Casa Rústica is the first of two new Mexican eateries to launch at The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch, where it opens today. It joins restaurant relation Breakfast Republic in the North County complex and its owner, Rise and Shine Restaurant Group founder Johan Engman, is also behind Liberty Station’s high-profile El Jardin, which is debuting later this week in Liberty Station.
Open daily for lunch and dinner and weekends for brunch, Casa Rustica replaces Crudo, the Mediterranean restaurant that shuttered after a year and a half of operation. Its 3,300-square-foot space is being split by Casa Rustica and another casual eatery from Engman called California Taco Club, which will serve a rotating menu and is scheduled to be completed by the end of July.
Casa Rustica’s family-friendly menu includes shareable starters like Baja shrimp ceviche, queso fundido, and Cali fries topped with marinated skirt steak. Large dishes range from enchiladas and fajitas to carnitas and a surf and turf plate featuring New York steak and garlic shrimp.
The bar features a large selection of margaritas, including the El Diablo Margarita made with tequila reposado, fresh lime, ginger beer, and creme de cassis. A daily 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. happy hour offers $5 margaritas as well as $4 beers and $6 appetizers. And all bottles on the wine list are also available for purchase in a retail section of the restaurant.