Past strip malls and bustling thoroughfares on the outskirts of Rancho Santa Margarita is a narrow road that winds to Trabuco Canyon. The drive from suburbia to Rose Canyon Cantina & Grill takes long enough to make you feel like you could be lost. Just as you begin to look anxiously for opportunities to make a U-turn, a little sign off to the side reassures the hungry that the cantina is just around the corner.
For those of us who reside outside the canyons, a drive to the cantina is a real trip. Nestled beneath towering oaks trees, the eatery sits at the edge of a stream where it smells like - get this - nature. There is something rather charismatic about the dirt parking lot. But the bougainvillea growing up the sides of the Spanish-style building and the twinkle lights wrapped around the trunks and branches of the old oaks are especially inviting.
As one couple from Long Beach put it – “We can get Mexican food any where. But, for us, nothing beats this old historic destination restaurant. It doesn't matter the time of year, we just love to sit in the cantina or patio, meet new friends or see some old ones and while we're there we eat great Mexican food and drink the best Margaritas.”
Rose Canyon Cantina, named after the winding road that leads to it, has a menu with a combination of Mexican and Southwest style cuisine. But before you can decide what to order you have to choose where to sit - the cantina room with bar, the dining room with comfy-looking booths or the amazing patio that, in spring and summer, can mean a two-hour wait. On the bright side, however, the cantina has a full bar with tasty margaritas and quite the selection of tequila.
20722 Rose Canyon Road, Trabuco Canyon, CA 92678 ~ (949) 766-6939