El Toro Bravo is a beloved local eatery in beautiful Capitola Village that has been serving delicious Mexican cuisine for decades. To learn more about this iconic establishment and its connection to the charming coastal town of Capitola, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Kristie Baron, the owner of El Toro Bravo. Here’s what she had to say:

The Capitola Community: A Pillar of Support

One of Kristie’s favorite aspects of doing business in Capitola is the tremendous support from the local community and fellow merchants. She’s witnessed the community’s resilience and unity during challenging times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the flood in January. Kristie extends her gratitude to the dedicated city workers of Capitola for their tireless efforts in cleaning up the village, emphasizing that it truly takes a village to overcome adversity.

A Legacy in Capitola

El Toro Bravo has deep roots in Capitola, dating back to 1967 when it was founded by Kristie’s grandmother, Delia Rey. Kristie herself began her journey at El Toro Bravo as a busser when she was just 12 years old. Over the years, she honed her skills and dedication to the restaurant. In 1999, Kristie took the reins and purchased El Toro Bravo from her grandmother, becoming the proud owner.

The Magic of Capitola: Eat, Play, Stay

For Kristie, Capitola holds a special place in her heart. Growing up in the village, she appreciates the plethora of activities available for people of all ages. What sets Capitola apart is the meticulous care given to maintaining its pristine beauty, thanks to the unwavering commitment of the city and local merchants. Volunteers actively engage in beach clean-ups, ensuring the beaches stay pristine. A diverse culinary scene, sweet treats, and a plethora of charming shops for unique gifts make Capitola a destination for everyone. When asked about her favorite activities in Capitola, Kristie couldn’t pick just one. Whether it’s enjoying the fantastic food options, spending time on the beach, or exploring the shops, she knows that Capitola offers something for everyone.

The El Toro Bravo Experience

El Toro Bravo’s allure goes beyond its breathtaking location. Kristie emphasizes the dedication that goes into crafting the restaurant’s meats and sauces. Every dish is prepared from scratch, adhering to her grandmother’s cherished recipes. These recipes are a challenge in themselves because her grandmother didn’t use measuring cups; she measured by eye or with specific pots. This unique approach is something that brings a smile to the faces of both the staff and customers, especially when they inquire about the recipes.

El Toro Bravo’s signature dishes include its exquisite enchilada sauce, known for its rich flavor and gravy-like consistency, perfect for smothering their mouthwatering burritos. The Chili Verde, lean, tender, and boasting just the right amount of spice, is another crowd-pleaser, showcasing the restaurant’s commitment to quality and tradition.

El Toro Bravo, as embodied by Kristie Baron, stands as a testament to the enduring charm of Capitola Village. With a rich history, deep community connections, and mouthwatering cuisine, it continues to be a beloved destination for locals and visitors alike. If you find yourself in Capitola, a visit to El Toro Bravo is a must, not just for the food, but for a taste of the heart and soul of this beautiful coastal community.


123 Monterey Ave
Capitola, CA 95010

(831) 476-1553