Taqueria El Ranchero

Phone (808) 621-9000
4.5 stars from 5 reviews
Address 823 California Ave Ste A5, Wahiawa, HI 96786
Classic Mexican cuisine. Counter service. Lunch and dinner.

Features
• Food Types: Mexican • Payment: $ - Cheap - Under $15
• Payment: $$ - Average - $15 to $30 • Payment: Cards Accepted
• Meals: Breakfast • Meals: Dinner
• Meals: Lunch • Service Type: Counter / Quick
• Style: Casual • Style: Family Friendly

Beth Anderson's Take
Taqueria El Ranchero is a counter service restaurant that serves up classic Mexican style cuisine for lunch and dinner. On weekends they also have a breakfast menu.

The menu includes many items such as tacos, burritos, nachos, quesadillas, and combination plates. Indoor seating is available but limited.
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Beth Anderson
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chantel
Joined: Mar 2016
Reviews: 426
Likes Received: 12
Loved this place! Taqueria El Ranchero was great. Went for lunch cute place and a great vibe. Wasn't to busy service was great and food came out fast. I had tacos just beautiful and made fresh. Enjoyed them a lot. Highly recommended check them out great Mexican food and cheap prices.
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Tom T
Joined: Sep 2013
Reviews: 579
Likes Received: 33
Matt and Beth raved about Taqueria El Ranchero so I had to give it a try. Really I thought? Good Mexican food in Wahiawa? but the more I thought about it., it made sense. There are a lot of Southwest military mainlanders stationed near Wahiawa, and I'm sure most are craving for something other than saimin and plate lunches. Taqueria El Ranchero is located in a small strip mall near Foodland. Looks like your typical taqueria from the outside, but it's actually quite modern on the inside. Immediately to the left of the front door is a small tequila bar with a nice selection to choose from on the back wall. It’s an interesting use of space since the bar is so small. It's actually more of a counter.

The restaurant has a really nice vibe. When you first walk, the glorious smell of Mexican carne asada grilling permeates the air in addition to the wonderful Mexican music. The ceilings are tall with tastefully written menus on the wall. There is a large glass window that separates you from the cooks. Love to see these guys preparing the food up close. It's reassuring to see how clean the keep their working area, and how delicious the food looks.

I ordered the carne asada burrito grande. It comes with meat, salsa, and your choice of black, pinto, or refried beans. I chose the pinto. My burrito was MUY Bueno. The meat was grilled in small pieces (did not detect any grisly pieces, which happens at lesser places.) the food is not Chipotle style, but more like your classic burrito shop. There is a salsa bar with a variety from mild to hot. It all tasted so authentic and fresh. And every order comes with tortilla chips. There are about 7 or 8 tables in the narrow restaurant, and the owner said that on Taco Tuesdays’ it gets crazy busy in the evening. (I was advised to come early on Tuesday). So happy to see this place thriving.

I’m a huge fan of this style of eatery, and finding a really good one is a reason for celebration. Can't wait until Cinco De Mayo.
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Lani
Joined: Sep 2013
Reviews: 168
Likes Received: 4
This is a great Taqueria that is comparable to good authentic Taquerias on the mainland. The food tastes just like how real Mexican food tastes. The tacos are served on small tortillas just like the street tacos. You can see the meat being grilled on the open flame grill. The employees are friendly and helpful.

I ordered 3 tacos, Shrimp, Carne Asada, and Al Pastor (marinated pork). Unfortunately, the Shrimp Taco wasn't my favorite. It had white creamy mayonnaise sauce that I didn't care for. The Carne Asada was my favorite. It had a good flavor and had a fair amount of meat. I also like the Al Pastor taco but it only had 2 strips of meat which I thought wasn't enough but it was only $2. They have an excellent salsa bar with different salsas with different heat level. I can't wait to go back and try other types of tacos.

They also do catering for an event or party. Hmm... Somebody's birthday is coming up...
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Matt A
Joined: Feb 2013
Reviews: 803
Likes Received: 111
How did this place stay under my Mexidar (that's Mexican Radar) for so long? It's absolutely delicious food! Sure, it's a hole in the wall but that's often where you find some great food.

Inside they have some tables but if this place was crowded they'll likely run out of tables so keep that in mind. Outside were a couple more tables. You'll choose your items and order at the counter. You can even watch your food being cooked up (which I love) by gloved cooks (which I also love).

Grab a Mexican Coke and then hit the salsa bar to grab some of their salsas. They're all tasty but I love the spicey, darker red salsa the best. I could eat spoonfuls of it! I went for the Grande Burrito with Chicken and a Steak Taco. It was too much food but I wanted to try the chicken and steak for you, dear reader. That's right, I gorge myself all for you.

The burrito was amazing and the chicken well seasoned. Love the rice and guacamole inside. Just an all around a perfect burrito and a decent value at $10 (yea, that's decent in Hawaii folks) considering the large size. The taco is very small with two mini corn tortillas, onions, salsa and your meat choice. Considering I can get one with steak for $2 we'll call that a bargain as well, at least when I factor in how tasty it was.

The only thing that really isn't a value is the Mexican Coke at $3 for those tiny bottles. But this stuff is a novelty for some so splurge if you like.

Bottom line, Taqueria El Ranchero is worth a try. It's excellent Mexican food and I don't just mean "excellent by Hawaii standards". This stuff would hold its own just as well in Arizona, California, or Mexico.
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Beth
Joined: Jul 2013
Reviews: 384
Likes Received: 14
Truly authentic Mexican food is hard to find in Hawaii! But at Taqueria El Ranchero I was really surprised. They make their own flour tortillas so you know the food is going to be good. I had the chicken burrito grande with black beans, without pico de gallo, and added cilantro. It was delicious! The chicken was cut into small pieces and hard the perfect char on it. They have a salsa bar and I chose a red salsa that was more liquid than chunky. It had the best flavor, it was a little spicy but so ono! I also had the horchata, which was really good and cinnamony.

Service was super friendly and fast. The inside is older but clean. I will be eating there again. Next time I want the combo plate with the carne asada.
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