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Hacienda Atmosphere

El Encanto in Cave Creek is an experience like no other. It has probably been 10 years since we first were sent to try out their Mexican food. The courtyard with its pond and walls, and its many feathered ducks, swans, and birds is as enjoyable as being in an old hacienda. The "home" area is also the best ambiance we have seen anywhere in the major metro authentic everywhere that food and drink is served. El Encanto is expanding in other areas but as yet has not re-created the atmosphere that is in Cave Creek.



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Terrible Service and management

El Encanto has a beautiful setting with a pond full of ducks. We had the worst service I have ever experienced. After about an hour, 2 bowls of chips and a few margaritas we were brought food we never ordered. Our waitress returned shortly after to confirm what we did order and appeared to be putting our order in for the first time. I was fine with everything heck I was drinking margaritas, but the thing that finally got to me (besides seeing all the people come and go that we sat well after us) was watching the manager ask every table around us how they were doing and never once would come to our table. I assume he must have known that there was a mess up on our table. He was all around us on 4 occasions and never once asked. We paid our bill and left.

The food wasn't half bad when we finally got it but our server was awful and the manager was worse. Problems happen it's how you handle them that counts. We won’t be back.



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Been eating here for years

And have always liked the food and atmosphere very much up until the last two meals here. They have gotten terrible and will not return, even though I have lived nearby since 1984.



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Worst Mexican we ever had

HUGE disappointment. Was recommended by an acquaintance, we had company from out of town. We were ashamed after we took them there. The food, service, and ambiance was AWFUL. The server never checked and even after we asked for the check he still hung out at the front joking around with the rest of the staff. The food was terrible. We each ordered something different and all hated our food and didn't finish it. When we were ordering my husband told the server I wasn't sure what I wanted, he got an attitude right off the bat. Then there was a duck right outside the window crapping and begging for our food. That was the high point of our evening. Don't waste your time or money.



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The worst Mexican in Arizona

We live about two miles from El Encanto. It used to be our favorite mexican restaurant. apparently, ownership recently changed and it is now easily the worst mexican food in the Valley. We ordered the Pollo Fundido which was supposed to be chicken cooked in spices with onions and peppers covered with cream cheese sauce and cheddar. What I got was plain chunks of chicken with no onions or peppers wrapped in a second rate tortilla covered with a gummy cream cheese sauce and no cheddar. When I asked the waitress why there were no onions or peppers inside she went and got the 18 year old manager (haha) who tried to convince me that the stewpot it was cooked in had onions and peppers in it but they ""dissolve"" and can't be seen! What a hoot!

I insisted their menu either mislead the customer by saying it included onions and peppers, or they must think I was about as stupid as a rock. She more or less assured me I was stupid as a rock and did not offer to actually make one the right way, allow me to order something described correctly, or not charge me for the lump of tasteless chicken sitting on my plate.

My wife had fish and claims it tasted as bad as the pond outside now smells. It's too bad, this was once an excellent restaurant that used to be packed with customers. Now it is a place to be avoided. And by looking at all the empty booths during what is snowbird season, word has obviously gotten out.

Please...Someone open a decent mexican restaurant in Cave Creek or'll make a KILLING!



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Not what it used to be. . .

This place is not what is used to be. Any review from last year is out of date. You would do better defrost some frozen food than eat here. We arrived early, and were seated quickly, but discovered that the rules had changed and the dreaded ""no substitutions"" rules were now in effect. When we did order, the appetizers came out with the entrees. We sent them back to the kitchen where the food apparently sat under a warming lamp until we had eaten the appetizers. When the entrees where brought to the table, they were cold, dry and inedible. Over priced, now over rated, and not worth the effort of the drive.



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Good but not great. If you are afraid of birds, sit inside!

The outdoor dining can be great, but the song birds can be out of control. I give the food a solid B, compared to Dallas restaurants, and the ambience is great. However, one time the birds were flocking onto the tables around us when other diners left and it felt a little unsanitary to have them flying all around us!

Service is slow. Been here a few times and every time was the same in this regard.

Nontheless, I do strongly recommend el Encanto (which means the spell, charm or incantation). The inside tables facing the lake but behind glass look like the way to go. Probably should call ahead to reserve those if you can.

This building is amazing. Tired of chain food and cookie cutter restaurants? Then you really must try this place. If you have to wait, they have a beautiful courtyard and the cozy dark lobby is full of atmosphere. el Encanto will cast its spell on you!



