Restaurant Review: the Blue Parrot in Ocean Beach

by on May 23, 2013 · 15 comments

in Culture, Ocean Beach

BlueParrot jc Cutckburro

Chicken burrito cut in half. All photos by Judi Curry.

 Blue Parrot
4993 Niagara Avenue
Ocean Beach, CA 92107
Phone:(619) 222-1722

 I have driven by the “Blue Parrot” many times in the past few years. I think that my husband and I went there one time when “Nati’s” was busy and there was a wait. As I remember the prices were higher than Nati’s, and we were not impressed with the meal. That is probably why I haven’t been back.

However, today was Sunday and I had been to a dance competition – will write it up later -and the Pt. Loma Democrats meeting, and I just didn’t feel like cooking dinner for my two students – Monica and Natsumi. I decided rather than go to a restaurant I had already reviewed I would take them to the Blue Parrot – and that way my “editordude” won’t ask me if I am going to do any more reviews in Ocean Beach!

I was amazed how empty they were at 6:45pm on a Sunday night. Raglan’s across the street was humming, and Nati’s seemed busy also. There were only two tables occupied; a couple at the bar and a singleton also at the bar. He was later joined by a foxy man – Chad – and one more table was filled while we were there.

Their menu was extensive – Appetizers started at $2 and went up to $14.50. The Quesadilla’s started at $4.95 and went $8.50; the range for Tacos was $3.25-$3.95. Also offered are Enchiladas, Specialties, Fajitas, Burritos, Salads, Soups, Burgers and Breakfast menus. Additionally there is a children’s menu.

There was music playing outside, and at least two televisions were on inside. The noise was not bad, and I suspect that part of that was because it was so empty. (It should be noted that there was a festival going on in Little Italy as well as the Portuguese festival in Point Loma that might have accounted for the emptiness.)

Our delightful waitress, Katie, took our drink order and when I asked if they had raspberry iced tea, she said they only had regular iced tea. I ordered that. Monica ordered a coke, and Natsumi ordered a Sprite.

BlueParrot jc quesdiAfter some discussion, Monica ordered a fish burrito – $7.75 – and she asked that there not be any beans served with it. Katie asked if she wanted rice, and Monica said “yes.” Natsumi ordered a shrimp burrito but a few minutes after taking her order, Katie came back and apologized and said they had run out of shrimp 20 minutes ago. Natsumi changed her order to a chicken burrito, again with no beans and only rice. I ordered a Carne Asada Quesadilla, for $6.75 and a bowl of Tortilla Soup at $2.95.

After a short time, our food arrived, all hot and presented well. I would have preferred to have had my tortilla soup served before my Quesadilla, but it was too late to mention that.

But the girls’ burritos were the only thing on the plate besides a little lettuce and tomato. Apparently rice and beans did not come with the burrito, and the rice they asked for was inside the burrito. My quesadilla was a flour tortilla cut in fourths, with a bit of guacamole, sour cream, and the lettuce/tomato mixture on the side.

BlueParrot jc tortsupThe tortilla soup was a disappointment. It tasted like tomato soup from a can, with a few crispy tortilla strips and cheese crumbled on the top. It did have carrots, onions and peppers in it, but for all the world I would be hard-pressed to identify it as tortilla soup. There was no spice to it, nor was there any “Mexican flavoring” on anything that we had to eat.

Monica, who likes spicy food, was disappointed in her fish burrito. She said it tasted like “something was missing.” As we analyzed it, we realized it was that there was no salsa in the burrito nor was there any offered on the table. (There was a container of ketchup, however, but nothing we would use for what we were eating.) Natsumi had never had a burrito before, but she had said that if she knew the rice would be inside the burrito she would not have ordered it. Monica also pointed out that at most Mexican restaurants chips and salsa are served complimentary but if we wanted any it would have cost us $2.

When Katie gave me the bill, I was charged $10.20 for each burrito. I looked at my notes and found that the menu price I had written down was $7.75. I called it to Katie’s attention and she went to check on it. She came back and told me that there was a new owner and they weren’t up to date on their prices, BUT she said it was more because of the order of rice. There was nothing that I could do about it – I did not realize the rice was extra – but Katie did change the total amount of the meal from $39.70 to $37.65, without the tip.

Would I go back to the Blue Parrot again. Definitely not – unless Chad was again at the bar. I suspect that the chef is not Mexican, or the clientele is so “gringoized” that they think they are eating Mexican food when they are not. It would not surprise me if they have trouble staying in business if they are counting on the diners to eat and not drink. Perhaps that is why the restaurant was so empty. I should have stayed home and cooked dinner. It would have been far superior to what we had there.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

angeroo May 23, 2013 at 1:45 pm

This place is definitely not known for their food and I even wonder why they have a menu. The place is more concerned about getting people drunk and alcohol is where the money is, not food. If you’re looking for a heavy pour, this is your place. If you’re looking for a good meal (Mexican or otherwise), keep walkin.


