With its long front portal and expansive back patio, this ancient adobe restaurant is a lovely spot to enjoy the afternoon and evenings of summer. The roomy, rustic lounge has a true Old West atmosphere—there's been a bar on the premises since 1835—and you can order some fine Spanish brandies and sherries in addition to cold beers, sangria, and margaritas, and the kitchen turns out authentic Spanish fare, from hearty paellas to lighter tapas. It's a great place to see a variety of music; the dance floor fills up with a friendly crowd.
Jun 14, 2015
First let me say, Angela, our server was AMAZING. Everything else about El Farol was AWFUL and completely not worth the money. I would never ever ever ever ever ever go back there, even if they paid me. My husband and I went on our vacation to Santa Fe and were originally going to go to El Meson for dinner, but unfortunately, they were on vacation when we came in June. We decided instead to go to El Farol to see the Flamenco dinner show. I was
really excited to see the show because I love Flamenco dancing. The cover for the show was $25 per person. I called two weeks in advance to make the reservations. We arrived an hour and a half before the Flamenco performance was set to begin and were shown to our table. I was immediately disappointed. We were shown to a small table at the very back of the venue. There was very little view of the stage at all. I expressed disappointment and was told that people who had tables closer to the stage arrived two hours early and was told that if I wanted a better view of the stage that I should have come earlier. I was also told that the restaurant had overbooked the performance, meaning that there were some people who paid to see the show who didn't even have a table to sit at during the Flamenco performance. I said that I was a bit sad because together my husband and I paid a lot of money to see the show and we would not get a view. The hostess that I talked to went to get the manager (I think, but I suspect it was the owner's wife). She came over and fussed at me and told me that I would have a great view from the table we were at and that we would be able to "see just fine." I knew this would not be true. My husband suggest that we just leave. I would have, but when you make reservations for the show, they take your credit card number and they charge you cover whether you see it or not. We stayed so we would not lose $50. We ordered dinner. Our table was so small that it was a juggling effort to make two entree plates fit on it. The food was only okay. It was VERY overpriced. My husband and I ate dinner at the Amaya the night before and not only was the food cheaper at that fine establishment, but it was of a superior quality. The salmon at El Farol was overcooked and the portion sizes were very small. The Flamenco show began at 8:30 pm. And as I suspected I couldn't see. Flamenco is a wonderful expressive dance that is 90% footwork. I had to sit on my knees on a bar stool in order to get a glimpse of the dancers' feet. Even so, I really didn't see much. Plus, there was a post smack dab in the middle of the room. Other servers and the bus boy kept going back and forth and blocked the limited view that I did have from sitting on my knees. The audience also ruined the experience. There was a table of entitled girls who kept talking during the Flamenco show. The whole room shushed them many times. The Flamenco performers asked the audience not to use flash photography or record the performance. No one, of course, listened to this. They were very disrespectful of the performers. The owner also ruined the evening. He stood right in front of the stage watching the dancers or moved around the restaurant blocking people's views. He pushed in between my husband and I to try to get a set of Christmas lights to turn on, but never apologized for it and never said he apologized for my poor view, even though he saw me sitting on my knees on the bar stool. So, to sum up. The server was wonderful. The food was mediocre and overpriced. The venue is not a performance venue. Don't let the owner fool you into believing it is. The Flamenco was good, I think, but I wouldn't really know because I couldn't see. If you really care about good food and good Flamenco, El Farol is not the place for you. Instead, see what's on at the GiG Space. Now, THAT'S a music venue!!!!!!