Carnitas Express is a local family-owned business that opened its first restaurant in July 1997.
Since that time, they have grown to three locations in the Inland Empire. Two in Murrieta and this one in Menifee.
Today I’ll be sharing my experience at Carnitas Express located in Menifee at 26900 Newport Rd #117.
I was greeted courteously and seated promptly. This is the first restaurant I’ve been in that had plexiglass shields in between the booths for Covid-19 precautions. I noticed some workers wearing masks and some not.
From what I could see, the restaurant appeared fairly clean and orderly. It didn’t have any malodorous smells, but it also didn’t have a particular smell of good food.
I didn’t walk in the door and say to myself ahhh it smells like good food is being cooked in here. I thought that was odd especially since I was seated not to far from the kitchen area.
I did notice a few flies. I was being hounded by one or two at my booth- annoying. I wouldn't say it was a problem like there were swarms of flies or anything like that. Just a few.
The menu had lots of variety. Breakfast Lunch and Dinner options. Breakfast is served all day long. There are traditional American selections as well as Mexican dishes.
They also have Burgers & Sandwiches, Burritos & Tacos Salads & Soups an Appetizer Menu & Dinner Combinations. I chose a Dinner combo.
Chips and Salsa came first. The chips were warm and crisp, and the salsa was fresh and mild, tasty I thought. Turned out it was the best part of the meal.
I ordered a combination plate which had a Chicken Taco, Cheese Enchilada, Rice and Beans. None of it, in my opinion, was worth the price of admission. Let me explain.
The taco was the worst taco I think I’ve ever tasted. It was bland, had absolutely no flavor, whatsoever. The chicken was just plain, and extremely dry with no seasoning at all, not a grilled flavor or any flavor.
The taco shell was so hard I was shocked when I bit into it. It was tough chewing even. Getting that 1st bite was difficult - I put the taco down right away.
The enchilada tasted ordinary like the kind you can make yourself at home with the canned enchilada sauce you buy out of the store. In fact it was a tortilla with some cheese sitting in a lot of sauce. It had no identity to it at all.
The rice and beans were the same- just bland, for some reason. I noticed there were no garnishes or condiments like cilantro, green onion, sour cream, and guacamole etc.
There was no signature taste to any of it. Having read a lot of positive reviews I was looking forward to tasting their brand of Mexican food, but was really disappointed.
Of note they also have an adjacent Cantina (bar) and it looked like a popular spot during the happy hour.
I may have caught them on a bad day or something, but I would not be able to recommend this particular plate to anyone.
Have you tried Carnitas Express? What are your thoughts? Leave comments below.