Casa de Bandini was an old town staple in San Diego years ago, and the owner had several places scattered in the city. Hard times and lease problems shuttered most of them, but now a new Casa has opened in north county, on Barcelona Road, at the eastern edge of Carlsbad.
Place is one of those high-ceiling, mostly adobe style Mexican eating places with rough-hew tables and waitstaff looking just a tad uncomfortable in traditional dress.
Forget all that--the food is excellent and very fairly priced. We sat at the tortilla bar rather than wait one and a half hours for a table (not a long wait we heard), and watched as two experts went from dough to corn and flour tortillas, each made by hand and with care. We were offered one of each off the grill--ate them as soon as they cooled--and give them very high marks for freshness and quality.
The menu is long and complete. We each had a seafood entree, actually big enough to split, and managed to finish it without much hassle. Most entrees are less than 20 dollars, many under 15. Drinks are ample, service can be harried and hurried, but overall a fine experience that I'll give good scores to for Zagat this year.
So, if you hanker for Mexican fresh food while in the San Diego area, go to Casa de Bandini for a link to the past of dining in old town.