Olamendi’s opened in San Clemente in 1973 and featured some of the dishes the owner’s mother and grandmother had cooked for him when he was growing up. At the time, authentic Mexican fare wasn’t common in Southern California. While the restaurant got off to a slow start, within a couple of years, Olamendi’s had became so popular that it had to move to a bigger space, its current location on Pacific Coast Highway in Dana Point. Olamendi’s is now a popular eatery for surfers, who frequently come in after catching waves across the street.
When you enter Olemendi’s, you’ll think you’ve entered a Dia De Los Muertos festival instead of a restaurant, but don’t let the décor distract you. The food is good. Tacos cost around $5; burritos, $10; tostadas, $12; enchiladas, $6; and fajitas, $20. The extensive menu also includes a vegan section, which Olamendi said was inspired by his vegan son. Make sure to try my personal favorites–enchiladas suizas, the California burrito, or the Milaneza.