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El Gallito

68820 Grove St., Cathedral City, CA - (760) 328-7794
Posted By Michael Stern on 9/16/2001 2:38:00 PM
In and around Palm Springs, there are plenty of swank restaurants, but few simple places that serve real food at reasonable prices. That is why we were thrilled to find a pretty little café named El Gallito by the side of the road in Cathedral City. Serving locals for nearly a quarter century now, El Gallito offers a broad menu of mostly familiar Mexican dishes such as tacos, chilies rellenos, enchiladas, and burritos. In our experience, they are all good, but we are especially fond of such daily specials as carnitas (shredded pork) every Thursday, chicken mole (Friday) and menudo (Saturday).

We also like El Gallito’s chilies. They are California style, meaning not fire-hot, and they are mighty tasty: either chili Colorado, which is bite-size pieces of beef in a peppery red sauce, or chili verde, which is beef cooked with green peppers, onions and shreds of tomato. The “El Gallito Especial” is a half-and-half plate of both kinds of chili – what New Mexico knows as Christmas – green and red, side by side.

El Gallito is outfitted in traditional Mexican-restaurant décor (serapes, sombreros, velvet paintings) and operates according to many rules posted throughout the dining room and written in the menu – some serious, some silly. A placard hanging over the dining room notes: If you have reservations, you are at the wrong place. A sign in the entryway advises: WE ARE NOT A BAR. Beer/wine is only served to those who dine with us. Furthermore, be advised that there is a limit of three drinks per customer, and persons who seem to have been drinking will not be served.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
carnitas
red and green chili
chicken mole
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Chicken Mole, which uses both white and dark meat, is a Friday-only special.
"Chicken Mole, which uses both white and dark meat, is a Friday-only special."
Cliff Strutz





If you want to sample both the red and green chile, the El Gallito Especial is the way to go. That is Chile Colorado on the left, Chile Verde on the right.
"If you want to sample both the red and green chile, the El Gallito Especial is the way to go. That is Chile Colorado on the left, Chile Verde on the right."
Cliff Strutz


The salsa here is fiery hot!
"The salsa here is fiery hot!"
Cliff Strutz


We aren't 100% sure that the tortillas are made in-house, but they are perfect for sopping up the leftover chile.
"We aren't 100% sure that the tortillas are made in-house, but they are perfect for sopping up the leftover chile."
Cliff Strutz


The chimichanga features shredded beef, melted cheese, Ranchera sauce, and generous portions of sour cream and guacamole.
"The chimichanga features shredded beef, melted cheese, Ranchera sauce, and generous portions of sour cream and guacamole."
Cliff Strutz


Chickens seem to be a big part of the interior decor.
"Chickens seem to be a big part of the interior decor."
Cliff Strutz


Not a famous restaurant, but a landmark for those in search of honest meals
"Not a famous restaurant, but a landmark for those in search of honest meals"
Michael Stern


El Gallito's brightly-painted exterior almost glows in the California desert sunlight.
"El Gallito's brightly-painted exterior almost glows in the California desert sunlight. "
Michael Stern



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