El Adobe de Capistrano, or simply known as El Adobe, is a restaurant located in San Juan Capistrano, California. It has been operated since 1948 and is in a building composed of two historic adobes near Mission San Juan Capistrano. It is also famous for being frequented by and being a favorite of U.S. President Richard Nixon who lived in nearby San Clemente.
The adobe which comprises the northern portion of the restaurant was built as the home of Miguel Yorba in 1797. The southern portion, from 1812, was the Juzgado (court and jails). The Juzgado’s jail cell now serves as the restaurant’s wine cellar and is rumored to harbor a ghost. In addition there have been reports of a headless friar in front of the restaurant.
In 1910, Georgia Mott Vander-Leck bought the two properties, combining them for use as her home and store. In 1948, Mr. Clarence Brown established the El Adobe restaurant, opening it on July 8, 1948 for the wedding and reception of the First Commandant of Camp Pendleton Marine Corp Base, General Fagan.
While in office, former President Richard Nixon whose nearby San Clemente home was known as the Western White House, visited the restaurant many times. The restaurant was originally continental cuisine, but after comments by Nixon, it gained attention for its Mexican fare and changed the menu.