Ryan's Mexican Cantina.
Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?
A. A Mexican cantina, El Pavo Guapo, where Ryan worked in the show's final season.
name translates to "The Handsome Turkey").
Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?
A. In Newport Beach - downstairs, in the courtyard of a small mall in Newport's Pier Plaza.
comic book store is right upstairs.)
Q. When did we see it on the show?
A. Although it doesn't exist for the first three seasons, we see it throughout the 4th season, in virtually every episode, until the cantina (and most of the Plaza) is destroyed in an earthquake in the final episodes.
Basically, the show's writers used the El Pavo Guapo location when they wanted Ryan to engage in a conversation with another character on the show. That character would drop in on Ryan at the restaurant, Ryan would conveniently be on a break from work, and they would have a brief chat to move along a plot point. Since he worked in a public place, it also made it difficult for him to avoid talking to people like Taylor, whom he might otherwise have dodged.
(El Pavo Guapo also served the role of restaurant on the show, when they needed a gathering place that wasn't as fancy as the Yacht Club.)
In Episode 4 (of Season 4), "The Metamorphosis", Ryan first gets a job working at El Pavo Guapo (right after he comes out of seclusion from his post-Marissa / Volchok crisis).
In that same episode, the restaurant is where Taylor tries to talk a reluctant Ryan into signing a paper that will help her divorce her French ex.
In Episode 10 (of Season 4), "The French Connection", it's where Ryan later learns of Taylor's colorful past, and where Sandy is seen reading (and commenting on) the racy book "A Season for Peaches" - until Ryan tells him it's really about Taylor.
It's where an obsessive Taylor spies on Ryan (from the balcony) in Episode 12, "The Groundhog Day", before a security guard chases her off.
It's where Summer
tries to talk Ryan into him telling Taylor that he loves her on Taylor's
birthday (in Episode 14 "The Shake-Up"), and later in that same
episode, it's where they have the "surprise" birthday party for
Q. What is it actually in real life?
A. You can't. This is one of the more disappointing locations in The OC.
The restaurant (and the two-story building where it appears to be) does not exist in the real world. It is simply part of an elaborate Pier Plaza set (which also contained Seth's comic book store) inside a sound stage at Manhattan Beach Studios.
See this page about Newport Pier Plaza for the details.
The set was based loosely on the Pier Avenue Promenade in Hermosa Beach, and a particular shopping center there (Loreto Plaza), but other than the establishing shot (which is a real shot of that Hermosa Beach promenade) nothing else about the restaurant was filmed there.
you get a craving for fish tacos while you're strolling the Hermosa Pier
Plaza, you'll find them just a few paces away from Loreto Plaza at the
Cantina Real (19 Pier Avenue), a Mexican restaurant with
a colorful interior that looks suspiciously similar to that of Ryan's El
Here is a Bird's Eye view aerial photo of Loreto Plaza on the Hermosa Beach Pier Plaza.
And here is a map link.
Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?
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