Aqui Cal - Mexican - 1145 Lincoln Ave, Willow Glen, San Jose, CA - Restaurant Reviews

Aqui Cal  - Mexican - 1145 Lincoln Ave, Willow Glen, San Jose, CA - Restaurant Reviews

I am a fan of this fast-casual style dining.  I'd been to Aqui before a few times and for whatever reason had not found it very compelling.  This time I found relatively healthful and flavorful food for a very reasonable price.So you order at the counter, which at this particular location is at what I'd call the back of the restaurant.  So if you come in the door on Lincoln, walk all the way to the back.  They'll hand you a pager and it will buzz when your food's ready to come pick up.For $10 I got a nice portion of salmon with some aioli drizzled on top, some mashed sweet potatoes, broccoli and some kind of tomato-y sauce.  It was just what I was looking for on that day at that time.As best I can tell, they bus your table for you, so feel free to just get up and go when you're done.


I been here 3 times But I still feel like want to visit here cuz of thier unique menu. And I love their daily speical surprises. When I first looked up the menu here I got little bit confused. Cuz the ingredients they use for mexican food wasn't usual ingredients for Mexican food. Well, they said it's 'organic & healthy' restaurant. So I thought let's try~. I ordered beef burritto, and it was good. Taste was diffrent than other mexican foods but it was good. Not salty at all. I liked it so much cuz I don't like salty food. And after I finished my food I felt really good. You know that feeling when you eat too much you feel sick after. But I had no feeling about it. Isn't that awesome? Anyway I visited there again and I tried daily speical was very interesting. But The flavor was there. It was twist of mexican food But still it was mexican food. And their aqui sampler is amazing. The only reason I gave them a 4 stars is I like there but it's not like super super tasty food.

Chicken enchiladas. Chicken enchiladas. Bbq Chicken quesadilla. Bbq Chicken quesadilla. Daily specials Daily specials See all photos from CB Y. for Aqui Cal-Mex 9/4/2016

I love Aqui Cal-Mex.  Although I like the Lincoln Avenue area, I do prefer the Campbell location (because of the bar) and the Cupertino location (less cluttered drink refill area) a little better.  The advantage to this location is that the dining room is not as brightly lit.  Basically I love the food, the aptly-named industrial-strength frozen margaritas, the free salsa bar with sour cream, and they have Diet Dr. Pepper.  The hummus is delicious, and you get a lot for $4.99, but it's not very thick.  Ask for a straw.PS. I called and asked if they had a dog patio, and they said yes, but be warned, it's actually the "front" patio, which is four two-seater tables on the sidewalk.  That said, we just pushed two together, and the parade of dogs walking by made for a fun day for my friend's dog.

um...this is the "dog patio" um...this is the "dog patio" 9/14/2016

Funky Mexican food restaurant chain. It has good food and drinks. There is a lot of competition with mom and pops Mexican restaurants all over the Bay Area. Even with this stiff competition, this restaurant consistently delivers.


70 check-ins and no review yet?  How is this possible?  I guess Aqui's doesn't need another rave review...and I will say that I don't consider this to be authentic Mexican food.  Luckily, unlike other well-known chains, Aqui's menu is more like experimental, healthy and clean eats with Mexican flavor.  Prices are great.  It's the value (and the swirls) that keep this place busy till closing, every single day.

Vegeterian enchiladas with verde sauce. Vegeterian enchiladas with verde sauce. Nothing like a cold, sweet Mango Side Salad on a hot day. Nothing like a cold, sweet Mango Side Salad on a hot day. Not a fan of Aqui's soups, but this sweet potato with chipotle was awesome! Not a fan of Aqui's soups, but this sweet potato with chipotle was awesome! See all photos from Sherri C. for Aqui Cal-Mex 8/30/2016

1000th review for this place ! :-)Ok so first off, I see that a ton of people complain about parking in this area but the few times that I have been here I had no trouble with parking.I usually go to the one at Snell but I decided to try this one and it seems pretty similar experience wise. Both the drinks and food here are really great! The food here is fresh and organic and they have daily specials which is great.They're well known here for their famous swirlzz. They are STRONG let me tell you. I got pretty buzzed off it (well I'm pretty light). Not to mention they're tasty and great for hot days.Usually busy at all times of the day, I usually come at night but it is PACKED. They even have outdoor patio seating! So that's a plus :)Will come here with friends again

