Camino Real Kitchen & Tequila

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By Jessica Martinez
Staff Writer

Image by Autumn Parry/The Bakersfield Californian Camino Real’s new location has opened at 4501 Stine Road.

Image by Autumn Parry/The Bakersfield Californian
Camino Real’s new location has opened at 4501 Stine Road.

Camino Real Kitchen & Tequila Bakersfield is definitely not lacking when it comes to our selection of Mexican cuisine, but Camino Real Kitchen & Tequila is not your traditional Mexican restaurant. Its slogan is “Mexican Inspired with California Love,” and I couldn’t think of a better way to describe it myself. Camino Real brings a refreshing twist to all the dishes we love, while also adding a few of their own. The menu offers traditional Mexican dishes such as enchiladas and fajitas, but
you’ll also find an orange chicken burrito, sweet chicken Thai pasta, fried tamales, and unique fusions like chile verde fries and “Juan-tons.”

Camino Real was originally located on Truxtun Avenue, where the much larger restaurant also featured nightlife entertainment. The restaurant recently relocated to a smaller location on Stine Road, where their main focus now is the food and drinks. The decor of the restaurant is beautiful, and they play wonderful Mexican music which is just loud enough to enjoy, creating a warm and pleasant atmosphere. My only complaint is the seating; the wooden benches are uncomfortably hard, and being only 5’0”, I also feel that they are too far from the table. I visited the restaurant on a Thursday night with a group of 11 family members and friends. Once seated, our server was very patient and accommodating while taking orders for different tickets.

Camino Real serves complimentary baskets of chips along with three different salsas: a sweet and mild red, a tangy and spicy green, and a tomato and corn salsa. All three tasted great – it was nice to see some variety on something as simple as chips and salsa. One of my favorite aspects about Camino Real is that they offer many signature cocktails; they can even be served in large mason jars for only $14. The Mexican Mojito tasted refreshing, combining coconut and mint, while the glass was rimmed with sugar. For our entrees, we ordered chicken, steak, and shrimp fajitas, California enchiladas, chicken fettuccine, and a couple of different steaks. I had the torta a la plancha with carna asada. The torta also contains grilled onions, bacon, cheese, and a sweet and tangy chipotle BBQ sauce, and is then flattened and grilled, similar to a panini. Tortas, Mexican sandwiches, are one of my favorite Mexican dishes, and I loved this update on a classic. The torta bread was fluffy on the inside with a slight crunch from the grilling.

The carne asada was cooked just right, and was complemented well by the bacon, onions, cheese, and a perfect amount of barbeque sauce. The torta was served with Camino Real’s homemade beer-battered fries, which were golden brown and crispy on the outside while tender on the inside. I enjoyed my meal at Camino Real, and I look forward to sampling more dishes on the menu.

Image by Autumn Parry/The Bakersfield Californian Camino Real’s sizzling enchiladas are a treat.

Image by Autumn Parry/The Bakersfield Californian
Camino Real’s sizzling enchiladas are a treat.

Miguel Ruiz, a CSUB senior and criminal justice major said, “The fajitas were really good. I’d definitely go there again.”

Besides the excellent food, the service at Camino Real was also great. Our server had plenty of help when it came to refilling drinks, bringing out dishes and extra sides, and keeping the table clean so we would have enough room. Even the restaurant’s owner, Alejandro Ocampo, was seen hosting, bussing, serving, and greeting his guests to ask how they were doing, implying a genuine passion for what he does.

Cristian Martinez, a sophomore and criminal justice major said, “The staff was friendly with good customer service. From what I ordered, the food was really good. That’s one place I would go back to. I would highly recommend it.”

Camino Real offers a unique take on Mexican cuisine that is so rarely experienced inBakersfield. They also provide a variety of different specials, including a lunch buffet Monday-

Friday for $9.95, “Happy Days” $3 house margaritas, and are open daily until midnight. I definitely recommend taking the time to check out Camino Real Kitchen & Tequila for some fantastic food and drinks.