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Hidden Valley’s Culinary Gem: Exploring Alvarez Restaurant’s Irresistible Mexican Seafood Delights

Tucked away in a shopping complex behind Hardester’s in Hidden Valley Lake, you’ll find some of Lake County’s best Mexican seafood. You’ll have to look for it; it’s in the Coyote Valley Plaza, situated between a salon and a doctor’s office. But once you find it, you won’t be disappointed. It has food that’s fresh, bright, and overwhelmingly tasty.

If you’re looking for something unique and filling, you have to try the pambazo, a sandwich like no other you have tasted. It all starts with the pambazo bread, similar to what we call a Kaiser roll in the United States. This bread is then slathered in guajillo pepper sauce and fried until crispy on the outside. They then stuff it with chorizo, potatoes, crema, lettuce, and a healthy dose of cotija cheese. It makes for an incredible combination of flavors and textures. The bread is chewy, crunchy, and just barely spicy. The flavors of the sauce come through with each bite. Then, the chorizo and potato mixture brings in savory, hearty flavors. The intense bits of chorizo combine with the smoothness of the potato to create balance. Add the creaminess of the crema, the crunch of the lettuce, and the salty crumble of the cotija cheese, and you’re in for a flavor sensation. It’s not the kind of sandwich you can pick up. You’ll have better luck with a fork and knife. If you haven’t eaten in a few days, you might be able to finish it on your own, but plan on taking some home for a later meal. 

Of course, Alvarez offers a full selection of Mexican dishes. You can enjoy their molé, chile colorado, bistek ranchero, tacos, and enchiladas. But the real reason to come here is to enjoy their seafood. Their specialty dish is the Mariscada Alvarez, a mix of all kinds of seafood, spiced perfectly and set on a bed of lettuce and served with fresh oranges, limes, and radishes. They also offer Mojarra Frita, a whole tilapia fried and served with grilled onions and lime. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the Pulpo a la Diabla–octopus served in a supremely spicy sauce that will leave you sweating. 

We tried the Aguachile Verde, and it was beyond amazing. If you have never had aquachile before, it’s comparable to ceviche but on steroids. They cook the meat in lime juice, then add a puree of spicy green peppers and cilantro to give it heat and a vibrant green color. Included are fresh cucumbers, orange slices, red onion, and a healthy amount of Tajin. It’s all served in a three-legged rock molcajete bowl with a healthy complement of saltine crackers. Crackers, you say? Yes, and they make the dish spectacular. Everything in this dish is bright, welcoming, and impossible to stop eating. The crunch of the onion, the acid notes of the lime, the heat of the sauce, the meatiness of the shrimp, and the saltiness of the cracker make for a flavor sensation. We asked for it spicy, and it made our eyes water. It was over-the-top good, and exceeded our hopes and expectations. In general, aquachile is a spicy dish, but they do have a less spicy option for those of weaker constitutions. 

If you’re looking for great Mexican seafood, and just plain great Mexican food, Alvarez Restaurant is the place. It’s worth the trip to Hidden Valley Lake to enjoy their unique dishes, flavored perfectly and served with thoughtfulness and intention. 

Alvarez Restaurant

8990 Coyote Valley Rd STE 17 

Hidden Valley Lake, CA 95467

(707) 987-9780

Jonah Wakefield

Jonah Wakefield is a writer for The Bloom.

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