My mother and I planned to run errands on October 15, so we decided to pick up lunch while we were in the neighborhood of the Amador Plaza Shopping Center. Before we left, we ordered lunch from El Mira Mar, a Mexican restaurant located in the Anytime Fitness shopping center on Prospect Drive. We ate there soon after they opened in November 2017, but we hadn’t been there since. So, it was time for a return visit.

Before we ordered, my mother wasn’t sure she wanted to order from El Mira Mar because of the wide variety of reviews on Yelp and other online review sites. In reading through the reviews, there were as many people who hated it as those who liked it. I convinced my mother that we should give them a try, and I contacted the restaurant on Facebook Messenger the morning of our trip to confirm that the last photos of their menu, dated August 2018, were still valid. I received a prompt response that the menu was still good.

I called before we left to order a Vegi-Enchilada for me (no sour cream), and a Fiesta Salad with shrimp for my mother. When we arrived at El Mira Mar about 25 minutes later, we saw that two women were eating under a canopy in the parking lot outside the restaurant.

When we went inside, I turned to my left to see that the table next to the window had half-eaten food from a recent customer that hadn’t yet been cleaned up. We noticed only one couple inside the restaurant. The woman I talked to on the phone and the cooks were sitting at another table talking, and none of them had masks on.

The nice lady, who we believe is the co-owner, talked fast when we arrived and invited us to sit anywhere. As she started to turn to go back to the counter, I said that we were here to pick up our lunch. We went back to the counter, and the boxes of our food were sitting in Styrofoam boxes. She opened up the boxes to show us our meals, and we confirmed the order was correct. We paid for our meals and left the restaurant in a couple of minutes carrying the boxes within a plastic bag.

My Meal

My box included two medium-sized veggie enchiladas and at least a cup of Spanish rice. The meal gives you a choice of refried, whole, or black beans, and I chose the black beans. There was a cup (if not more) of beans that was overflowing from its partition.

The enchiladas are filled with carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini, corn, and what appeared to be salsa. Green chile sauce and sprinkles of Monterey Jack cheese sat atop the flour tortillas, and shredded romaine lettuce sat off to the side.

My first bite of the enchilada was a whole broccoli floret, so I knew right away that the insides of the enchiladas were warm and cooked properly. The salsa, green chile sauce, or both had enough spices to provide enough kick as I ate through the enchiladas. The tortillas themselves were dense enough not to fall apart, and I could see each ingredient in every forkful.

The Spanish rice was light, a little spicy, and just sticky enough so most of the grains would stay on my fork. I ate a few black beans and could tell they had a little bit of spice to them, but I decided to enjoy the beans for dinner the next evening.

El Mira Mar Vegi-Enchilada with black beans

Mom’s Meal

The Fiesta Salad had at least ten pieces of shrimp on top of romaine lettuce, and the salad was tossed with sliced cucumbers, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, and avocado. The recipe for this salad changed a little over the last two years: the peppers were green instead of yellow, and there was no feta cheese, which my mother appreciated.

The salad was topped with cilantro, which my mother took pains to brush off where she could because she can only handle a small amount before she gets a stomachache. Even so, she said the vegetables were fresh and crunchy, she enjoyed the spices in the shrimp, and the fully -cooked shrimp also had their tails removed.

My mother also mentioned that she tasted something else at the bottom of the salad. She couldn’t identify it, but it may have been the combined taste of the shrimp spices, cilantro, and vegetables. Though she said halfway during her meal that she didn’t think she could finish the salad, she did exactly that a few minutes later.

The Verdict

Before I ordered, I went back and forth between ordering veggie fajitas, the veggie burrito, or the veggie enchilada. I made the right choice, as there was just the right amount of food I needed. And the food was pleasantly spicy without being hot.

My mother doesn’t usually doesn’t finish a salad unless she likes it, and she gave the salad her seal of approval. The remaining cilantro leaves on her salad didn’t trouble her stomach. What’s more, she said she was happy she took my advice and we went to El Mira Mar for lunch.

Our only note of caution is that some online reviews have noticed that servers were not wearing masks, and none of the staff was wearing masks during our brief visit. If this concerns you but you still want to enjoy their food, then consider takeout instead. El Mira Mar has good Styrofoam containers, and our food stayed warm (in the right places) during our trip home to Jackson.

Green light from both of us.

The cost for both our meals was just over $26.

Want to Try Them?

El Mira Mar serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and they are open for limited dine-in per state health regulations from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. You can get more information, view photos of their menu, and ask them questions on their Facebook page. If you want to order takeout or have any questions, call them at 209-283-0099. El Mira Mar is located at 11310 Prospect Drive in Martell.

Amador Business Ticker food reviews are adventures in local dining with Editor Eric Butow and his mom.