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June 10, 2009 > Restaurant Review: El Patio

Restaurant Review: El Patio

There is an old saying, "the more things change the more they remain the same." That is a perfect way to start a review of El Patio. This restaurant started as a small local neighborhood place in the Glenmoor residential area. Owned then by The Lopez family, it always served good food.

A few years back that shopping center was emptied and leveled for new residential homes. El Patio relocated and moved to its present location on Fremont Blvd. just slightly north of Peralta and before the railroad tracks. There is ample parking. El Patio is much, much larger now.

The Lopez Family sold the place about two years ago to The Godinez Family. Gilbert and Bibi, brother and sister, run the place and they do a fantastic job. I chatted with Gilbert for awhile and asked him how he knew so much about the business, specifically how he was able to keep the place running so well in these challenging times. I learned that he started working in his father's restaurant in Southern California and learned the business quite well. There is always a reason for success, folks. It is always coupled with learning and experiences. Bibi always has a smile on her face.

El Patio is very clean; this applies to the kitchen and restrooms as well. When you enter there is a very large separate room to your right that can easily handle a meeting with 30 people or so. I believe The Lions meet there and the Fremont Police and Fire also have meetings there as well. I am feeling safer by the minute when and while I dine there.

Directly in front of you is a small, well-stocked bar that can easily serve just about any drink you can think of. It looks impressive but it was small compared to the large dining room to your left. I mentioned this to Gilbert and he told me he wants to change the meeting room into a dual purpose room where people can enjoy it as a lounge but where it can also function as a professional meeting room. This is a great idea. The bar would then be moved to that room as well. One of the fun things to do when waiting for your table at any dining establishment is to mosey up to the bar and order a sarsaparilla (old-fashioned version of root beer). Isn't this just like we used to do in the days of the Wild, Wild West? The more things change...

Speaking of not changing, let's get back to how I opened this article. The food is still the very best. I used to dine at the original location when The Lopez's owned it. My parents lived around the corner and we would eat there now and then. So when I went in this time I took a friend and we ordered a couple of different dishes. Yes, for those who know me well, I did order a cheese quesadilla! It is simple, no embellishments and I like them. No accolades here or complaints. Simple is good for an appetizer! Of course they always have fresh and crisp chips and my friend can polish them off like nobody's business. The salsa is just right, not too hot and not too mild.

For my main course, I ordered their tostada with extra sour cream, guacamole, and cheese (of course). I am having trouble here telling you about it because it is making me hungry for another one. Yikes! It is served on two flat corn tortillas, instead of the big lard-laden chip bowl. Simple scores again!

My friend ordered a steak fajita. It arrived sizzling hot with a plate of goodies and fresh flour tortillas. He devoured it, and washed it down with more chips.

Folks, no one will disagree that these are challenging times. So, trade in that gloomy outlook for a positive attitude right now and get on over to El Patio. It is a comfortable place with great food at decent prices - probably less than what you would pay to eat at home. You will love the dining area. It is almost like...well like eating on your outdoor patio! Enjoy and be sure you tell Gilbert and Bibi hello from me!

El Patio
37311 Fremont Blvd., Fremont
(510) 796-1733

Reviewed May 28, 2009

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