Lil Places We Love: Lake Forest’s El Progreso, Carmel’s Revisited

A hidden gem in Orange County

In Lake Forest, if you look past the Denny’s, which sits close to El Toro Road, you’ll see El Progreso, a Mexican restaurant that serves authentic cuisine that’s easy on the wallet.

Opened in 2009 by employees of Carmel’s, a neighborhood favorite that closed the previous year, the eatery preserves much of the former restaurant’s heritage through its food. A wall covered with photos offers additional items to the large hanging menu. Because breakfast is served all day, one meal you can try at any time is the huevos rancheros: a classic dish served with two fresh sunny-side up eggs with a flour tortilla, Spanish rice, and refried beans ($6.25). Lunch and dinner items include steak picado, enchiladas, Nachos Supreme, as well as non-Mexican entries such as hamburgers. Beer and assorted wines are also available. The friendly waiting staff and a gentle atmosphere make this one of Lake Forest’s hidden gems.

24602 Raymond Way, Lake Forest, 949-458-3768

Photo from Yelp, here.

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