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“Great Tasting Food”

La Cocina Bar and Grill
Ranked #34 of 481 Restaurants in Temecula
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Mexican
Restaurant details
Reviewed 1 November 2018

Stopped by for dinner. No waiting--led directly to a table. Good selection of Mexican Food items. Optional Salsa can be prepared tableside if you wish.

Date of visit: October 2018
Thank Karl B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2 - 6 of 87 reviews

Reviewed 8 October 2018 via mobile

The food on the combo plate was plentiful and tasted good. The waiter was professional and efficient. It was a Saturday night and the place was crowded. The food was warm but could gave been hotter.

Date of visit: October 2018
Thank happyflyer45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 September 2018

So, I am rather disappointed that I am writing this review and I derive little satisfaction from it but it needs to be done.

This review comes 8 months after eating at this restaurant which allowed the folks at La Cocina ample time to correct the issue.  I arranged for our (my wife and me) wedding rehearsal luncheon to take place at La Cocina with a taco bar setup in early January 2018.  During the discussion with the manager (I’ll withhold his name for now), we agreed on a date, price point and the area in the restaurant our party was to be held.  Among these agreements was a deposit of $200 to secure the room, which was to be refunded after the conclusion of the event.  I gladly allowed my credit card to be charged in December for $217.50 (yes, I was charged tax on this deposit) with the expectation it would be refunded.

A side-note regarding this particular manager: when he informed me the taco bar would include the 3 meats of carne asada, pollo and carnitas, I requested al pastor to substitute the carnitas because my family, from out of state, had not likely ever had pastor. His response, “well, carnitas,,,it’s still pork.”  What kind of manager of a Mexican cantina would essentially equate carnitas with al pastor?  Yes, sir, they are both pork but they are quite different.  So, this tipped me off early on that perhaps I was not dealing with the most qualified of managers.  Anyhow, he inquired with his cook and said I could be accommodated for an extra 50 cents per person and I agreed to this.  

So, the rehearsal luncheon day arrives and when we get to La Cocina, this manager is not even there to receive us.  Granted, I was not explicitly told by the manager that he would be there but I fully expected him to be present.  So, this was a surprise but the two employees who were assigned to handle our party were more than polite and helpful and professional, so not a big deal. 

The space was large enough, just barely, to accommodate our party and the taco bar was set up and drink orders were flowing in. Regarding the al pastor that was served, I must say it was not pastor.  It was more like marinated pork chunks à la chile colorado.  It was still very tasty but it was not what we had in mind.  I didn’t complain about it though because what was the use? 

The service ended, we packed up the leftovers and the sales bill was brought to me.  After looking over the bill, I noticed we were charged for several more people that our party did not have.  Also, there was another deposit for the room listed.  I pointed out these errors to the staff and they said they would need to contact the manager, who again was not present, to inquire about the second deposit listed on the receipt.  I said that would be fine and they returned a few minutes later with a corrected bill.  They removed the extra per person charges and the deposit.  So, all is well.  I left a nearly 20% gratuity and we departed and the staff were very helpful and quick throughout the event.  So, two thumbs up to those who assisted with our rehearsal lunch that day. 

One would think a genuinely concerned manager, who couldn’t be bothered to be present, would follow up with a customer who just spent nearly $1500 to ensure satisfaction.  No such attempt to contact me was made.  So, I wait a week and text message this manager concerning the remaining issue of a refund for the initial deposit.  I politely asked him to address the issue of $217.50 and to let me know if there was anything he needed from me to accomplish this.  His two-word response, “Will do”.  

Seven days pass by and I still have not been repaid the deposit.  Again, I inform him I have been very patient with him and to address this issue very soon.  No response…none at all.

Now, I begin to suspect I am dealing with a manager of questionable integrity.  I go to the restaurant’s website and there is a page to leave comments/messages and sent via email to the administrative office.  My hope is these messages would be seen by the owner/operators of the restaurant and I can just bypass the manager level altogether.  I actually get a call from another different manager a couple days later and he leaves me a voicemail asking that I return his call so my issue can be corrected.  I return his phone call in less than an hour and the woman who answers places me on hold to go find this gentleman who just left me a voicemail.  She returns 2-3 minutes later and informs me the manager had already left and asked if I would like to leave a message. Irritated, although not her fault, I ask her to have the manager contact me as soon as he can.  She accepts the message and hangs up.  There was no follow up after this phone call.  

I can only speculate but my suspicion is this other manager got my message from the website, responded to it not knowing what it was about and in the interim, spoke with the dubious manager and he instructed the other manager not to contact me.  

Since then, which was months ago, there has been no attempt to contact me or correct this misbehavior.  I hope the owners of La Cocina will read this and contact me.  I don’t know who the owner/s are but I think you have a bad actor in your manager and you should be aware of this employee who represents your otherwise fine brand.  

To this manager in question, you should be ashamed for misrepresenting your employer and for what…a couple hundred dollars?  You have embarrassed yourself and your family. 

Date of visit: January 2018
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Crackrjack79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 August 2018

Last night my girlfriend and I had dinner at La Cocina. While the customer noise was a bit more than I would have liked the food and service were great. Our waiter was attentive and right on time with everything. The food was tasty and way more than we could eat at one sitting.

Date of visit: August 2018
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Vic S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 July 2018 via mobile

Get there at 11:00 a.m. or after 2:30 unless you don't mind waiting.

My husband and I were seated in the dining area. Unless you area party bigger than two, eat in the bar.
We split the El pastor burrito which washuge and delicious. It comes with rice & beans, so next time I would tell them no beans in the burrito..too many. Meat was tasty, service was very good.

Date of visit: July 2018
Thank Sher1222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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