Adobo burrito Adobo burrito Ahi tuna special Ahi tuna special 8/28/2016

Industrial. strength. margarita. swirls. Beware!!! I like to think I have a pretty fair alcohol tolerance but just one of these gets me pretty buzzed, to that point where I realize I'm laughing a little too loud. The swirls come in a couple of flavors, but I would stay away from the sangria infused one because it gives me a headache as I'm drinking it. The patron one is my favorite and it's pretty good~ I think it's about ~$10 for one and the swirls are very consistent throughout all the locations. This place however is a lot bigger than the other South Bay locations, and has an outdoor patio as well. It was freakin packed when we went, we couldn't even find a table for 3 and one of us had to stand. It's also located in a really nice area of Willow Glen, which was pretty crowded and well lit on a Friday night. I'm not a big fan of the food, but the guac and chips are my go to. The salsa it comes with is also for free at the self-serve bar and the chips are unlimited. My friends got some sort of chicken quesadilla that was surprisingly good! Probably the only other food item I would order.

2 patron swirls and the monthly special I forgot the name of 2 patron swirls and the monthly special I forgot the name of 8/10/2016

Most people know Aqui's for their fruity Swirls and I can see why! They are pretty strong and I tend to end up sharing it with a friend because it's pretty big. It is super refreshing before the slush melts! They always have a special monthly swirl (usually a dollar more) listed on a smaller blackboard near the cashier counter. As for the food, they have a menu full of options and daily specials written on a black chalkboard. They also have a salsa bar has an array that definitely satisfies those who love just pouring salsas and dipping their food for a nice spicy kick. Try their mango habanero one!! Service was friendly and orders were prepared quickly. One weird thing that occurred was that my friend was able to split her drink into two smaller glass cups. When I ordered and asked to split another drink, they said they weren't able to do so. However, they gave us an extra glass cup and let us do it ourselves.

Ghost Chili BBQ Pulled Pork Ghost Chili BBQ Pulled Pork Southwest Chicken Taquitos split in half Southwest Chicken Taquitos split in half 5/14/2016

TL;DR: Strong swirls, terrible service. Yes, this place has pretty good swirls. They have a pretty strong margarita slushy base, which they mix with whatever flavor you prefer. Honestly, it all tastes the same so it doesn't matter what flavor you get. They are quite strong like everyone says. I have no qualms over their famous drinks. My bad review is for the terrible service at this location. It was a Wednesday evening and it was quite crowded that night; we had a large group. We tried to combine two tables to make a table for 4-6, but we were immediately yelled at by staff for some unknown reason. So we split up into two groups. We stayed past their closing hour for quite a bit (that was our fault for not paying attention) but instead of politely telling us that they were closing, one of the ladies began passive-aggressively slamming the chairs together around our table! It was quite a scene and it was clear they wanted us out. Quite professional. I hear this place has other locations, so I'd maybe try those out before going to the Willow Glen one. They're only known for their swirls anyway, and they come from a slushy machine so they're going to be the same wherever you go. It's not worth the wrath of the staff, or the horrible parking of the area.

Some kind of tropical passion swirl? (They all taste the same anyway) Some kind of tropical passion swirl? (They all taste the same anyway) 5/23/2016

I go here for the SwIrLs. Super refreshing and STRONG, 1-2 and you are done. I recommend the mango walnut salad add chicken. I always used to get the cowboy chicken  bacon roll-up, I craved it.. however they took it off the menu!!!Super bummed. Haven't really found anything else on the menu that I I go here solely for the drinks :) Nice fun atmosphere to meet up with friends and drink. If you are in the San Jose area and you are in the mood to drink you must stop by Aqui's for a swirl

The special swirl The special swirl Tito's Berry Kamakazi swirl Tito's Berry Kamakazi swirl Mango walnut salad Mango walnut salad See all photos from Ali M. for Aqui Cal-Mex 7/24/2016

I consider the food here to be more American than Mexican, but I'm more of a taqueria enthusiast so not really their fault. However, do come here for their swirls! All the flavors are good, and pack a lot of strength. I usually only get 1 swirl every time I'm there, but I guess it all depends on your tolerance. This is a good casual place to go with groups!


