of the restaurant’s booths were filled—a testament to the quality of the food.
Starting out with the complimentary homemade tortilla chips served with salsa, I was mesmerized by Alejandro Soto as he made the tableside guacamole. Chunky and robust, the delightful concoction did not disappoint.
I was also impressed with the attentive service by many different people in the establishment. Cisco’s seems to be the kind of place that holds on to employees due to its family atmosphere, like assistant general manager Porfirio Herrera, who has been with Cisco’s since 1981.
I was particularly taken by general manager Ernesto Olivares, another longtime employee who rose through the restaurant’s ranks. He started out at Cisco’s in 1991 and worked as a dishwasher, bus boy, cook and server for many years before being hired as the GM, which he’s been doing for 17 years.
Like all of the staff members I met, he aimed to please.
Olivares was quick to suggest an amazing dish called parrillada, a gargantuan platter of traditional goodies that’s meant to be shared. This dish includes rice and beans, a selection of salsas and pico de gallo, fresh homemade tortillas and generous portions of sliced carne asada and grilled chicken, whitefish and shrimp—all perfectly executed and delicious.
When Olivares found out that one of my favorite Mexican dishes is a chimichanga, I was served their El Classico version, stuffed full of shredded beef and lean pork, cheese, refried beans and rice, and wrapped in a flour tortilla. Definitely not one of the more healthy versions of Mexican cuisine, chimichangas are deep-fried until crispy and then topped with ranchera sauce, more cheese, sour cream and guacamole, a sheer delight. It’s big enough that you can take some home, and it’s just as good when reheated.
As a matter of fact, I heard several patrons around me comment on the huge portions of the meals. For me, having enough for leftovers makes for good value.
But there’s more than just food and beverages at Cisco’s: There’s trivia night from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays for game buffs as well as a popular sports bar with its own special promotions.
In addition, there’s Taco Tuesdays and a special 50-percent-off Twilight Dinner Menu from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, except holidays. Super Happy Hour is every day from 2 to 4 p.m.
Don’t forget to ask about reserving the cool party room for your next celebration. Cisco’s also has an outdoor patio and every kind of authentic Mexican cuisine you could wish for, including classic fish tacos, special enchiladas, steaks, seafood and sizzling fajitas, as well as a boatload of soups and salads.
Eat as healthy as you want, or dare not to—the choice is yours because the staff at Cisco’s will make your next meal there just the way you want it.
Cisco’s Mexican Restaurant is at 1712 E. Avenida de Los Arboles, Thousand Oaks. For more information, call (805) 493-0533 or visit ciscos.biz.