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Rancho Capistrano Winery on a Sunday afternoon is a Southern California delight, especially the little cul-de-sac near the railroad station. Live music flows from the numerous wine bars, restaurants and dive bars, but the best seat in the town must go to Rancho Capistrano Winery.
The broad plate glass windows throughout the restaurant fill the tall ceilings with refracted light. The expansive patio out back is stylish and spacious as well. An accomplished guitarist serenades a serenely lounging more upscale crowd, his music trickling out onto the backstreets by the old railway cars.
Ambience is this restaurant's finest accolade. The food here is an admirable array of unique offerings, and our vegan and "gluten-free" friends were quite appreciative that they had multiple options, too. Servings are ample and artfully presented.
Chef Adrian De La Torre is an affable host who sits with us and shares his secrets concerning his seasonally adjusted menu items. He takes pride in what he creates, and it shows. These are not simply generic knock-off dishes.
The crowd is also relaxed and welcoming. We begin inside then filter out to the patio to imbibe the music as the sun slides through the trees. It is nice not to be simply rushed along by the wait staff. Couples at our neighboring tables rave about their membership to the wine club, which they say is well worth the price. This also creates the "Cheers-like" environment here; people are familiar with each other and there is an air of communal enjoyment.
Rancho Capistrano Winery is Orange County's largest winery, and creations are constantly shifting at this restaurant, averaging about 40 offerings concocted from grapes out of one the finest grape growing regions in the world.
The winery is also the winner of a record 10 "Best of San Juan" awards, including best restaurant, best dinner, best lunch, best healthy options, best ambiance, etc.
Some clients have complained about the wait time during busier hours, but once your server comes he or she is bound to be congenial and as bright as the effusive sun bathing the romantic railroad station and quaint historic shops beyond.
Rancho Capistrano Winery creates a neighborly feel by offering up a wine club that not only offers you special discounts on their ever changing variations, but also invites you to special events where you can meet regularly to share your love of wine with new and old friends.