Eatery - Antojitos Don Juan (CA)

Super Antojitos on Urbanspoon

1130 W Warner Ave, Santa Ana, CA 92707
Pricing - $$/$$$ | Dining - Casual | Cuisine - Mexican

Every once in a while, I feel the need to purchase one of the certificates when they go on sale (seriously, they drop 90% sometimes). Whilst searching for participating places in my area in ABC order, I just ended up picking a certificate for Antojitos Don Juan after looking at the very positive Yelp reviews. Sounds pretty good to me! Duc and I finally went there when we were in the area but we had already eaten - bad move since the food was fairly sizeable.

We started off with some horchata and the complimentary chips with salsa; fabulous horchata. The owner came out and greeted us immediately. It was actually a pretty small place inside with approximately 8 small tables. He told us that he had a philosophy on food, especially the not-so Mexican food around. He cooks based on authentic home recipes and in true fashion, the menus were in Spanish so we chatted with him on what to order and what the items were.


Our first delicious monstrosity was the molcajete, a large beast of a stone pot filled with goodies. There was a wide thin slab of beef that we devoured first, tangy cactus split into pieces, a pat of real chorizo, a pounded flat chicken breast, long wilted green onions, melted cheese, a split jalapeno pepper, and loads of beans. I loved that the chorizo was homemade instead of overly greasy like store-bought varieties. The beans weren't very flavorful but I think the point was to highlight the other meats/offerings in the fresh tortillas. A delicious stone goody basket indeed.

Our appetizer was the camarones aguachile, raw shrimp in a sauce of lime chile and salt. I was a bit surprised at first when I saw him bring out the plate but it just looks uncooked but then I noticed that the shrimp had been butterfly-cut. The citrus in limes and lemons have a tendency to cook shrimp so it made sense that these shrimp were swimming in lime. I only managed to eat one of these because I had a sore in my mouth at the time - can you say ouch? It was very lime-y and cooked the shrimp to a nice raw-feeling as I bit into them. We took the rest home.

The star of the show was the plate of camarones españoles, the bacon-wrapped shrimp. The shrimp had been butterfly-cut, combined with crab, covered in a batter and bacon, and deep fried. That sounds crazy right? Well it was - crazy good. The sauce that smothered these pieces were superb, and the butterflying of the shrimp was quite smart because it made the whole piece seem so much more substantial. I swear, one of the best things I've had the pleasure of eating. Crispy and full of flavor, these were amazing. The rice that came along with the plate was also probably the best Mexican style rice I've ever had. Well done to this restaurant for its great service and food - will come back!