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Mystery Diner: El Casanova offers rustic charm, affordable Mexican fare

BATAVIA – With so many Mexican restaurants in Kane County to choose from, it’s difficult to narrow down lunch-time cravings to just one.

El Casanova Mexican Restaurant in Batavia offers great value for the lunching crowd. The rather expansive Mexican eatery, situated near the Goodrich Randall 15 IMAX theater and Tribella Bar and Grill, delivers rustic charm and classic Mexican flavors at an affordable price.

Its richly-decorated interior is sectioned off by arches separating high-ceilinged dining rooms fit with “haunting” chandeliers, lime green textured walls and white-linen tablecloths. As if walking into a private hacienda, the space is open and inviting. The restaurant’s courtyard for al fresco dining is fit with manicured plants, terra cotta-esque tiling and a three-tiered Spanish fountain.

Based on the restaurants decor, I was surprised by its affordable pricing.

How affordable? I enjoyed the Chicken Chimichanga and Enchilada lunch special with a side of rice and beans garnished with lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream for $6.95.

The enchilada with shredded chicken was topped with red suiza sauce and cheese. The palm-sized chimichanga delivered a beautiful crunch that offset the gooey texture of the enchilada.

There are a plethora of lunch specials, all donning the same $6.95 price tag, including the Chorizo and Egg Tacos that my dining companion ordered.

“... The flavors of the egg and chorizo seemed to balance out appropriately,” commented my companion. “Sometimes, I find the flavors in chorizo dishes [to] be overwhelming, but that was not the case here. The waitress actually mentioned that the chorizo was homemade.”

We both opted for lunch specials recommended by our waitress, who was informative and friendly.
Concerning the service, my dining companion commented: “Our waitress was great – she was friendly and checked in on us just enough.”

My dining companion also enjoyed a Horchata Rice Water, a traditional Mexican beverage. The iced, milky-looking substance tasted sweet and gave off an enticing cinnamon aroma.

Every meal comes with chips with a side of mild and spicy salsa, and we decided to order guacamole, as well. As haters of guacamole imitators, we were happy to find the well-textured mixture came with onion and avocado chunks, although, I think the portion could have been slightly more generous.

The restaurant also boasts a healthy cocktail menu featuring a slew of margarita variations such as the Midori Margarita and the Azteca Margarita, as well as wine, sangria and Mexican brews.

Using fresh ingredients and secret family recipes, El Casanova delivers tasty Mexican fare for an undeniably good price.

My dining companion had it right when she said, “That place is a best-kept secret.” Well, I guess the secret’s out.

• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at the Kane County Chronicle. The diner’s identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits a different restaurant each week and then reports on the experience. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a review.

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