Willie & Juan’s in the East – A Mexican Feast

Willie & Juan's Orleans

Willie & Juan’s, Orleans Best?

We gave them a call and they said: “there’s no line!”
So we headed to Orleans for the umpteenth time!
The food was superb, the service was great!
So it’s not a bad place to take your next date!
And this recommendation won’t even cost you a dime.. 

Where we went: You may remember that, a few weeks back, the Supper Seven made an abortive attempt to try out Willie & Juan’s on St. Joseph Blvd. in Orleans. We were dissuaded, at that time, by a wait time of 45 minutes! This being the day after Canada Day, July 2nd, we did not hold out great hope when we made the call to check on availability. To our pleasant surprise, we were told that there would be no problem and they even accepted a reservation request (a sure sign that one was not needed 😉 For those who may remember it, Willie and Juan’s replaced Mexicali Rosa’s which had been an Ottawa East End fixture for many years.

Chimichanga with rice, salad & GuacamoleWhat we ordered: It had really been quite some time since I had eaten Mexican food and the menu presented quite a challenge since there were many items that I would have liked to try. Finally, I opted for a Chimichanga with sides of rice and salad. Since I am a aficionado of guacamole, I added this, even though I suspected that it might end up being more food than I could eat.  Dorothy ordered a taco salad and Norma a burrito. Amber, somewhat uncharacteristically, ordered cheese nachos from the kid’s menu. It was a sign to me that she was a little unsure of the food, since she normally orders from the adult menu. Lara ordered chicken nuggets and fries. 

taco saladWhat we got: There are very few restaurants, no matter how good, that can usually completely satisfy our entire group. The odds are simply stacked against it. However, this evening, everyone was satisfied with their choice. The food was served promptly and hot. Quantities were neither overly big nor small. The salads were fresh and crispy and plates were colourful and attractively arranged. For dessert, we ordered an adult portion of churros from the children’s menu. These are deep fried pastry sticks that were a perfect finish to a great meal.

Homemade chicken strips and friesWorthy of note: Our server (unfortunately I forget his name) was cheerful, enthusiastic and helpful. He informed us that he also worked in the kitchen and was very knowledgeable about and helpful with the food choices. His upbeat manner, especially with the children really made a good experience a great one! Even if you have to wait a while to get a table, it will probably be worth the slight inconvenience!


  • Positives: I don’t often give a five star rating except for exceptional circumstances. The service here warranted it. The food was also well above average. 
  • Negatives: This particular evening there were no negatives.
  • Recommendation: Willie and Juan’s gets our hearty recommendation. 
Category Rating Explanation
Food Quality **** Superb
Price $$$ Reasonable
Decor *** Bright
Service ***** Outstanding
Overall Rating **** Recommended


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    • WL on July 11, 2010 at 9:33 pm
    • Reply

    We went here recently too and I fully agree with your review. We were impressed with the food and the service. We had the same server both times and not only was he pleasant but he was very honest about what he thought were the better choices on the menu.

    The portion sizes are generous and the food is good. Definitely a step up from the Mexicali Rosa’s that used to be at this location.

    • SdL on March 25, 2011 at 9:23 pm
    • Reply

    Just went there this week… The salad plate was very good, but the tacos were too spicy for the kids (served with fries?!?!) and the nachos were bland. Overall, a so-so experience, especially because of the price. I can’t compare with Mexicali Rosa’s, but this definitely isn’t a 5-star for me!

    1. Sorry to hear that you didn’t have a good experience. As it happens, we were just there again last week. The kids like it there and all four adults enjoyed their food (I had the Chimichanga). I would agree that it is not a five star but it ranks a good four for us based on our own experiences…

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