Thirty years ago, the Ramos family set out to establish a Mexican eatery that would reflect the hospitality of their own home and feature a menu replete with south-of-the-border staples such as tacos, fajitas, and chimichangas. The fruits of their early labors have since multiplied, and today Don Jose's Mexican Restaurant & Cantina flourishes in three locations. Known for its tangy margaritas and extensive selection of burritos and chimichangas, the restaurant also caters to heartier appetites with macho combos such as the El Presidente, a beef and cheese chili relleno served with a tamale, chicken flauta, and lengthy trade agreement to peruse throughout the meal.
Vallarta's Restaurant's troop of tortilla stuffers works to conquer taste buds by deploying a bevy of authentic Mexican spreads—including enchiladas, tacos, and burritos—to tabletops bedecked with complimentary mounds of chips and salsa. Tongue lasso a fiesta-inducing dish of pork tamale and chili relleno, which sports a canopy of thick gravy sauce, or opt for a pair of tacos de lengua stuffed with cilantro-speckled beef tongue. When crafting platters of huevos rancheros, spatula specialists season, fry, and Swedish massage a trio of eggs before enswathing them in a silky-smooth robe of salsa. To quell parched pipes, feasting twosomes can romantically trade slurps from a pair of lime, strawberry, or mango margaritas before transforming empty glasses into makeshift maracas.
Fresh, housemade margaritas, not those made from a bottled mix and stale limes, cleanse palates during generously spiced meals at El Rodeo Mexican Restaurant, where owner Ismael claims they are not shy about adding some kick to each dish. But rather than overload entrees with a slew of spices, like other restaurants may be wont to do, Ismael prefers to keep it simple, refining each dish with focused flavor from authentic ingredients.
The carne asada is made with new york strip steak, rather than less-substantial skirt or flank steak, and spicy chili verde smothers lean pork in green tomatillo sauce. A house special, the carnitas throw down succulent pork that gets simmered over low heat for four hours, allowing it to steep in a top-secret blend of spices that Ismael guards more effectively than a magician guards his favorite pet shop. As diners dig in, a row of hand-painted murals stand watch, featuring images from Mexico, such as a mariachi band and burros dancing around sombreros.
At Chepo's Mexican Restaurant, cool margaritas wash down zesty appetizers and classic Mexican entrees. Diners can start off by sharing mini beef tacos, before moving on to main courses such as grilled chicken quesadillas or tamales made with tender, seasoned pork. Chepo's also accommodates vegetarians with dishes such as vegetable burritos.
At Jalapenos Mexican Restaurant's two locations, familiar enchiladas and corn tamales draped in rich chili sauces pour from the kitchen on rainbow-colored fiesta ware, which also delivers house specialties such as prawns sautéed with dungeness crab and vegetables and Cancun tacos filled with halibut and pico de gallo. Burgers and chicken strips provide a similarly hearty alternative to deep-fried chimichangas packed with beef, chicken, or pork chile verde, which is also available by the bowlful. The cantina's design adds to a festive atmosphere, its tangerine walls painted to resemble an arcade overlooking the sea and its carved, wooden chairs painted to resemble the hollowed-out burritos that carried the conquistadors across it.