By Denise Ortuno

Fantastic Mexican food flavors await in the heart of Palm Desert at El Rodeo Café.

If you’re not paying attention, you could easily drive by the little hole in the wall on San Pablo without even noticing it. Sitting in Palm Desert’s older part of town, San Pablo North of Hwy 111 is mostly a street to get to a bigger vein of traffic. But just like you should stop and smell the roses sometimes, you should also slow down and check out what is on the side streets such as small eateries like El Rodeo Café.

El Rodeo Café has been spinning out delectable Mexican food favorites for many years from its tiny space. The cozy dining area with a rodeo theme, has several tables, counter seating and even some sidewalk tables outside. On my visit in the late afternoon, most of the tables were filled with happy diners, giving praise about the amazing food upon their exit.


For me, as a measure of a great Mexican restaurant, I will order their Carnitas if available. At El Rodeo Café, I saw that they did have Carnitas and went ahead and ordered a taco filled with the delicious meat and some refried beans, which is also an item on my Mexican food measuring scale. The taco was offered with cilantro and onions, and I opted for both. The taco was ample, and came out with the beans by its side with sprinkled Cotija cheese. El Rodeos Carnitas were excellent, overloaded with all of the deep rich flavors that make me addicted to the pork dish. The meat was succulent, moist and had perfect bits of crust in it, without any dryness. Basically, it gave me the yummies. Their beans were pleasing as well, smooth and rich, accompanying the taco nicely.

El Rodeo Café’s menu goes well beyond my precious Carnitas, expanding to breakfast, lunch and dinner. Menu items encompass selections such as Omelets and Breakfast Burritos and even Pancakes for breakfast. For lunch and dinner, selections blend such as a variety of hard or soft Tacos ( Carne Asada, Fish, Chicken, Al Pastor, Shrimp and more), Burritos ( Chile Verde, Chili Colorado, Chorizo, Bean and Cheese, Chile Relleno among others) which come with rice, beans and cheese inside, with guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo on the side. Quesadillas, Sopes, Tortas and Enchiladas are also offered. One of their most popular dishes are their Chilaquiles Verde (tortillas smothered in green chile sauce). And from the taste of their green chile sauce, there’s no doubt that they are amazing!

Different specials are offered daily such as, Burrito de Camaron (Shrimp, rice, beans, cheese and chipotle sauce), or Filete a la Diabla (Fish Filet in a spicy sauce with rice, beans and tortillas). El Rodeo Café also offers wine and beer, including the ever popular Chavela’s to enhance your meal.

For excellent Mexican food in the middle of old school Palm Desert, check out El Rodeo Café. A fantastic place to lasso in some amazing south of the border flavors!

El Rodeo Café is opened from 8am daily and is located at 44-820 San Pablo, Palm Desert, 92260 (760) 346-5046