Recently, while traveling along the coast highway, I found a restaurant just down the street which caught my attention. It was Hacienda Playa on Pershing, in Playa Del Rey. While checking out the ambiance of the restaurant, I met Pat Green, the general manager of the Hacienda Playa, Hacienda Del Rey and Los Ponchos restaurants.
Pat, a former police officer, has a wealth of knowledge about the restaurant business. According to Pat, Alfonso Hernandez family, the owner of the restaurants, has a 43 year reputation of serving the community. Alfonso and his family sponsored many local sport teams and assisted many area schools in fund raising projects. The Hacienda restaurants have been the location of many local families celebrating their birthdays, wearing the traditional sombrero and blowing a candle out in the traditional Mexican desserts. Now four generations of customers come in to enjoy authentic Mexican dishes and visit their amazing staff.
One of the family restaurants, Los Ponchos was opened 26 years ago by Yolanda Hernandez, wife of Alfonso. Los Ponchos is located at 162 La Brea and serves more traditional authentic style Mexican dishes. The family and their dedicated staff are passionate in creating authentic Mexican cuisine. This is demonstrated in many of their dishes. One of Pat’s favorites is their tortilla chicken soup which is served with a chicken thigh, drum stick, and chunks of vegetables. Los Ponchos serves more than food on weekend nights, customers can enjoy DJ music, dancing, and a wonderful Sunday buffet brunch.
While at Hacienda Playa located on Pershing, we started the evening with Pat surprising me with Kiwi and Passion fruit margaritas. Our dining course started with mini quesadillas and their homemade baked chips and sauces. My entree was Chef Tanila’s Special, which was prepared with chicken topped with zucchini, mushrooms and melted cheese. My guest enjoyed the enchilada Del Mar with cheese which she asked to make a special dish. It was prepared with shrimp, crab, fresh red and green sauces. Of course, we had to enjoy the homemade flan and their homemade tortilla. It was a relaxing evening, Oh, I should also mention the Passion fruit ice tea was excellent.
Pat invited us to visit Hacienda Del Rey located on Lincoln Blvd. to experience another family restaurant. Hacienda Del Rey has been the neighborhood Mexican restaurant for 43 years. It has served four generations of local families.
The next evening we accepted Pat’s invitation and stopped by Hacienda Del Rey. We arrived at about 7pm to a full packed house. What a celebration, with basketball on the LCD screens and various individuals celebrating their birthdays.
Ziki, the waiter, who has been their longest serving, sat us in front of the tortilla maker, who was making fresh homemade tortilla right in front of us. Within a short time we were seated in a romantic spot. First thing we ordered and enjoyed was Guacamole with a touch of lime and homemade chips. I ordered the Tortilla soup and a Queso fondue. What a taste!
My guest ordered a Vegan Enchilada and I ordered the Mexican Combo, served with a taco, Chile Relleno, enchilada and rice and beans. Just to give you an idea of where Chile Relleno derived from, it was originated in city of Pueblo. It is one of my favorite dishes and is prepared with a beaten egg and flour in a stuffed, roasted fresh poblano and pepper with cheese.
The waiters, Ziki Pena and Juve Herrera have both served patrons of the Hacienda for 43 years. Many of the customers will ask for them by name and are willing to wait for their service. That is due to the relationships both waiters have established throughout the years.
I would also like to mention that they are famous for their Chef’s special, Fajitas and their margaritas. For example, their strawberry margarita is created with fresh strawberry and crafted by their famous bartenders.
I had a pleasurable experience at both Hacienda restaurants. If you like the family spirit atmosphere with traditional Mexican dishes, you’ll be very pleased with both of the Haciendas locations.
Hacienda Del Rey is located at 8347 Lincoln Blvd. in Playa del Rey (310)-670-8555 and Hacienda Playa is located at 8415 Pershing Dr. (310)-751-6135. Both of the restaurants provide catering service (310-895-4365).
Celebrity Scene News awards Hacienda Del Rey and Hacienda Play 4 stars for excellent service and authentic Mexican cuisine.