Somewhat hidden in a strip mall off Campo Road in Spring Valley, is a gem of a restaurant called Ranas Mexico City Cuisine. The owners, Oscar and Dulce Acosta, have put their heart and soul into creating an authentic Mexico City dining experience, and their passion comes out in their food and their service.
My first trip there was a few months ago for lunch with some friends from work. My experience was so good that I returned last night, bringing along two other friends to introduce them to the experience.
It’s a quaint little restaurant with a bar area in a separate room away from the diners, which makes for a quieter dining experience (not that the bar area was all that loud).
For both of my visits, the server was welcoming and took the time to explain many of the items on the menu to us Ranas newbies. I had never seen some of the items on the menu of a Mexican restaurant before—Huaraches, Alambres, and Pambazo—and I needed to be educated. To help with my learning, they brought samples of their many sauces for us to taste before ordering.
I ordered the Pollo Asado Allambre ($11), consisting of grilled chicken, peppers, onions, mushrooms, pineapple, and cheese served fajita-style on a sizzling hot cast iron skillet with tortillas on the side (your choice of corn or flour). Delicious.
My friends both ordered Huaraches ($9–$13) (which is what I had for lunch on my first visit). They have several variations with different proteins atop a corn masa with lettuce, onions, cotija cheese, sour cream, and beans. You can even get a meatless version with grilled cactus and potato.
On this Friday night, there were two guitarists providing pleasant background music for us to enjoy as we dined.
The next step in my Ranas experience is to try their breakfast, which they serve until 2 p.m. according to their printed menu. They also offer take-out service.
I’ve not yet been to Mexico City, but my friends who have, tell me that Ranas is the real deal. I’ll be returning in the future.
What You Need to Know
Location: 9683 Campo Road, Ste. ‘A”, Spring Valley, CA 91977
11 a.m.–9 p.m. Tuesday–Friday
9 a.m.–9 p.m. Saturday
9 a.m.–8 p.m. Sunday
Cost: $5–$16 for entree
Tips: It is easy to miss the restaurant as you’re driving past because of its location set back from the road. Unfortunately, their menu page on their website is being refreshed, so you can’t see all the offerings from home.
Click to see full-sized photos. [Please excuse the photo quality. Next time I’ll bring the real camera and not rely on my lame cell phone camera.]