Aquis is my go to for inexpensive sustainable food. I had the wild rock crab cake this visit. I also had the hummus, which I thought at first was a bit salty. However, as I ate more of it, I fell in love. It's delicious the day after too (which is when I fell into deeper love with it). I frequented the Lincoln or Blossom Hill locations depending on my work schedule. Both are on point! Both locations have adequate parking. Staff is friendly and always has a big smile to give. I recommend the crab cakes, the wild Salmon with amazing lemon aioli and chunks of papaya, and you have to try the burritos, enchiladas and salads. They all rock.  The barbecue quesadillas is a smash because it has pepitas in with the cheese, barbecue sauce and chicken.  I can tell they make their BBQ sauce from scratch. Duh.People like the swirls but I don't drink alcohol so I can't speak on the swirls. I hear they get you lit like a Roman candle.  Well, since I've made the Yelposphere it's time to say, "The end."

7/11/2016 Updated review

I had lunch here recently with a friend on a Sunday afternoon.  The line was quite long but it went fast with three cashiers. I had the Adobo Chicken Lime-Avocado bowl: Adobo spiced natural chicken breast, avocado, black beans, roasted corn organic brown rice, lemon vinaigrette, garbanzo-jicama-edamame mix, corn, citrus carrots, lime-avocado sauce and cotija cheese. I loved the bowl.  It had so many good things in it.  I loved the bean/jicama mix.  I also got a side of their coleslaw which is one of my favorites at Aqui.  Aqui seems to have changed their menu since I was there last (its been awhile).  The menu is more extensive now and offers lots of options - bowls, burritos, salads, meat dishes, brunch items.  Aqui has always been one of my favorite places and will continue to be as I love their food and drinks.  I just need to get there more often.

10/29/2013 Previous review My friends and I had a late lunch/drinks on a Saturday afternoon.  The bar was packed but we were… My friends and I had a late lunch/drinks on a Saturday afternoon.  The bar was packed but we were able to get a table in the main part of the restaurant.  My friends and I really only wanted a snack so we shared the dip and chip plate.  It came with guacamole, black bean dip and hummus.  All tasty.  And we had the chicken taquitos which we shared.  Nice and crisp, not greasy.  Good chicken flavor with a good spice.  We also had their swirl drinks.  I had the straight sangria.  One had a traditional swirls and one had the Patron swirl.  All were tasty.  Aqui is one of my favorite casual places to go.  Definitely will be here again soon. Read more 7/26/2013 Previous review I have been going to Aqui for years so I am surprised I have not written a review before.  On my… I have been going to Aqui for years so I am surprised I have not written a review before.  On my recent visit after church one Sunday, my friends and I were able to find a table inside with no issues even though it was right at lunch time.  I had the Thai chicken burrito.   It was really flavorful.  I always love their cole slaw and chips and salsa and they were good this time too.  I have tried lots of things over the years and enjoy their burritos, veggie enchiladas (they got rid of the ones I really liked a few years ago) and fish specials.  I did not have it this time but I like their sangria too.  They have a nice patio but go early if you want a seat.  Definitely a place I will continue to go to, especially now that my church is down the street. Read more 6/20/2016

I only come here if my friends really want to. Aqui's has never impressed me with their food. The only real benefit to this place is their swirls, which are often really sweet and sugar-y. My only safe bet for food are the Aqui's sampler that comes with hummus, beans, guac, and chips and the kids bean and cheese burrito. All their food is just so bland....On a positive note, the employees are extremely nice and gracious. They always come around and pick up your empty plates and cups. They are very attentive to customers. We came here during the Dancing on the Avenue event in Willow Glen and there was a wait outside the door! It was so crazy! I bet that it isn't usually like that, so I'm guessing you'll get a seat much quicker than our group did today.


