A colorful mural of a lakeside beach stretches across Casita del Lago's dining room—a nod to the restaurant's name, which translates to "little house by the lake." Soft hanging lanterns and a crackling fireplace bathe the room in light, illuminating the colorful glazed pottery that lines the walls. In the kitchen, chefs chop fresh ingredients for the homemade salsa that glazes over traditional dishes, as saucepans simmer with their signature mole sauce. Behind a sprawling bar, bartenders dole out pitchers of fruity margaritas and bottles of imported Mexican beer. Outside, tabletops speckle their outdoor patio and bar, where guests can bask beneath the sunlight.
Si Señor fills estómagos with a menu of authentic Mexican fare served amid mosaic-topped tables and brightly colored walls. Skilled chip-chopping cooks compile their fresh and never-frozen ingredients to concoct steak, chicken, and seafood fajitas served in sizzling skillets ($13.50–$16.99) and savory vegetarian options such as a plate piled with a chili relleno, a cheese enchilada, rice, and refried beans ($8.50). Grilled chicken or steak, melted cheese, and pico de gallo flow down the sides of a nacho mountain in the la bamba nachos plate ($10.50), and the eatery's Popeye's pollo blends grilled chicken breast, spinach, melted cheese, and Olive Oyl ($11.99). Mexican-fare munchers can seal the meal's deal with a creamy cheesecake encased in a fried tortilla ($3.99) or a scoop of fried ice cream ($4.99).
Behind a glass partition, cooks at El Guero decorate tortillas, bowls of rice, and salads with barbacoa, carnitas, and other meats according to each customer's instructions. Scoops of black beans, shredded cheese, corn, and red chili sauce transform mild-mannered tortillas into hearty burritos right before the eyes of their future owners. Crispy corn or sweet potato chips deliver sides of fresh guacamole and pico de gallo to round out meals. Inside the dining area, bright orange and green walls complement the abstract paintings and glass artwork, warming up the industrial style exposed ductwork, cement floors, stainless steel fixtures, and conveyer belts made entirely of soft taco shells.
Zócalo Mexican Grill & Tequilería pulls its recipes from four different regions in Mexico, each with its own distinctive flavors and flairs—from the smoked meats of the Yucatán to the rich, chocolaty mole of the Puebla to the tangy seafood of the Veracruz and the inventive salsas of the Baja. Skilled cooks place innovative spins on traditional regional dishes, layering quesadillas with goat cheese, seasoning carnitas tortas in chipotle-barbecue sauce, and folding beer-battered fish into tacos.
Out in the dining room, bartenders mix margaritas beneath shelves of dozens of glimmering tequila bottles. They pair shots of premium Agave Loco, Dos Lunas, and Espolón tequilas with lime and a serving of spicy, citrusy sangrita. Ornate copper lanterns hang from the ceiling, casting a muted, twilight-like glow on tabletops and booths. A spiraling staircase leads down to the lower dining area, bordered by ornate metal railings. Colorful towers of light illuminate the outdoor patio, ideal for people watching or pointing out constellations to your date in a loud and impressive voice so everyone else can hear.
Los Habaneros packs its extensive menu with bona fide, south-of-the-border fare prepared from scratch. Fill a beckoning boca with the enchiladas rancheras, overflowing with tender beef and chicken, smooth mole poblano, and creamy cheese ($11.99), or the seafood fajitas ($16.99), which encase a catch of scallops, mussels, shrimp, and mermaid dreams. Get energized before tunneling straight to a neighbor’s pool with a selection of vegetarian options, such as spinach enchiladas ($8.25) and vegetarian fajitas ($8.99). The restaurant also proffers smaller portions for pintsize patrons ($4.49 for children’s menu items). Los Habaneros’ mouth-stuffing guests dine at tile-mosaic-topped tables, amid authentic Mexican décor and supported by booth seats that offer a softer surface to sit on than a sleeping lion’s mane.
Within Casa Del Rio's warm orange walls, chefs cobble together fresh meats, vegetables, and seafood to forge authentic Mexican lunch and dinner specialties. They douse shrimp in Diablo hot sauce, stuff flautas with shredded beef and chicken, or slice up grilled steak to accessorize with bacon, ham, and poblano peppers. Traditional and frozen margaritas drench adult palates, and a kids' menu entices tots with both Mexican and American classics. A kaleidoscope of colored tables scatters across the family-friendly dining room, which features vibrant artwork and rustic brick barrel vaults, and televisions above the bar entertain guests with sports games and newscasts acted out through interpretive dance.
When they made them move from La Piedad, Mexico to Aurora, the Hernandez and Alarcon families brought more than just their possessions; they brought their families’ entire repertoire of classic Mexican recipes. They prepare everything from classic burritos stuffed with meat or vegetables, to their own unique contributions such as grilled shrimp, scallops, and pineapple tossed in chipotle sauce. Most of their dishes come with Mexican rice, beans, and tortillas, and pair nicely with the sharp sweetness of their margaritas, which come by the glass or the pitcher.