We've been eating at this place for over 20 years...each time we travel to Monterey which we love.
The food is not authentic so don't go there looking for that. It is though pretty good and the prices not too bad, especially for the area. The best part of the experience is the view and the casual setting which may be especially nice for families. There are many places along the row which provide seating overlooking the water but you will be very hard pressed to find one that doesn't cost much. As you look out the window you can see sea lions and such on the rocks below, just outside and you can watch the kayakers go by. A fun place to stop, eat and discuss the aquarium after a visit or after shopping.
The service does seem to have dropped over the years and I wish they would address that. The hostess is polite and will almost always know to seat you at the window without your even asking but the servers tend to act as if they are rushed even when it's slow.
I'm not overly picky nor a foodie, just a normal guy so I like this place. I also like the higher end eateries along the row and in the area, you just need to know what to expect and this is just a typical Mexican restaurant with good food and a great view ! I provide my rating based on knowing the kind of food to expect (not gourmet or authentic, just your average good Mexican) and also based on the overall experience with the nice view.
I really hope that they stay open for many more years to come. I've seen many, many places open up only to close over the years and Torito's is always there for me.
The food and prices are good. The ocean view is great. If you come in for dinner and want an ocean view, expect to wait. If there is only two of you and you want an ocean view, they might stick you in the bar. Every time I have had to sit at a table in the bar, the service has been slow. The bartender is the server in this area and s/he has other things to take care of besides the tables in the bar. It's a nice chain restaurant, but it does get crowded. However, I keep coming back for the ocean view and the tasty food.
Why do I love El Torito? Two words: Happy Hour.
El Torito has an awesome Happy Hour. Half off appetizers, great drink specials and awesome wait staff. Need some cooling off at the end of the day, head to El Torito.
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