El Agave – Old Town

If you’ve ever walked around Old Town San Diego before you might have never noticed El Agave. And it’s too bad because they have quite a fun spread above the Old Town Liquor and Deli on the first floor. It is located on the South Eastern end of Old Town, a little bit off the regular path you’ve probably walked many times before. They feature over 2000(!!!) different tequilas for you to try and some fantastic food to go along with it.

One nice thing about dining here is the parking lot shared with the other businesses. Parking in Old Town can get a little difficult at times.

As you walk in you come upon a giant wall of tequila. It would take over 5 years to sample all the tequila if you had one each day. That is an unbelievable selection to choose from.

The main dining room also showcases more of their tequila selection with bottles upon bottles on display. I’ve never been surrounded by so much tequila before!

They start you off with two salsas and a warm bean dip. Not too many places serve a warm bean dip to go along with your chips, let alone two different kinds of salsa. I like this places style already.

Friend #1 (let’s call him J1) ordered what I believe was a Tamarind Margarita. He seemed to enjoy it quite a bit.

Chile Relleno: roasted poblano pepper stuffed with sautéed mushroom, garlic, and epazote (amaranth), finished with a warm vegetable vinaigrette

The main reason for our visit was to try the new vegetarian menu options now being offered. Luckily I brought some veg lovers along with me on this visit. We kind of ordered a few different things and shared it family style. The first was the Chile Relleno. I’ve never had a chile relleno that wasn’t either fried or stuffed with cheese. Their vegetarian version was unapologetic about allowing the vegetables to shine along with the tangy vinaigrette. There were all sorts of goodies inside once you cut the poblano pepper open. At first I couldn’t help but feel there was something missing, whether it be the cheese or some sort of meat. But after the first bite I started hunting for mushrooms and enjoyed the dish.

Enchiladas de Mole: corn tortillas stuffed with a sautéed vegetable medley (with your choice of mole sauce)

J1 thought the mole enchiladas looked good. And they were a big hit! I don’t think he was given a choice of mole but it looks like the negro to me which has four different chiles: pasilla, mulato, ancho, and chipotle. J1 loved the dish so much he stopped eating just to inform us of said love. This was turning out to be a nice meal.

Chalupitas de Chorizo de Soya: two corn chalupas topped with refried black beans, homemade soy chorizo, fresh cilantro, and onion

Other friend (J2) had his eye on the vegetarian chalupas. They come with soy chorizo and J2 liked the dish he ordered too. The soy chorizo was quite light and clean tasting, unlike the typical greasy and fatty chorizo I’m used to. This was J2’s favorite dish of the evening.

Chalupas de Langosta: two chalupas made of corn masa, topped with lobster meat chunks, artichokes, diced tomato, cilantro and fresh Mexican cheese crumbles finished with a touch of Mexican cream

There was a mix up with our order and this actually came out instead of the Chalupitas de Chorizo de Soya. Instead of wasting it, we decided to give it a try and compare it to the other vegetarian version. The lobster chunks were juicy and the cheese and cream also added a nice creaminess to the bite. These were very good. the chalupas themselves had a nice texture that was hard enough to hold all the ingredients together, but soft enough to bite right through and chew.

Trilogia de Moles: three moles, verde, rojo, and amarillo served over a stuffed chicken breast with pumpkin seeds and garlic garnished with friend plantains and Agave style rice

There was a pretty extensive selection of mole’s to choose from. Not 2000 different kinds, but enough to peak my interest. Our waiter suggested the trio so we could try three different ones. The chicken was moist and served as a great vessel to soak up the different mole’s with. After a while the sauces mixed, but I think my favorite was the rojo. It had a good balance and savory taste with a subtle nuttiness. The verde didn’t have as much punch and the amarillo was very nutty and came off a little sweet.

Créme Brule Chocolate Abuelita: Mexican hot chocolate custard, torched sugar crust, topped with fresh berries and cream

J1 and J2 were not used to eating this much food and the thought of multiple desserts did not appeal to them. Lightweights! Well, we shared one last dish to round out our meal. The sugar crust broke apart nicely and the chocolate flavor was strong, but not overpowering. Overall, a nice way to end things.

A few things to sum up our dining experience. I don’t normally eat strictly vegetarian main courses. These were very good. So good that I would be perfectly happy ordering them on their own. Both of my veg friends seemed to enjoy them quite a bit as well and left happy campers. The ambiance and being surrounded by so much tequila might seem a little odd, but it is actually pretty fun and unique. For whatever reason on this night, service was very slow. I think they had more customers than they could serve, which is a good problem to have. The waiters were very attentive, did the best they could, and apologized for the long wait times. All that being said, the food all around surprised me. It began like a blank sheet of paper and I ended up with a full page of color and design. There wasn’t a dish that disappointed and each of us had three separate favorite dishes (mine being the trio of mole’s if you couldn’t tell). If you are vegetarian or even if you are not, there are a lot of choices at El Agave that will probably make you smile. Oh, and don’t forget. They have a lot of tequila too to wash it all down.

Disclaimer: We were invited to dine here, but the opinions stated are our own.


El Agave
2304 San Diego Ave., Ste B
San Diego, CA 92110

El Agave Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

About Darren

Fooood! I love it if you can't tell already. I love everything about it. The taste, the smell, the look, the feel, the satisfaction, the gratification, and ultimately: the fun! I've been in San Diego for about 10 years now and it amazes me that there are still places to uncover. Traveling, eating, and taking pictures of food has always been a hobby of mine. So naturally Michael and I thought it made sense to share what we found with all of you. I tend to side with the savory but never shy away from a knock out dessert. If you have a place you think we haven't tried let us know! We're always on the lookout...

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