.El Toro Bravo Rocks Sizzling Enchiladas

The Capitola restaurant has been treating diners like family for over 50 years

Hillary Guzman’s grandma Delia Rey opened El Toro Bravo in 1967, and Hillary started working there in 1999 temporarily but decided to stay when her father moved away. She says the restaurant is treated like a family member and emits a friendly vibe. Guzman defines the cuisine as traditional northern Mexican food. The menu masterpiece is the enchilada sauce: comforting, like a scratch-made gravy, locals rave about it. Enchilada filling options include ground beef, shredded chicken, prawns or crab grilled in lemon garlic butter. The tender and lean beef chili verde is another stand-out. The grilled cod soft taco is a good lighter option.

Meanwhile, the 222 app comes with six oysters prepared three ways: chorizo and cheese, spinach and cheese and lemon garlic butter and cheese. The dessert must-have is the sopapilla, a fried flour tortilla with cinnamon, sugar, vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup. El Toro is open daily, 11:30am-9pm. Guzman talked to GT about her family’s resilience in the recent storms.

How did the storm affect the business?

HILLARY GUZMAN: We were affected in multiple ways. Financially, it set us back. We lost a lot of product and several business days, and our family did the clean-up ourselves. But most importantly, it was saddening to see our neighboring businesses affected too because, to us, they’re not just businesses; they are our personal friends. But we are a tight community, and I’m very optimistic we will rebuild and succeed.

How would you describe your family legacy?

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We are not going anywhere; we are into our fourth family generation running this restaurant. We are the longest continually operating restaurant in the Capitola Village, and we have no plans on quitting. We come from a long line of stubborn, hard-working women. El Toro Bravo means “brave bull,” and that is us. 

El Toro Bravo, 123 Monterey Ave., Capitola, 831-476-1553; eltorobravocapitola.com


  1. I love El Toro Bravo! I’ve been eating there for decades.We used to order take out and take it into the Capitola Theater.

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  2. I remember Dee at El Toro Bravo in Truckee when Iovef there from Capitols and Annie was there Dee let me stay at her house at ponderosa estates for free such a great family miss them

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  3. The Oysters are “over the top.”…..
    Dee put so much love and hard work into this beloved Restaurant when she opened in 1967.
    It has been family owned and operated since then……
    generation after generation it will live on because of the “long line of stubborn, hard working women”……..
    thus, the name “El Toro Bravo.”
    The Babe Bull..

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