Richmond’s newest culinary hotspot

Richmond's newest culinary hotspot
El Agave Azul is located at 12955 San Pablo Ave., Richmond, near the San Pablo border. (All photos by Kathy Chouteau)

By Kathy Chouteau

You’ve got to love a restaurant that not only brings delicious food to the neighborhood, but also helps beautify it. With its vibrant exterior murals and mouth-watering Mexican menu selections, El Agave Azul has done just that since swinging open its doors last month.

The Rich Life stopped by El Agave Azul on a recent Friday night to test out the gastronomic creations of Richmond’s newest culinary hot spot. Even amidst the hustle and bustle of San Pablo Ave., the restaurant was easy to spot thanks to its colorful Huichol art inspired murals that wrap around its entire building.

From the moment our group stepped in the door, we were greeted with a certain brand of warm hospitality seldom experienced when dining out these days. El Agave Azul’s interior matched the friendliness of this initial greeting, with its warm and inviting décor awash in art, tin ceiling tiles, decorative tequila bottles and other eye-catching Mexican cultural tips of the hat.

In the main dining room, the kitchen staff could be spotted buzzing with activity; adjacent to this main room were a smaller windowed sunroom overlooking San Pablo Avenue, and on the other side, a large, sleek-looking, full-service bar area with ample seating. Aside from some of the most flavorful margaritas I’ve tasted in years, El Agave Azul’s bar also serves up a variety of other specialty drinks and, according to its management, in the range of 60-65 different tequilas.

During our group’s visit, we sat in the main dining room. At an early evening hour that Friday night, the restaurant was already bustling with business; many families could be spotted nearby our table, as could diners of a variety of ages and cultural backgrounds.

Service was prompt and delivered with a smile. For starters, our group shared the Chimichangas, fried flour tortillas stuffed with chicken, chorizo and cheese and served with a medium-spicy sweet sauce and also the Tostaditas de Tinga de Pollo, two fried mini-corn tortillas topped with black beans, shredded marinated chicken, sour cream, chipotle, lettuce and queso freso. The appetizers were so tasty, we all agreed that if we didn’t need to leave room for our entrees we would have eagerly ordered more servings.

For our main dishes, we ordered the Camarones al Gusto, prawns prepared to order (our party member ordered it in garlic sauce) and served with rice, vegetables and tortillas; the Sombrero Salad, a fried flour shell, lettuce, rice, beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream and queso fresco; and a cheeseburger with fries for the youngest member of our crew. As an add-on, we shared the Sopa De Elote, a creamy corn soup.

Each and every menu selection we ordered at El Agave Azul was both generous in serving and next-level delicious. Particular stand-outs from our visit were the Chimichangas appetizer and the Sombrero Salad and Sopa De Elote corn soup that we had as part of our main meals. While our meals were fresh, flavorful and elevated in both taste and appearance, we found the pricing to be very reasonable per value received.

During our visit, management mentioned that the restaurant is currently working on a children’s menu, as well as vegan options for its diners.

Suffice to say, El Agave Azul is the newest shining star on Richmond’s restaurant scene and this reporter highly recommends you visit it at your earliest opportunity. The restaurant is located at 12955 San Pablo Ave., Richmond, near the San Pablo border. For more info, call 510-307-5749 or click here.

Have you dined at El Agave Azul? Tell us about it in the comments!