The Roanoke Rodeo
The location is great. It sits on top of a hill and provides a great view of the surrounding mountains. There are a few power lines that block some of the views, but other than that, you really get a picture of the surrounding area. Many people say Carlos offers the best view from any restaurant in Roanoke but I think the one from El Rodeo is better, especially when you consider the abundance of patio seating that’s available.
The open patio and views along with the casual atmosphere and friendly servers make it a great place to enjoy a meal with a large group or just a family outing.
I love the atmosphere, but that really wouldn’t mean anything to me if the food wasn’t up to the same standard. No worries. El Rodeo delivers on the flavors too.
Things like carnitas, tacos al pastor, fish tacos, and machaca are all on the menu - you just have to take the time to find them. It’s worth looking because this is where you find the food that has really outstanding flavor.
On a recent visit, I ordered the fish tacos. It was three tacos on corn tortillas with large chunks of sauteed tilapia, pico de gallo, and lime. I was amazed at how much fish they put on each taco. The tilapia was cooked and seasoned perfectly and I loved how fresh the ingredients in the pico tasted. And they managed to make the tacos in a way that they were moist, but not so much so that the juices caused the tortillas to become soggy. If there is a restaurant in Roanoke serving better fish tacos, I haven’t found it.
My tacos also came with a side of rice and beans and chips & salsa are served to the table before your entrees arrive. All of these are pretty standard fare that is on par with most other Mexican restaurants. For $10, the three fish tacos, rice, beans, and chips & salsa is an enormous amount of food and a great value. It’s actually big enough to share.
Now I’ve come to a dilemma upon any visit to El Rodeo. I’m stuck in the difficult situation of trying other things on the menu with the hope that they’re just as good as the fish tacos, or sticking with the fish tacos because I know I love them.
Such a difficult choice. I know. #FirstWorldFatPeopleProblems.
Update - May 2014
The Pollo a la Mexicana features strips of chicken, bell peppers, onions, and zucchini that's served over Mexican rice and covered with queso and cilantro. It's fantastic! Substitute the chicken with shrimp, which they'll do at no extra charge, and it's even better!
Don't be suckered into going in to the other El Rodeo restaurants in the area thinking they're all the same. This one is by far the best.
El Rodeo Mexican Restaurant
3280 Electric Road
Roanoke, VA 24018