El Naranjo is very popular in Austin for its traditional Mexican food. Most of the clients fall in love with this place after their first visit and they come back over and over again. The menu is frequently changed and this is the reason why people cannot get bored of this place.
Address: 85 Rainey St
Phone: (512) 474-2776
- Monday closed
- Tuesday – Friday 5:30pm-10pm
- Saturday 11am-2pm; 5:30pm-10pm
- Sunday 11am-2pm
- traditional Mexican food
- salsas and moles
- vegetables, herbs
The chefs are very dedicated and they will work hard to offer you the best authentic Mexican dishes. Even if it is late at the night and the closing hour is getting closer, they will prepare for you every dish you order.
Moreover, you can buy from the restaurant and take back home the best salsa in Austin. Therefore, if you are looking for a great restaurant where you can enjoy with your friends or with your family a great Mexican meal, try El Naranjo.
This is the best place for a Saturday or Sunday brunch, but you can enjoy here dinner as well, any other night of the week.
In 1997, Iliana and Ernesto married in Mexico City and decided to move to Oaxaca where Iliana had deep family roots, and where she wanted to open a restaurant specializing in Oaxacan cuisine. Ernesto was a trained architect and initially lacked professional experience in the kitchen, but jumped in, and, as he says, “became her best student!” Initially, there were many trials and tribulations, but by May 2003, their food was featured on the cover of Bon Appétit magazine with the caption: “The Soul of Mexico: bold flavors, romantic places, and rich traditions.” The restaurant flourished until 2006 when their community experienced a very unsuspected damaging and ongoing political unrest, and Iliana and Ernesto were forced to sell their restaurant in 2007 and move to the United States.
Shortly after they moved to Austin, Ernesto began planning the El Naranjo trailer as a first step to learn about the Austin market and culinary scene. Iliana was offered a position as a cuisine specialist and chef instructor at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America on its new campus in San Antonio, where she hosted the first cooking classes offered dedicated to Mexican cuisine.
She is frequently asked to make national appearances to chime in on various aspects of Latin American cooking and to help people understand Mexican food beyond tacos and Tex-Mex. She often says, “If you talk to me about authenticity, I don’t know what you mean. If you say tradition, then I’m with you.”