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El Dorado

/ Updated on December 24, 2016
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Our recent experiences at El Dorado have been so good that I thought I’d bring my review into the present. It’s so nice to see a restaurant with a hands-on owner, consistently good food and a minimum of drama. El Dorado fills that bill.

From a street vendor in Guadalajara to a storefront sandwiched between a UPS Store and an electrical supply place! That’s quite a leap for owner and chef Aquiles Demerutis. (Half Mexican and half Greek, he calls himself “Greexican.”) His taco joint, El Dorado, is one of the go-to places in Rehoboth Beach for light and fresh Baja-style fish & shrimp tacos and burritos.

Listen To Aquiles tell his amazing (and amusing) story to the Rehoboth Foodie on Sip & Bite with the Rehoboth Foodie on 105.9FM.

Dorado means “mahi-mahi” or “dolphin fish” (same thing), and that’s Aquiles’ magic ingredient. Several years ago, on my first visit, I bellied up to the counter and ordered a chicken burrito. He looked stunned, set down his pen and said, “Sir, you can get a chicken burrito at Applebee’s. Boring! Why not order my specialty!?!” Nothing if not obedient, I complied. And I’m certainly glad I did.

If El Dorado got any more informal, they’d be in a tent. The specials are emblazoned in dry-erase marker on a (real) surfboard suspended above the counter where your food is made-to-order. The menu is small and laminated. A circle of tables and booths orbits a fixin’s bar brimming with cool and fresh goodies.

We started with the nachos. Basic and satisfying, with a creamy yellow cheese reminiscent of a moderately sharp cheddar. It was a welcome diversion from the obligatory white melting cheeses out there nowadays. (Most of which have very little taste. There. I said it.) The guacamole is fresh and light, not too smooth (I hate food-processor guac) with not too much tomato. The taste of the avocado shines through nicely.

Most everybody at the table ordered various combinations of the fish and/or shrimp and/or chorizo tacos and/or burritos. The beer-battered mahi is firm and crunchy, and is all taco’d up in a soft flour tortilla with fresh cabbage strips. The shrimp are lightly battered and crispy, and the burrito in which they were swaddled was full of crunchy cabbage, jalapenos (I asked for them) and a white cream-based sauce somewhat similar to the Mexican crema.

The fixins’ bar is the star of the show at El Dorado. Aquiles or one of his loyal minions will deliver your order to the table, and now it’s your turn to load up on the cool and fresh pico de gallo, avocado salsa with chili peppers, even more shredded cabbage, a tomatillo salsa made with Chili de Arbol and (this is my favorite), a potent and magical mix of onions, carrots and habaneros. Very hot and impossibly delicious. I cannot tell a lie: I went back up to the counter and ordered a pint of it. That night I stood over the sink and ate it all. Please don’t tell anyone.

This is now one of our regular places. Specials on our most recent visit included the Cancun Burrito (mahi, scallops, guacamole, chipotle peppers (smoked jalapenos), pico de gallo and romaine), and a Crab Quesadilla (crab and all the necessary goodies sandwiched between two flour tortillas). All the mains are accompanied by rice and beans–not refried beans, mind you, but firm, flavorful pintos.

El Dorado is in the Plaza 24 shopping center at 18766 John J. Williams Highway (Rt. 24), immediately on your right next to the UPS Store after you turn onto Rt. 24 from Coastal Highway. They’re open in season from 11am to 9pm every day. Give them a call off-season just to make sure–sometimes they close on Sundays (302) 645-1596.

By the way, they have a small but adequate selection of beers and Mexican bottled soft drinks. Click here to check their website and see the menu at El Dorado. (L., D.,) Price range: Inexpensive-.

Click here to follow them on Facebook.

