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El Fandango Restaurant –
Place - El Fandango Restaurant
2734 Calhoun Street
San Diego, California 92110
Web Link * 619-298-2860
El Fandango Restaurant can be found in the
Old Town Historical Park.
El Fandango Restaurant is in a building
which was built on the spot of the burned ruins of one of the
Machado family's three mansions, which burned to the ground in
1858. It is a two story, brownish cream-colored building. Upstairs
are used for office space and a banquet room while downstairs there
is a very nice dining area, dining and event area and an outside
patio area also used for dining.
The menu selections offered today reflect
the rich mix of cuisine which evolved in this area during the 1846
- 1856 era, because of the number of people who came to California
from all over the world to participate in the gold rush. A
"cosmopolitan collection of various cuisines," besides traditional
Mexican fare, became popular as the people settling here obviously
enjoyed eating and were open to new recipes.
The name of the restaurant was inspired by
the huge traditional, special parties called Fandangos, thrown by
rich families to celebrate major family events. The whole town
would be invited and were fed traditional
Mexican dishes and beef on the host's patio, while enjoying musical entertainment.
Close friends of the family were fed inside "very elaborate
cooking." In the spirit of the Fandango's of old, live music is
offered as entertainment on Thursday through Sunday, 6:30- 9:30
The Patriarch of the Machado family,
José Manuel Machado, was one of the first soldiers stationed
at the Presidio of San Diego and one of the first settlers of Old
Town. He was born in 1756 and arrived in San Diego in 1781.
He married a young woman, Serafina Valdez,
aged 20 when he was 53, in an arranged marriage which produced 15
children, who became important people in the history of San
After the unfortunate destruction of one of
the Machado family's mansions in 1858, several other businesses
were built on the land over the years. A billiard saloon, a bakery
and then another home were built on this site.
The theory is that one of the Machado
Family's women died in the fire of 1858.
A wispy, white female apparition, dressed in Victorian attire,
not in a good mood, either sad or angry, likes to sit at a darkened
corner table near one of the front windows, only when the window
shade is drawn shut as she doesn't like the light.
It has also been reported that this white female apparition,
dressed in white Victorian attire, also likes to float through the
various parts of the building, often disappearing into the walls
In 1992, William Hauk reports that some
historical investigators did some research and came to the
conclusion that the unhappy entity was a woman that was a Machado family
member who died in the 1858 fire.
She doesn't interact or want to play with
the living. She keeps to herself and avoids contact.
SanDiegoHistory.org * GoThere.com/SanDiego
The National Directory of Haunted Places
by William Dennis Hauk
Some Pictures © Tom Carr