Taqueria El Ranchero (Kapolei)

Other than the usual fare at Taco Bell, we had not had authentic Mexican street food in years, so we decided to have lunch at Taqueria El Ranchero, which literally translates as “a country style Mexican restaurant, specializing in tacos.” But, of course, more than tacos are served here. There are 2 branches: Wahiawa and Kapolei. Parking is free.

Taqueria El Ranchero is owned by a Hispanic American, named Hector Garcia Gomez. He first experienced Hawaii when he was in the U.S. Army, stationed at Schofield Barracks in Wahiawa. He married a woman from Wahiawa and then when he left the Army, he opened Taqueria El Ranchero in Wahiawa in 2015. He recently expanded his successful business by opening the branch in Kapolei in 2021.

This is Hector Garcia Gomez at his Taqueria El Ranchero in Wahiawa:

This is Taqueria El Ranchero in Kapolei at Ka Makana Alii Shopping Center on Kapolei Parkway. The covered lanai is on the left:

Here we are at the Kapolei branch:

We started with complimentary Tortilla Chips and 3 types of Salsa, all very spicy:

I ordered the Beef Fajitas Plate. The beef (tender and juicy) and veggies (Bell peppers, Zucchini, Onions, Mushrooms) came with tortillas, Spanish rice, and refried beans:

Warm Tortillas:

David ordered the Carne Asada Plate. Carne Asada consists of beef steaks, marinated in lime juice and seasonings, then grilled. This plate also included tortillas, Spanish rice, refried beans, and salad:

Dessert was Flan, which is a type of Spanish custard tart:

The food was fresh, tasty, and affordable. And, as advertised, it’s authentic Mexican street food.

However, Taqueria El Ranchero was very noisy. Customers cheered their favorite football team while watching several TVs. It was more like a sports bar than a restaurant. The loud noise bothered David, who already suffers from Tinnitus. We should have taken a table in the outdoor covered lanai instead of sitting inside, as there are no TVs in the lanai.

Still, it was a pleasant drive to Kapolei, and I don’t regret going there. Something different.

Next time, we’ll just dine in the lanai, where it’s quieter.

15 Responses to “Taqueria El Ranchero (Kapolei)”

  1. DavidH Says:

    That was a very pleasant experience, except for the football noise. There were two groups: Raiders and Forty-niners. When there was a good play or a touchdown, the crowd erupted. Oh well, live and learn. I like a relaxed romantic environment.

  2. AC Says:

    When you mention the lan, I am reminded that our patios and food trucks will all shut down for the long winter in about two weeks.

  3. Arkansas Patti Says:

    Your mention of Spanish Rice brought back lovely memories. My Dad was the cook in our family and often served Spanish Rice. That sounded like a good place to eat–minus the cheering.

  4. marmeladegypsy Says:

    I love a salsa selection and Spanish rice sounds good. Mexican street food is always tasty!

  5. Doug M Says:

    I’m sorry the game noise didn’t go with your meal (I liked what David wrote about preferring a romantic atmosphere) but it still looked like a fun, upscale place–and your Mexican cuisine looked delicious! Gigi, you do a nice job with those foodie pics & details :^)

  6. Valerie-Jael Says:

    Your food looks delicious, I wouldn’t mind some right now! Happy weekend, Valerie

  7. Elephant's Child Says:

    Authentic Mexican food is rare here. Very rare.

  8. Christine Says:

    Too bad so noisy the food looks good

  9. tomthebackroadstraveller Says:

    …here, most authentic Mexican restaurants have little or no decor. They is place looks nice.

  10. Linda Reeder Says:

    Mexican restaurants are very common here. We have a favorite nearby.

  11. Iris Flavia Says:

    Oh, I so miss Mexican food!
    When we were in Cancun, Mexico, we got all European meals at the hotel, so sad!
    We were advised to not leave the complex, did anyways and all we found was a Burger King.

    Our best Mexican restaurant closed years ago…

  12. DJan Says:

    I rarely eat out, and Mexican restaurants are not high on my list, since there is so much salt in everything. But I might have tried something like this if available.

  13. Tom from Sightings Says:

    Looks delicious! The only Mexican restaurant I’ve been to is Chipotle — it’s pretty good, but probably not that authentic. Regardless, we’re still eating outside when we go to a restaurant, because of Covid.

  14. Nancy Chan Says:

    I would love to try some Spanish food. Both the food you and David ordered look delicious. I too would love to dine somewhere quieter.

  15. Beatrice Says:

    Looks like you enjoyed another good meal, Gigi, aside from the noise.

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