Off-season Specials & Hours

Specials & Moods change quickly. Always call a restaurant first.

pp = per person.
BOGO = buy one, get one.
Bloody = bloody mary.
domestics = American-made beers (e.g., Bud).
imports = foreign beers (e.g., Heineken).
Rails = non call-brand alcohol.
Prix Fixe = one set price.
Mains = entrees.
Margs = margaritas.
Chix = chicken.
AYCE = all you can eat.
Lite = Miller Lite
drafts = draught beer.
Early Birds = arrive before a certain time.
Apps = Appetizers.
bottles = beer in a bottle.
à la carte = order off the menu (no prix fixe).
crafts = micro/artisanal brews (e.g., Old Leghumper Lager)

18766 John J. Williams Hwy. (Rt. 24 by UPS Store)
(302) 645-1596

Sunday
Closed
Monday
Open 11-8
Tuesday
Open 11-8
Off-season special: All tacos $3 (scallop tacos $3.75)
Wednesday
Open 11-8
HH all day! Beer + Sangria $3! Margs $5!
Thursday
Open 11-8
Burritos $3 off - dine in AND takeout!
And get the Puerto Vallarta burrito as a salad for the same price!
Friday
Open 11-9
Saturday
Open 11-9
The Rehoboth Foodie

About the Author

"My goal is to promote Rehoboth Beach dining while remaining honest and impartial. I don’t gush unless a place deserves it, and I don’t pull punches, either. With so many good places to eat around here, it just doesn’t make sense to waste the calories — or the money — on anything less." View all articles written by The Rehoboth Foodie

Add Your Comment
  1. Yummybear says:

    The arranged Happy hour meeting with a bud at a fav sushi place on the hwy was harpooned by sold out bar seating. Very odd since the day before it was almost empty in same time period. Anyhow, quick on the fly rethinking for a nearby substitute placed us at Eldorado.
    We both got Taco’s, mine fish, his shrimp with beans and rice. The staff was friendly and the orders arrived at the table about the time I had explored the star fixins bar. There wasn’t a lot of variety but the pickled onions and peppers were the highlight. I usually begin my meal naked(spiced as served) and found the taco a bit wanting so the salsa and spicy onions were the perfect booster. The beans and rice were a fine side to give the fork something to do?
    I admit, the choice to try Eldorado was recalling a review which mentioned “best fish tacos” at the beach. All due respect, I think that claim is unfounded on my last visit and find the fish tacos at Leo’s Modern Mix to still hold that crown. Eldorado is closer to me and has easy parking so I’m hoping another visit will change my mind. I almost always do a second visit to verify/check first impressions.

  2. Jim says:

    Best fish and shrimp tacos in Rehoboth. The staff treat you like family.

  3. James says:

    Love the shrimp tacos, especially when made with grilled shrimp, as they will do on request. These tacos are like those I have had in Mexico and southern California. The shredded cabbage and the crema coupled with the grilled shrimp make excellent style baja tacos. The choice of fried or grilled shrimp is very characteristic of southern California taquerias, but ElDorado makes the option specific on its menu.

  4. Susanne says:

    Fish tacos are the best in the area! Guacamole is fabulous. Owner is a delight..always greets you with a big smile and gets to know his customers.

  5. Leslie says:

    LOVE El Dorado. My standard order: A fish taco, a ceviche tostada, and a side of guacamole. During happy hour I’ll add a shrimp taco plus a glass of sangria or a Dogfish beer to that order (and leave bursting but sated). It’s single-diner friendly (free wi-fi), and kid-friendly (though skip the kid’s meal quesadilla and just get the appetizer one).

  6. Scott Smith says:

    My wife and I love this place, we have driven down from Bear on a whim for the fish taco’s. Very very good, and yes I enjoy the onion concoction on the fixin’s bar. Gotta have it…
    We don’t get to come often, but whenever we are it town we stop.

  7. Cameo Alpha says:

    That white sauce is not ranch dressing, folks. It is a kind of Mexican cream, and it is the traditional sauce served on the Baja California, where fish tacos came from. I love the fish tacos, and load up at the fixin’s bar. Including the crema. My Mother got the crab quesadilla, and I thought it dry.(should have put some of that white stuff on it) She liked it, but didn’t like the self service style.

  8. doc martin says:

    right off rt. 1. not sure how we found it but we can’t stay away. great for an informal(very) lunch. light and tasty. the owner and staff are very friendly. fast food with personality.

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