Restaurant of the week: El Ranchero (19th St.)


El Ranchero, 8697 19th St. (at Carnelian), Rancho Cucamonga

Every week I try at least one new restaurant, usually on my lunch hour, and usually on Monday. This week, delaying my foray until Wednesday, I hit El Ranchero at 19th and Carnelian, in the upper reaches of Rancho Cucamonga. It’s in a standalone building in a small shopping center and, based on the sign out front reading “El Ranchero Fast Food Mexican Restaurant,” my hopes weren’t high.

Inside, though, the place had colorful tile and a mural on one wall. Bright and cheery! At the counter I ordered three carne asada soft tacos and a horchata. They came in the traditional way, small tacos with onions and cilantro, and weren’t bad at all. The booths were full up even at 1 p.m., so it’s a popular place. There’s also a generously sized patio. All in all, it’s one of those restaurants that, like the Transformers, is more than meets the eye.

* Update: I returned in January 2014 for a huarache ($6, below) and horchata — very good — and to take photos. The place, thankfully, hasn’t changed.



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  • When I lived in Ontario, I bought something off eBay. I sent the person my address of Ontario, CA, and I was told they were canceling the order because they only shipped to the US. I had to explain there was a city called Ontario in California, and the Ontario, CA was *not* in Canada…

  • Carlitos

    I guess it happens all the time. I’m an ebay user and I’m always careful to write California. You never know what may happen.

    Continuing with the subject, David, keep us updated with the restaurants. I’m too lazy to go out and find one myself.

    Great blog!

  • Billboto

    Next time you visit El Ranchero in RC you must try the taquitos. They are absolutely the best I’ve ever had; they are about 9 or 10 inches in length and come with some of the best fresh guacamole I’ve had at a restaurant. You must revisit, it is their one unique item not to be found elsewhere. Side order comes with two w/ guac; meal you get three w/ guac, rice and beans.

    [Bill, you’re makin’ me hungry! OK, I’ll give ’em a shot. — DA]