El Santo opens new stage for Mexican dining at West Hartford Center – We-Ha

El Santo Tequila & Mezcal brings the flavors of Mexico to the West Hartford Center.

A flight of tequila served in the ring, a nod to the Mexican luchadores El Santo, the restaurant’s namesake. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

By Ronni Newton

A fresh and creative take on Mexico City flavors in a cosmopolitan atmosphere defines West Hartford’s newest Mexican restaurant, El Santo, which is open just in time for Cinco de Mayo.

Located at 970 Farmington Ave. in West Hartford Center, the spacious former Cosi space has been completely transformed with warm wood accents, a full bar and a striking mural by Ben Keller – which will likely appear in many Instagram photos – i.e. a nod to the restaurant’s namesake, Mexican luchadores El Santo, a masked professional wrestler (and actor) whose storied career spanned more than five decades.

The menu is the inspiration of accomplished chef Xiomara Zamudio, co-owner of the restaurant with her husband, Daniel Chavez, as well as Luis Araujo, Yessenia Masias, Lilian Salinas and Alejandro Polanco.

The three owner couples of El Santo, now open at 970 Farmington Ave. at West Hartford Center, include (left to right): Daniel Chavez, Xiomara Zamudio, Luis Araujo, Yessenia Masias, Lilian Salinas and Alejandro Polanco. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Appetizers and small bites include the artfully served “Hanging Quesadillatas” (with flavor as bold as the presentation) – chorizo ​​and potato and corn quesadillatas hanging from a mini clothesline accompanied by mango salsa. There are also full-size quesadillas, free nachos, fresh guacamole, and pescadillas perfect for sharing ($5-$16).

Rib eye tacos on corn tortillas with charred serrano pepper, cambray onion and salsa. El Santo. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Tacos – three or four per serving – ($20-24) include luchadores with a choice of meat that includes, campechanos, birria, rib eye, Baja fish, and Gobernador tacos (blue corn tortillas with grilled shrimp, chihuahua queso , alfalfa sprouts and onions).

Tacos Birria at El Santo in West Hartford Center. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

A variety of meat and seafood entrees ($17 to $30) also highlight the menu and include chicken flautas, enchilada verdes, and a ribeye and octopus casserole. Mexican burgers include Angus beef, pineapple, guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions, and are served with house fries and chihuahua queso.

The Mexicano burgers, served as sliders for opening night at El Santo in the West Hartford Center, include Angus beef, pineapple, guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes and onions. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Seafood options include an impressive Ceviche Sampling Tower or the Ceviche El Santo (fish, shrimp, octopus, calamari, cucumber, red onion, cilantro, jalopenos, avocado, with citrus and olive oil sauce). olive), ocean tostadas and grilled zarandeado butterfly-cut pescado seasoned with Mexican spices and grilled guajillo peppers.

Santo ceviche. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

A variety of salads include the Oaxaca Mezcal (arugula, caramelized almonds, tangerines, red onion, goat cheese and sesame seeds with honey mezcal dressing) and a Casear salad ($11-$12) with the option to add chicken, steak, shrimp, scallops or octopus.

The full bar offers a variety of creative tequila and mezcal-based cocktails, including margaritas, infusions, and mescalitas. Wines by the glass, draft and bottled beers, and mocktails are also offered, along with Mexican juices.

The Classy Margarita (right) at El Santo in the West Hartford Center features Cimarron Tequila, Orange. liqueur, lime juice and agave nectar, garnished with a wheel of lime. To the left is Red Riding Hood which includes tequila, strawberry puree, lime juice, agave syrup, and Tajin rim. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Including the bar and a dining area out back, which will be available for private parties, El Santo can accommodate 76 people indoors, plus there is seating on the front patio and along the driveway on the side of the building.

El Santo is located at 970 Farmington Ave. at West Hartford Center. The restaurant will eventually open at 11:00 a.m. and include lunch service, but will only start with dinner. On Cinco de Mayo (May 5) and Mother’s Day (May 8), there will be live mariachis to accompany margaritas and meals.

For more information on El Santo, follow on Facebook or Instagram (@elsantoct), or visit the websitecall 242-262-6758 or email [email protected].

El Santo is now open at 970 Farmington Ave. at West Hartford Center. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

El Santo is now open at 970 Farmington Ave. at West Hartford Center. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Tacos Birria at El Santo in West Hartford Center. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

El Santo, now open at 970 Farmington Ave. at West Hartford Center, includes a full bar that offers a variety of tequila and mezcal cocktails. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

El Santo is now open at 970 Farmington Ave. at West Hartford Center. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

El Santo is now open at 970 Farmington Ave. at West Hartford Center. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

A mural by artist Ben Keller provides a striking backdrop and pays homage to Mexican luchadores El Santo, the restaurant’s namesake. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

A selection of salsas to accompany dishes at El Santo at West Hartford Center. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Decor at El Santo, now open at 970 Farmington Ave. at West Hartford Center, is a tribute to the restaurant’s namesake. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Taco al pastor in El Santo at West Hartford Center. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Chef Xiomara Zamudio, one of the owners of El Santo, is in the kitchen on opening night. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

El Santo is now open at 970 Farmington Ave. at West Hartford Center. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Quesadilla à El Santo, served with pico de Gallo and sour cream. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Campechanos in El Santo includes three corn tortillas filled with steak, chorizo, crispy potatoes, cambray onions and salsa. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Luchadores in El Santo includes four corn tortillas with a choice of meat (pictured with chicken), cilantro and onions. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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