May 042009

Cuisine: Mexican
Location: St Paul, MN
Address: 538 Rice St. St Paul, MN 55103 (651) 291-0363
Hours: 11am
Links: Google Map

Atmosphere:  El Bravo is located in St Paul on Rice St, less than a block from University Ave  (and just a few blocks of the MN State Capitol Building).  There are two dining areas, separated by the door/counter area when you first walk in.  El Bravo has both tables and booths, but decor is very basic.  Mexican artwork and blankets grace the walls in a  few places, but overall not a very festive-feeling place.

Menu: Appetizers include Chips & Salsa, Nachos, Nachos Refritos, Nachos Bravos, Nachos Jalapenos, Bravo Quesadilla Tostada, Guacamole, Bean Dip and Quesadilla.  Menudo also offered.

Tacos are served either crispy corn or fried flour with choice of Ground Beef or Chicken. Burritos have choice of Chicken or Beef and are smothered in enchilada sauce.  Enchiladas include Beef, Chicken, Cheese, or Grandma-Style. Tostadas include Bean, Beef, Chicken, Bean & Beef.  There are several different combos that include variations of Beef or Cheese Enchiladas, Tacos, Tostadas, Rice and Beans.  

Dinner plates at El Bravo are Chile Verde (Pork in green chili), Chile Colorado (pork in red chili), Mexican Style Steak, Chile Relleno, and Chicken Mole.

There are also a few American items on the menu including Hamburger, Cheeseburger, Taco Burger, Grilled Cheese, Taco Salad and French Fries.

Price guide: Tacos  1/$2 or 3/$5-7  Enchiladas 1/$2.75 3/$6-7 Dinners $9-10
What I ordered:  I had initially wanted to dine-in for my solo lunch, but changed my mind when I saw that they do not have free chips & salsa at El Bravo so I ordered my food to-go instead.  I had one of the enchilada/taco combos, with one ground beef enchilada, one cheese enchilada, and a fried flour taco with ground beef.  I thought I had read on the menu that all combos come with beans & rice, but mine did not have either so I am not sure if was my mistake or theirs.  The fried flour taco was light and crispy and surprisingly full of ground beef which was only very lightly seasoned and didn't have much flavor.  I used as ton of the red salsa they gave me but that wasn't very spicy either.  The enchiladas were nicely sized and stuffed full of beef (in one) and cheese (in the other) and then smothered with enchilada sauce and melted cheese.  The cheese El Bravo used was a mild white Mexican cheese and the enchilada sauce was also very mild and kind of boring.  The ground beef in the other enchilada was the same boring beef I had in the taco.  Tomato and lettuce were served on the side. 


Service: My visit was during the lunch hour at the beginning of the week so it was somewhat busy but not crowded.  I ordered at the counter and my food was ready in less than 10 minutes.  The waitress wasn't overly friendly but made a few recommendations from the menu and allowed me to make a substitution with the enchiladas in my combo meal.

Overall Impression: Decent but boring Mexican food at reasonable prices.  I found nothing exciting about this restaurant- plain and simple.

  15 Responses to “El Bravo Mexican Restaurant ~ St Paul, MN”

  1. Terrible, awful, stinky & plain gross. Unclean and in dire need of new flooring. Plain food, bad service ESPECIALLY THE RUDE STAFF NAMED DENISE!!! Never, never again. Please save your hard earned dollar and stay off of this dirty side of town!!

  2. I need a IV of the salsa ! ….never the same twice but always great !

    Get a window seat to see the action on the street…..

