Las Olas Carlsbad Reviews
Touristy, and yet delicious. Jun 28, 2009
It says something about this place that it is pretty touristy but I, a local, still like to eat here again and again.
Then again, calling it touristy might be a bit unfair. Just because they are located right in the middle of the touristy part of Carlsbad doesn't necessarily mean they are a touristy restaurant, it just means that they picked an awesome location.
In fact, there is an even more touristy (VERY touristy) looking Mexican food place nearby called Norte, and even though it looks really cool and Mexican themed, the food there really sucks. I ate there once and have never been back. Do yourself a favor and go less than a block away, eat at Las Olas, and have a really good meal instead of paying too much money for food that sucks at Norte with all the other out-of-towners who are drawn in by the Spanish architecture and mariachis.
All speculations about the level of touristy-ness of this place aside, Las Olas is a great place to eat.
It is a Mexican food place with a great variety and a fun, relaxed atmosphere. They have all the old favorites...tacos, enchiladas, burritos, chile rellanos, etc...but what I like about this place is the other things they have that I haven't seen at other Mexican places.
For instance, there is a whole section of the menu labeled "light vegetable specialties". You can order a tostada, a burrito, or enchiladas, and they come filled with seasoned grilled vegetables. Just watch out if you are a vegetarian, as the salsa verde that they put on some of these items is made with chicken stock (as is their rice, but the pinto beans and cabbage salad are vegetarian).
You can also order a vegetable taco platter...which comes with tortillas, grilled seasoned vegetables, salsa, guacamole, and cabbage. You make your own tacos, and this is a huge platter so you can easily share it, or take the rest home for later.
Some other favorites of mine are the flame roasted chile relleno and the chile relleno burrito. The flame roasted chile is a chile relleno without the fried egg batter surrounding it, which satisfies my chile relleno cravings without all the extra added fat and calories that comes with the batter, plus it's absolutely delicious!
The chile relleno burrito is basically a flame roasted chile relleno inside of a tortilla, topped with your choice of red or green sauce (I recommend the red, but go with your gut on this one). Order it with half the cheese and it's still good but you save a ton of calories. I had this tonight with some cabbage salad on the side (you get 2 sides, but I like ordering double cabbage salad). I ate half of it, left happy and satiated, and will have a really tasty lunch to take to work with me tomorrow.
Norwood likes to order the Classic Combo when he goes to Las Olas, which is a taco and enchilada combination plate. The taco you have choice of chicken or beef, and the enchilada is cheese. It comes with your choice of two sides as well (sides are the rice, beans, or cabbage salad).
For fish lovers, they also have an array of seafood options like fish tacos and cerviche, but being a vegetarian I've never tried them. I'm sure they are good.
The service here ranges from being excellent to kind of slow and not so great, depending on who you get and what time of the day you go, but if you go in relaxed, not worried about time, you will have a great experience.
They have a full bar, and make some good margaritas as well, so go in looking to relax and have a good time!
I have recommended this place to people and have brought people from out of town here when they come to visit and everybody has liked it.
Check it out if you are in Carlsbad, or in Cardiff, where the original location is.
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