Balboa Island, California--When you shop & stroll Balboa Island, a community of Newport Beach, you quickly notice one of the favorite things to do is eat. From the famous frozen, chocolate-dipped, nut-covered banana on a stick to Balboa Bars, snacks & treats are just the beginning of great eats.
One of our favorite, affordable restaurants on the island is Picante Martin, serving tacos, tamales, enchiladas, burritos, and even Molé, the slow cooked chicken dish that includes many spices--and chocolate! We've tried the Molé which was great but far too filling for my taste during lunch.
My favorite is simple--two tacos a'la carte. The best part of any chicken dish at Picante Martin is that chicken tastes like it is cooked slow, simmered in a pot. It tastes fresh, flavorful, and the meat is a real chicken, not the frozen restaurant stuff that comes pre-cut and shaped for food serving. Another restaurant that rivals this quality of chicken is Taco Jr. in Costa Mess on Harbor Blvd., approx. four miles distance.
The photo shows a chicken salad with gobs of guacamole and a spoonful of sour cream. Covered over a bed of lettuce and crunchy corn tortilla chips, then topped with a mild salsa, the meal is quite filling & delicious.
The cafe is small. There are four or five tables for 2, and a couple bar stools and tall tables filling the restaurant. Many days there's not enough room to eat in so some will go ahead and sit outside, dining on the benches. Picante Martin is expanding as its popularity has grown, and it soon can meet the demands of visitors and repeat local customers seeking delicious fast food that offers generous servings and great prices.
Other dining on Balboa Island is generally more expensive, except for the Chinese restaurant on the same side of the street half a block away.