.Casa Rosita’s

Mi Casa, Su Casa

An Eastside Mexican food mainstay for decades, Casa Rosita’s  features the original founder’s family recipes passed down over the years.

Head chef Fernando Gonzalez was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, before moving with his family at a young age and being raised locally. A former soccer player with a chance to turn pro, he chose to become a cook to provide for his family and be closer with his mother.

He has been running the kitchen at Casa Rosita’s, his father-in-law’s business, for two years and he pairs traditional Mexican restaurant vibes with a family feel. Favorites include sizzling fajitas with bountiful peppers, onions and proteins, as well as Chili Colorado (red sauce) and Chili Verde (green sauce) with slow-cooked pork.

 The Botano, a medley of fish and shellfish combined with mildly sweet and spicy diabla sauce, is a dream come true for seafood lovers at $50 for two.  Gonzalez’s  favorite is the birria taco, combining shredded beef with melted cheese and garnished with onions, cilantro and a side of consommé. The classic square-shaped flan for dessert is postre perfection. Dark on Mondays, hours are 11am-8pm every other day.

What got you into cooking?

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FERNANDO GONZALEZ: I started working at 18 right after high school. I didn’t have a career path, but I talked to my mom and told her I was going to become a cook just like my brother so that I could provide for my family. So, I started as a dishwasher at another spot in town, and got moved up to prep cook and then line cook. I learned a lot about food and safety along the way, and now I’m able to use the same knowledge here and continue learning as well.

Tell me about the casita?

FG: Before it was a restaurant, Casa Rosita’s was a laundromat, so there is a raised little house/room right in the middle of the restaurant with many windows. People really love to be in that room for special events like birthdays, and Father’s and Mother’s Day. It fits about 20 people, and the customers love that they have their own private space that’s a little higher off the floor. It’s a very special ambiance, people and families throughout multiple generations have had many lifetime moments in there.

2608 Portola Drive, Santa Cruz, 831-346-6907; casarositas.com


  1. Well, I wanted to give this place a try and heard it was really good but I guess they’re closed permanently?
    That’s weird cause this article just came out three weeks ago..

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