by Terrance Mc Arthur
Our roving food critic Terrance Mc Arthur continues his search for great food in Sanger and the surrounding communities. Check out more Great Food Search here!
Parts of the Castillo family have been feeding Fresnans for decades, and one section of the clan is dishing it up at Castillo’s Mexican Restaurant in the Tower District, 568 E. Olive Ave.
It’s dark, but cozy, with bright, colorful walls, decorated with the artwork of a Mexican heritage, the perfect place for an intimate just-us-two evening or a happy don’t-make-Mom-cook night. The staff is cheerful, friendly, helpful, and pretty quick on the preparing.I’m an albondigas fan, and love to try the meatball soup wherever I may find it. Castillo’s presents a hearty broth that holds generous chunks of carrot and potato, waving banners of onion, and a tasty meatball of goodly size.
The Chile Colorado has a deep redness that rivals the smoky salsa, and a taste that leaves you wanting more, even though there is more than enough. The beef is savory and comes apart with ease. The Chile Verde is a pile of green-sauced pork. The rice and beans are rice and beans, with the refried beans thick enough to mortar a brick wall, just the way I like it, and the rice is puffy and proud to share the plate.
Tacos are a basic food, but some basics are more basic than others, and some basics are better than others. The tacos at Castillo’s are flaky, not soggy… multi-cheesy goodness… shredded-beef satisfaction… easy on the shredded lettuce… begging for a thick dollop of the salsa… basically amazing. The enchiladas bask in the rich sauce, blanketed by a crazy quilt of melted cheese.
The Chile Relleno had a self-confidence and avoided mushiness. I could call it perky, even. The food was worth the trip to the Tower District. In fact, we came back a week later for a return visit (for research purposes only, of course). I must admit that one of the reasons I like Castillo’s on Olive so much is that it is just across the street from Casa de Tamales, and I can dash over to grab a dessert or tomorrow’s lunch on the way back to my car.
Castillo’s is open 11 to 8 Tuesday through Thursday, 11-9 Friday and Saturday, and 11-3 on Sunday. Call (559) 981-5732 for reservations. Make sure you check out their Facebook page for the daily lunch specials.
Castillo’s Mexican Restaurant
568 E. Olive Avenue
Fresno, CA 93728