OB Mercy May 23, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Totally agree with angeroo. I have been there maybe 3 times to eat, and after the first time, I don’t know why I went back. It was always disappointing whatever I ordered.

I think a couple of times my friends wanted to go there for their champagne brunch, and I agreed. In fact, their Cantaloupe and Watermelon Mimosas are the ONLY thing I like there and have been back just to have one of those without the food. The Sunday buffet brunch really borders on disgusting, when I last ate there about a year and a half ago.

And I think the crab race thing is cruel. Everyone sprays water bottles at the little guys trying to get them to cross a finish line. Really?? Seems SO PB!

I love to support local, but this place really needs to up their game IMHO. There is a reason Raglan is always rockin’…the food and service are stellar!


angeroo May 23, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Don’t get me started on that nasty “brunch” they have. I bet the Health Dept would shut them down if they did a visit. The food situ there is just horrendous. Drinks though…cheap and strong. Another thing about this place is almost every time I’ve ever gone an actual bar fight has broken out. Some drunk guy offends some other drunk guy and pow, you’re in the middle of some idiots trying to land punches. I avoid this place like the plague. There are so many other, better options in OB.


hdiggler May 23, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Hah! The Blue Parrot is a joke! If you want quality food AND drink go over to Raglans’ hence the buzz over there. Heavy pours, go anywhere else too. Blue Parrot advertises specials on ‘drop shot’ drinks such as a classic Irish Car Bomb, kind of hard to mess that one up… except the Blue Parody does not have proper shot glasses. How does one drink such a drink without a proper shot glass, how does a restaurant/bar call themselves one without the proper bar-ware? These questions boggled my mind as my Irish Car Bomb dribbled all over me with their not really a shot glass glass. ‘Oh just pour it in the waitress says’… oh just don’t serve them if you can’t do it proper I say.


Debbie May 23, 2013 at 4:49 pm

The last inspection at this inspection by the SD County Health according to their website was on 16-Aug-2012 was scored as a 90 … which is not that good even though they maintained an “A” rating. If there is new owner, the health dept. should make a new inspection. Unfortunately SD County requires filing a public record act to know exacting what the violations are where other counties ….like Orange allows the public to view the inspection report. Why so secretive??? I do not know!


Hdiggler May 23, 2013 at 4:59 pm

but what about the shot glasses?


obecean May 23, 2013 at 6:41 pm

One of OB’s “PB Bars” that cater to those who want to get out of PB, but still wanna get sh*tfaced at the beach.


Seadancer May 24, 2013 at 8:25 am

Sorry to read this dismal review of the Blue Parrot. We travel to OB a couple times a year and sometimes have enjoyed lunch at the Blue Parrot, liking the patio and the low-key afternoon energy. Being forewarned before our September visit sounds like a good thing.


judi curry May 24, 2013 at 8:40 am

Seadancer, park in the same place, and go across the street to Raglan for a great meal. If you want Mexican food, Nati’s, across the street from Raglan and the Blue Parrot is a better bet. Ocean Beach looks forward to your visit in September.


Susie May 24, 2013 at 8:52 am

Blue Parrot used to be ok when it first opened. They had an owner who cared, a chef who knew how to cook and a nicer menu and patio. I have not been there in 1.5 yrs due to the food and service. Now even the patio is decreased in size. Also, too loud there.
Went to Raglan too,ate outside, not crowded at 2 pm, and not impressed w/ my burger or the waitress who seemed to have cared less. It took 38 minutes to get a buger and fries and a tea. She was “training” a new waitress. Both of my tea glasses were real dirty and had lip prints on them. I always use a straw. When I pointed this out, attitude was less than stellar. Then it happened again. At least I didnt get sick. Buyer Beware.


judi curry May 24, 2013 at 8:59 am

Sorry to hear that, Susie. I’ve always had stellar experiences at Raglan and the waitresses have always been up-beat and on the ball. Going there Saturday night with a date – will pay more attention to utensils, etc.


OB Mercy May 24, 2013 at 11:26 am

Susie, your experience is totally out of the norm for Raglan. I’m extremely picky about burgers as I don’t eat them too often, but theirs is one of the best I’ve had. I’m partial to the lamb burger there and their sweet potato fries with blue cheese crumbles on top are to die for! Especially with that homemade sauce they have that I put on almost everything there.

I’m on the Elite Yelp Team and do food reviews for other web sites, am a certified BBQ judge and attend many of the big food events in town, so trust me, you need to give them another shot. I’ve always had amazing service there too. If I were you, always talk to a mgr when things don’t go right at a resto. A good place will make restitution. If they don’t offer you something, then I would never go back either.


Bearded OBcean May 24, 2013 at 9:46 am

It’s a bummer when it opened in the first place and took over the old (new) Ortega’s. That place always had that cool dude playing guitar, good food, and decent prices.


Mari May 24, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Alway’s steer clear of any restaurant that has, “Mac -n- Cheese Nuggets” on the menu.


Teri June 4, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Food, not so much! Happy Hour, I’m there!!!


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