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Best in the valley

This place is so good it was even in a novel written by a local author. I have been going to this place for years and can say that it is the best. The other reviews explain how great the atmosphere is, and it is, so I will not get into that. Best chips and salsa, best beans and rice, and strong drinks. My favorite artery clogger is the Pollo Con Queso. It is sooo good and sooo bad at the same time. Deep fried shredded chicken burrito with jalapeno cream cheese on top and cheddar cheese melted on top of that. You will not be disappointed by this place and it is worth the visit, I just hope it doesn't get too out of control popular. The next best Mexican food that I've had: Ajo Al's (70th st and Shea location), Julio G's on Indian School, and Valle Luna (35th Ave and Bell). The atmosphere and the fact that El Encanto is inside what looks like an old ranch home makes it special. The dining area is cozy and there are many unexpected nooks and crannies in this place.



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Great Ambience!

OK! I am a pretty picky person here in the Valley of the Sun. My honest opinion was it was pretty good. Carefree/Cavecreek area is far outside of Central Phoenix but its definitely an experience. They are located in a authentic looking Mexican style building in a very old part of Cavecreek/Carefree. They have a beautiful pond with live ducks and swans. The service could have been a tad faster but being that the restaurant seats over 400 and it was a Friday night rush, I can over look that part a little. Flan was phenomenal. We shared the fajitas which were tasty but if I were you I would ask for them straight from the kitchen and not wrapped. When you wrap up a tortilla too tightly you run the risk of them cracking, and if you ever had a hole in your fajita you can forget about that new shirt :).

Check out my Blog for other restaurant critiques at crediblyedible on blogspot.



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User review by heidime5

My boyfriend and I went there a few years back for Valentine's day. It was raining so we could not eat out in the patio as originally planned, however they sat us in a very nice spot where we could see outside. The mood was perfect with their little private booths, mariachi band and candle lit dinner. We looked out into the small lake while it rained and it looked like we were in Mexico. It was beautiful, wonderul service and the food was good. Don't recommend the needed more flavor. But otherwise it was fantastic!



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A friends mom took my friend and I here the first time for dinner and I fell in love with it! The food is pretty good, service is awesome, margaritas are pretty strong (well at least for me), and the atmosphere...can you say...beautiful, peaceful, and fun all at the same time. Sitting outdoors next to the pond is mandatory! I've taken many friends there afterwards...and they all brag about what a great place it is. Price I would say is average...had the Chimichanga combo and a margarita...$15-20 including tip which I would definitely say is worth it for this place. Even though I drive about 30 minutes to get is well worth it and the people with you will agree. Great place for casual dinner, romantic evening, and family gatherings!!! Definitely would recommend it to anyone that wants to show off the nicer side of things of Phoenix!!!!



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Thumbs up!

Mango Margarita is a must! Food is awesome. A little pricey though. Atmosphere is out of this world especially outside/patio or inside booths next to pond. Need to impress someone? Take them to this restaurant for an unforgetable experience. Large place, but it can get very crowded. A++



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!!Es muy bueno!!

El Encanto is amazing and the word is spreading. If you go, call ahead for reservations and request patio seating. The patio seating is unbeatable with an upfront view of a quiet secluded pond shaded by gorgeous trees. The salsa and chips are fresh, homemade and craveable. Top favorites are the chicken mole, pollo fundido and margaritas. If you go at sundown, you may see the resident great horned owl.


Phone: (480) 488-1752

Address: 6248 E Cave Creek Rd, Cave Creek, AZ 85331


More Info

General Info
El Encanto is a restaurant that was established in 1989 by Bill Nelson. The restaurant specializes in Mexican cuisine. Its menu includes a variety of appetizers, soups, side dishes and combination platters. The restaurant serves enchiladas, tamales, tacos, tostadas, burros, shrimp, avocado and quesadillas. It also offers tortillas, chimichangas, pancakes, bacon and French toast. El Encanto features various types of wines, including sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir, zinfandel, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. The restaurant provides banquet facilities for weddings, company parties and family reunions. It additionally offers off-site catering services. Located in Cave Creek, Ariz., El Encanto has received several awards and recognitions.
BBB Rating
BBB Rating and Accreditation information may be delayed up to a week.
Extra Phones

Phone: (480) 488-0024

Fax: (480) 488-2485

Payment method
all major credit cards
Price Range
Cave Creek

El Encanto Mexican Patio Cafe

El Encanto Mexican Restaurant-Cave Creek

Other Emails

Other Information

Parking: Free

Wi-Fi: No

Bike Parking: Yes

Attire: Casual

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Cuisines: Caterers, Family Style, Mexican, American, Latin American

Alcohol: Full Bar

Takes Reservations: Yes

Outdoor Seating: Yes

Price Range : Average