Traditional Mexican fare at El Toro Bravo

By Priya Hutner · 


The Super Burrito lives up to its name · 

The bar at El Toro Bravo buzzes with activity. Trini, a 14-year veteran of the restaurant, dances behind the bar mixing up fresh Margarita’s and serving cold beers to regulars who have arrived in a steady stream. There’s not an empty stool in the bar area and the pub tables are packed.

I met with Jenny Graham, one of the managers of El Toro Bravo. She leads a friend and me to the back dining room. The staff has just moved all the tables indoors after a heavy rainstorm. There will be no outdoor dining this evening. The walls are a rich golden hue adorned with photos of traditional Mexican scenery and artwork. Baskets of chips, hand cut from tortillas, and deep fried in house, and bowls of spicy homemade salsa are resting on the tables.

Located in the heart of Truckee, El Toro Bravo serves traditional Mexican food with a few unique menu twists. I ordered a Margarita. It was delightfully cool and refreshing with a great balance of tart, not too sweet, smooth and salty.


The Prawns Capitola is a house specialty ·

Jenny recommends the house specialty, Prawns Capitola, named after the sister restaurant in Capitola. A steaming plate of Butterflied Prawns sautéed in a red sauce with white wine, bell peppers, green onions and Mexican spices, topped off with an abundance of jalapenos and served with warm tortillas is brought to the table. A burrito fan, I ordered The Super Burrito, stuffed with refried beans, guacamole and cheese was topped with the house enchilada sauce. No wonder they call it super, it was huge.


A basket of the housemade chips & spicy salsa. ·

“We are one big family here. We have had the same cook for 27 years, so we serve consistently good food. We see very little turn over in our staff. We’ve watched our kids grow up together.” Jenny says. “The menu has been relatively the same since the restaurant opened in 1987. We’ve added Fish Tacos and some of seafood entrees over the years. Everything except the tortillas here is homemade. The tamales are made by a couple in Reno. Our goal at El Toro Bravo is to make everyone feel like family and offer them a good time.”

The menu at El Toro Bravo is extensive with plenty to choose from. The setting is friendly and the outdoor seating is a fun place to eat, drink and people watch.


El Toro Bravo is located in downtown Truckee at 10186 Donner Pass Road. For more information, call (530) 587-3557.



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Priya Hutner
Priya is a writer, personal chef and meditation teacher. Having moved to the mountains from Sebastian, Fla., she embraces the Tahoe lifestyle and loves to ski, hike, paddle and swim. Priya is the owner of The Seasoned Sage, a business that prepares organic meals and facilitates workshops that promote a health-conscious lifestyle. Priya writes feature articles about music, art, food and recreation. She loves to immerse in story. Whether jumping from a plane, eating obscure foods or hitting the Tahoe-Reno music scene, she is always up for adventure and experience. She is currently writing a memoir about her experience living on an ashram and working on a series of cookbooks.