When it comes to plating and aesthetics, this place definitely takes the cake. A majority of their dishes are well Instagram worthy. Aqui offers a selection of swirls & margaritas. Open seating, patio arrangement, and bar inside.Menu includes salads, rice dishes, burritos, enchiladas, tacos, etc. The actual Mexican food like the burritos and tacos are not that great and not authentic. Sometimes the daily specials are really good. Sometimes, the dishes become too complex where it doesn't really fit together. The crab cake salad is tasty. It comes with a huge crab cake, topped with tortilla chips, chopped mango, and chipotle sauce. The avocado dip is quite refreshing. I recommend it as an appetizer! They usually have flourless chocolate cake as a dessert as well. I come here for Sunday brunch and I love all of the items. Food tastes fresh here, service is fast, and plating is spot on.

Crab cake salad Crab cake salad See all photos from Sandra N. for Aqui Cal-Mex 6/3/2016

Okay so I think everyone agrees parking here sucks!! I've been here quite a few times and there is never any open spots. Once we had a guy actually try to fight us (two girls) because he said we took his spot! Yeah, it got real. Came here for a mini date night to get our swirl on yesterday. I think everyone else had the same idea because this place was packed. We got our swirls fairly quickly for there being so many people in there and headed to the shady outdoor seating. Couldn't sit down right away because every table in the joint was full so we just stood awkwardly until we could swoop on someone's table.I swear right when we sat down I spilled the whole swirl, I WASN'T EVEN DRUNK YET -_- Service was decent, swirls are awesome, but the crowds are what keep me from coming to this location more often. I prefer the blossom hill one.


I came here 3 times and I never enjoyed the food. The drinks however, are strong and I have yet to finish more than half of my swirl! My most recent experience was last week when I came here for dinner with a friend. I ordered the chicken taquitos bowl. The meat in the taquitos were dry and lacked flavor. However, it does seem Aqui's aim for the healthier side to their food since it isn't oily and serves brown rice. My ffriend and I shared chips and salsa. The salsa was very fresh. It comes with a lot of avocados which was a plus! However, some of the chips were a bit stale. When we were done eating, one of the bussers came by and asked us about our experience. We told them everything was ok but the chips were stale. Her response was that they have a new formula in making the chips and some people have been complaining about the stale chips. Doesn't help us that way, but at least she asked about our experience.We both shared the Pomogranate swirl. It was really good and gave us both a good buzz. Since both of us never finished a swirl, I recommend sharing one first if it is your first time. You can barely taste the alcohol since it tastes just like a smoothie!Finding seats are really difficult. For two, it took us at least 20 minutes to find an empty table. The bussers are fast at cleaning up the table, however it is just so crowded that seats for just two people are hard to find. I would come back not for the food, but for a good buzz.

Pomogranate swirl Pomogranate swirl Salmon special Salmon special Chips and salsa. Salsa is good but chips were stale Chips and salsa. Salsa is good but chips were stale 7/2/2016

I loved this place .. I went there with my friends for my birthday dinner for the first time I was so excited to try the swirls .. They are really Good .. I felt it from the first drink!! And the good was really AMAZING .. And the prices are really reasonable I'm definitely going back again

Peach BBQ grass feed beef .. Their special .. SO GOOD Peach BBQ grass feed beef .. Their special .. SO GOOD 8/8/2016

Swirls! Swirls! Swirls! That's all that I can say! The only reason why I come here would be to drink and these drinks never let me down. They are fruity and strong! I can get drunk off of 2 swirls and only cost me less than $20! If I want to sober up I'll order a chicken quesadilla with chips and salsa! I love this location since you can sit either inside or outside on their back patio. If in the area and want to feel a buzz, I would recommend coming here!


Aqui is well known for there Amazing & Delicious Swirls I absolutely Love Love there  Cocktail drinks Amazing.. Customers service is another story some are good the other are like robots no smiles just there to get there job done but at least make eye contact with your guest and smile.. Food is Good most of the time me & my Husband goes at least once every 2mos no longer it crowded on Thursday nights Friday Nights & Saturday Night hard to find tables if you don't get there early enough. I recommend this Willow Glen located just like a cute & adorable little town can't wait for my Cousin to come out here from Southern California they will love the Swirls. It loud but I also love Happy People just as long as they could hold there liquor..

And More Swirls Love There Flavors of The Month And More Swirls Love There Flavors of The Month Love there food it ok.. Chips & Guacamole Delicious Love there food it ok.. Chips & Guacamole Delicious Aqui's Famous Swirls Aqui's Famous Swirls
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