  3. Sorry lady, but you got it wrong this time! First I will confirm what others have said above, you DO 100% get a complimentary basket of chips and all the salsa you can eat when dining in. Yes, there is a small charge if you want an additional basket of chips, but it’s only a dollar and change, which I’d happily fork over to this little family owned gem who has been in the business for more than 40 years!
    And no, your plate (which I recognize as a #2, one of my many favorites) does not come with rice and beans. I personally like going to a place that charges me for what I what I order and nothing more. Otherwise I would go to some big chain that gives me all the rice and beans and chips and “extras” and be charged $16/plate when all I really wanted was a couple of tacos for lunch. I can get exactly what I want at El Bravo along with a beer and my free basket of chips for under $10. I will add that I’ve never had anything but fast and super-friendly service there. I would also suggest that you eat in next time, the food does not hold up as well to go.

  4. Food critics are usually just that. Critics. They find things to criticize. El Bravo is not a perfect restaurant, and maybe as this critic said “a bit boring” But every time I’ve been in there they have been friendly, speedy and courteous. And those flour taco’s! Damn they sure are good. The enchiladas to! The hot sauce is something special, I can’t get enough of it. That is MY review.

  5. Whoa! Are you kidding? El Bravo is the best Mexican Restaurant EVER! I’ve had other stuff and nothing else compares. The food is delicious, have you not tired the enchiladas, tacos, even the nachos??!?!??! Seriously I’m not sure you even ate at the right place!

    I’m not sure if you stopped in there recently but it looks very festive and colorful with their new paint job. You’re pictures make it look horrible.

    The waitstaff is SUPER NICE! They remember who I am, I got there every week! Denise, one of the waitresses, is extremely friendly and she gets to know her customers, and she if you’re a regular she knows what you want to eat and drink!



  6. What!? I am disappointed in this review. El Bravo has the BEST tacos anywhere. The fried flour shell is tender and flaky and OH SO good. There is nothing else like it anywhere around here. And by the way, they do give free salsa and chips with table service so that comment is completely wrong. They don’t give free refills on chips, but the first basket is free. In my opinion, the salsa they serve with the chips is moderately spicy and delicious. The enchilada sauce is mild, but that’s the way I like it. The combos that come with rice and beans SAY that they come with rice and beans. If it doesn’t say rice and beans in the description it does not come with rice and beans. They are available ala carte however. The service is always exceptional and Ruth knows everyone by face. I always feel taken care of there. El Bravo has been a family favorite of ours for 20 years and we will continue going there. My 18-year-old has now begun introducing his friends to the joy that is El Bravo as well.

  7. You should review food you know something about. Salsa verde SHOULD be bland. Most Mexican food is fairly bland, in fact. Only border food is spicy. El Bravo is a great, authentic restaurant. Your review only suggests you don’t know what authentic Mexican food tastes like.

    • I have been to Mexico 20+ times (covering nearly every region) and have had many experiences with authentic Mexican cuisine. I will try El Bravo again and hope it is better but my first experience was not that great. If you think Mexican food is supposed to be bland then I absolutely disagree.

  8. The Best Tacos in The City!!

  9. The best enchiladas and tacos in town! Try a #10, you won’t be dissapointed!

    Well from my point of view ITS THE BEST MEXICAN food out there Im mix White and mexican and this reminds me of my Great grandmothers Authentic FOOD and you get your food fast in a nice timely manner……this review about them is nothing important u need to read the comments first …vie been eating here for over 10 years also and the food there is amazing you will not get anything els closer to the REAL HOME MADE MEXICAN FOOD!

  11. I’ve been going to El Bravo for about 10 years. In my opinion, it’s the best
    Mexican Restaurant that I’ve ever eaten at.
    Every dish they make is very delicious; portions are generous, and the price is
    very affordable for an individual or family dining.
    I’ve been in Southern Mexico for the last 6 months and have eaten at many Mexican restaurants, and NONE can even hold a candle to El Bravo. I’m glad
    to be back in MN and my first stop will be a long awaited visit to the wonderful
    staff and the terrific food at El Bravo.

  12. and who ever says differnly is wrong some people might not like but it is a family restront and i love the stake mexican style

  13. i love this restront it is the best a very friendly waittress named denice and she was a great server

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.