I hadn't eaten at El Patio in almost 7 years because I remember it being pretty bad but I couldn't remember specifically what was so bad. As fate would have it, my wife, daughter and I ended up there tonight due to a lack of other ideas. I was quickly reminded why I hadn't been back and won't go back. \r
The people, ambience, etc, are not the problem. The problem is the horrible, horrible food. The salsa they brought out was the consistency of water, and only slightly more flavorful. I ordered the chicken enchiladas with rice and beans. Pretty simple order, how can this not be decent. Let me tell you how. Unheated Corn tortillas straight out of the package. Bland chicken. Then, the last straw: they were topped with american cheese slices, like kraft singles. I am not kidding, God, I wish I was kidding, but I'm not. The rice was hard and only seasoned with cumin. Unseasoned beans. The meal was an absolute nightmare. I came home and read reviews here and on 360 and found about half hated it, and the ones that didn't talked more about how it's an institution because they've been doing the same thing for 50 years. NEWSFLASH: Making the same mistake for 50 years is not endearing and tradition, it's just sad. Then it made sense, all this talk about how people have been eating here for all these years + about 70% of the people in the restaurant were over 75 years old = this is the cafeteria at an old folks' home. The recipes are neither authentic Mexican or even passable tex-mex. This place is merely a place that serves as a good memory to many old people in Austin. I saw several families eating there, and the common bond at every table was multiple elderly people. At EVERY table except ours. Now, I like old people, but not their eateries apparently. \r
If you need to appease grandma and grandpa by going to this place they loved as young people then take them to El Patio and sit there and choke down something and smile. You can get through it. I did, barely.
Pros: they allowed us to leave
Cons: see review