Dining Out: 3 New Restaurants Opening in El Dorado Hills Town Center
Residents of El Dorado Hills and the surrounding communities have something new to explore when hunger hits. A trio of local, already established restaurants have added locations in the El Dorado Hills Town Center—Chando’s Cantina, Brickyard Counter & Bar, and Thai Paradise—elevating the already food-filled destination to an even tastier level.
Chando's CantinaCapitalizing on the success of his beloved businesses—or as Chando himself calls them “my babies”—the bold owner has opened a second Chando’s Cantina (the first is in Downtown Sacramento). “I want to bring regional street food to my customers,” Chando told me, “… simple street preparations that showcase the ingredients. When I started, I didn’t even want burritos,” he lamented, “but my customers (and staff) pleaded with me to put them on the menu!”
I took Chando up on his regional philosophy, ordering something I’d never seen, nor heard of, prior to my visit: tlayuda (lie-oo-da) from the Oaxaca region of Mexico. I was more than pleasantly surprised, as were the diners at the next table when I offered to share the massive Mexican pizza. It was actually a large, crispy tortilla with a layer of black bean purée, quesillo oaxaqueño (a semi-hard white cheese), avocado, tomato, cabbage, and salsa. I took the advice of my server, Astrid, and ordered mine with asada (steak). This leads me to another of Chando’s beliefs: “We want our flavors to stand out and not be masked by too many competing ingredients.” The asada (and their other proteins) substantiated this principal.
I followed with gorditas—fried “chubby” tortillas made into “sandwiches” filled with carnitas, lettuce, queso fresca, crema, and salsa. Each bite of the deep-fried discs brought joy to my companion as she exclaimed, “Finally, someone makes gorditas like we had as kids!” Stop in and try Chando’s Cantina for something a little different yet familiar.
2023 Vine Street, Suite 200, El Dorado Hills, 916-933-3898, chandoscantina.com
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. (Monday-Thursday); 11 a.m.-10 p.m. (Friday-Saturday); 11 a.m.-8 p.m. (Sunday)
Try This: Esquite, Bacon-Wrapped TJ Dog, Tlayuda, Morisqueta, Enchiladas Poblanas, Avocado Tacos, Gorditas, Mulitas
Drinks: Full bar; beer, wine, & cocktails
Heads-Up: Spacious patio; available for private events; happy hour Monday-Friday from 3-6 p.m.; weekly specials include Taco Tuesdays (3 tacos for $7.50), and a mariachi band Friday and Saturday evenings; kids’ menu
Next on my list of recent transplants was Brickyard Counter & Bar. Where else in EDH can you grab a casual bite, listen to live music (on Thursdays and Saturdays), and have a craft beer? Brickyard’s new locale—with 16 regularly rotating taps and popular live music acts—gives you all of those options and more.
Brickyard Counter & Bar
I stopped in one evening recently for a “light meal” and started with the honey chipotle wings. Lightly coated in honey and chipotle seasoning, they were very tame (you can always add heat at the table) and not too sweet, which can be a concern when ordering anything that starts with “honey.” Kudos to my bartender for the recommendation, and note to self: When in doubt, bartenders always know best.
I was debating post-wings between going full-on carnivore with some BBQ or adding a salad to the mix. I went salad…with bacon…and shrimp—sort of carnivore light. The spinach bacon salad (add shrimp) did the trick, and I felt positively healthy after crushing the pile of fresh baby greens. The health benefits may have been short-lived but not in vain, as the hard-boiled egg, feta, red onions, mushrooms, and warm bacon vinaigrette allowed me to deviate from my BBQ fixation without missing a beat. In all seriousness, it was a deliciously satisfying salad. But don’t worry, I’ll be back for the BBQ, beers, and music—and so should you.
4364 Town Center Boulevard, Suite 128, El Dorado Hills, 916-772-9464, brickyard916.com/eldoradohills
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. (Sunday-Wednesday); 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. (Thursday); 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. (Friday-Saturday)
Try This: Honey Chipotle Wings, Brick Fries, Sinner’s Burger, Spinach Bacon Salad, Pulled Pork Sandwich, BBQ Feast for Two, Avocado Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich
Drinks: Full bar; beer, wine, & cocktails
Heads-Up: Sunday brunch from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. features $12 bottomless mimosas; available for private events; daily happy hour (3-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 p.m.-close Friday-Saturday); kids’ menu; tap takeovers every other Thursday; live music Thursday and Saturday evenings; delivery and takeout coming soon
Thai Paradise EDHHaving dined at Thai Paradise in Folsom over the past several years, I was pleased to see they were opening a second location in the El Dorado Hills Town Center. The new venue offers patrons the opportunity to dine outside with a view of the water, or if you like, just do a little people watching while enjoying your favorite Thai dish.
On the day I visited, while sitting outside gazing out over the serene water and engaging in a little people watching, my favorite Thai dish happened to be crab fried rice. Usually, I’m not predisposed to ordering a rice-forward entrée, but the thought of warm, succulent crab and rice stir-fried with egg, crowned with onion, tomato, and cucumber seemed like a sure bet. A hint of ginger, fish sauce, and garlic perfumed the delicate crab-studded rice, making each morsel worthy of another. The wager paid off, at least until it piqued the interest of my dining companion, who demanded a portion, and then another. I hate it when I win a bet.
Since my companion was fervently anti-anything-mango, I felt safe in ordering the sweet sticky rice and mango. Her loss, I thought, as I exceeded my “I’ll only eat half” boundary thinking she might relent and give it a try. Coconut milk thickened with tapioca powder and sweetened, served over tender grains of coconut rice “pudding,” and paired alongside sweet slices of magnificent mango…if she only knew. Hopefully, you’ll stop by Thai Paradise and find out for yourself.
4361 Town Center Boulevard, Suite 110, El Dorado Hills, 916-939-0389, thaiparadiseedh.com
Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; 4-9 p.m. (Sunday-Thursday); 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 4-9:30 p.m. (Friday-Saturday)
Try This: Fresh Spring Rolls, Angel Wings, Crab Fried Rice, Pad Thai, Drunken Noodles, Red Curry, Phuket Salmon Sauté, Sweet Sticky Rice & Mango
Drinks: Beer & wine
Heads-Up: Spacious patio; banquet room; happy to accommodate dietary needs; lunch specials; catering available; choose your level of spice
By Lorn Randall
Photos By Menka Belgal