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Best of 2001: Best Healthy Mexican Food

Ranchos Cocina
3910 30th Street (at University),
North Park
619-574-1288
1830 Sunset Cliffs Boulevard,
Ocean Beach
619-226-7619
4705 Point Loma Avenue, Ocean Beach
619-224-9815

The restaurant's underlying ethos involves cooking with olive or vegetable oil (no lard), organic milk, organic vegetables and fruit (when available), and daily fresh fish. Vegetarian and vegan choices are vast -- but the menu also includes meats and poultry, with no stern or snooty judgments attached. The menu offers countless inventive riffs on the overall theme of antojitos, a.k.a. wraps, plus a group of "Rancho Substantials," serious entrée platters with fish, chicken, seafood, steak -- and, of course, veggies. A large, flavorful whole-wheat quesadilla filled with the "meat" of a smoked shiitake patty is among the highlights, as is a tostada of luscious little langostinos (slipper lobsters) and a sandwich of a big, tender, lightly fried calamari steak. The decor mirrors the freshness of the ingredients; all the Ranchos boast riotously colorful container gardens, including a lush, jungle-like covered courtyard at the Sunset Cliffs location and an ever-growing sidewalk patio in North Park.

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Ranchos Cocina
3910 30th Street (at University),
North Park
619-574-1288
1830 Sunset Cliffs Boulevard,
Ocean Beach
619-226-7619
4705 Point Loma Avenue, Ocean Beach
619-224-9815

The restaurant's underlying ethos involves cooking with olive or vegetable oil (no lard), organic milk, organic vegetables and fruit (when available), and daily fresh fish. Vegetarian and vegan choices are vast -- but the menu also includes meats and poultry, with no stern or snooty judgments attached. The menu offers countless inventive riffs on the overall theme of antojitos, a.k.a. wraps, plus a group of "Rancho Substantials," serious entrée platters with fish, chicken, seafood, steak -- and, of course, veggies. A large, flavorful whole-wheat quesadilla filled with the "meat" of a smoked shiitake patty is among the highlights, as is a tostada of luscious little langostinos (slipper lobsters) and a sandwich of a big, tender, lightly fried calamari steak. The decor mirrors the freshness of the ingredients; all the Ranchos boast riotously colorful container gardens, including a lush, jungle-like covered courtyard at the Sunset Cliffs location and an ever-growing sidewalk patio in North Park.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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