Marianella and her brother Marco assert on their site that they “were raised practically in their mother’s Latin American restaurants.” With such a familiarity with the restaurant industry, the siblings opened their own eatery in 2001, dedicating the menu to the cuisines of Chiapas and Puebla, Mexico and incorporating occasional Peruvian recipes. The hearty and affordable selection of beef-filled burritos, sizzling chicken fajitas, and ceviche earned the restaurant a space on CBS Baltimore’s 2011 list of the Best Mexican Food in Baltimore. Yellow walls, brightly colored tablecloths, and framed pictures of the Mexican desert help create a rustic cantina ambience. Local bands meet at the restaurant every weekend to entertain diners with acoustic performances and lectures on basic typewriter maintenance.
Zen West lassos together an assortment of Tex-Mex fare and American Western décor in a laid-back environment primed for dinner and drinks. Cowhands can tether their horses to a bike rack before sauntering inside to peruse the menu and fill up on tacos ($6.95+) and burritos ($7.95+) stuffed with steak, chicken, vegetables, and other tasty morsels. After an exhausting afternoon of throwing hay bales into an obnoxious neighbor’s pool, refuel with sandwiches such as the fried chicken sandwich ($8.95) and the grilled portobello sandwich ($7.95). Additionally, thirsty patrons can stock up on drinks at the bar.
Loco Hombre is a Tex-Mex outpost serving favorites from both sides of the border, giving star-crossed hamburger and taco fans a meeting place at last. The dinner menu boasts Southwestern succulents such as the crab, artichoke, and chorizo dip ($10), whose Old Bay–dusted tortilla chips act as the spicy vessel for gooey goodness. Mexican entrees include pork tacos, with carnitas playing a staring role in a musical of flavors that includes chorus members queso fresco, jalapeño escabeche, and cilantro ($13). A jalapeño-popper burger stuffs Roseda beef with jalapeños and cream cheese and serves it up alongside a chipotle-ranch sauce ($15 for 1 lb., $13 for 8 oz.). Entrees such as the jambalaya ($18) contend for the heavyweight taste title, with ingredients such as chicken and a duo of sausages melding harmoniously in a Creole stew of peppers, tomato, onion, okra, and rice. Loco Hombre also serves lunch, a better way to satisfy midday Tex-Mex cravings than eating salsa out of a Longhorns cap.
The chefs at Mi Viejo Pueblito Restaurant sizzle up dinner and lunch menus packed full of authentic Mexican flavors. At dinnertime, patrons smuggle beef, melted cheese, and fresh guacamole into stomachs via quesadillas ($8.50) and silence stomachs before they begin arguing with the pancreas by dining on fajitas camarones, where grilled shrimp mingles on a hot plate with bell peppers ($13.50). Sink delectable shrimp into a glass of tangy sauce with the Mexican-style shrimp cocktail ($8.50), or stretch jaw muscles in anticipation of the guisados de puerco, stewed pork in green and red sauce ($9.50). Parched noshers crack open cervezas, uncork bottles of wine, or stab open fermented juice boxes brought from home, in accordance with Mi Viejo Pueblito's BYOB policy, and kick back on weekends as live bands belt out jazz tunes.
Recently featured in the Baltimore Sun, Diablita boasts a tantalizing menu chock-full of contemporary Mexican cuisine, with dashes of Caribbean flavor and Texas 'tude tossed in for good measure. Exotic starters, such as crispy, chipotle-encrusted calamari ($9) or pulled-pork empanadas ($9), set the stage for meals made of fresh, novel ingredients. Diablita serves burritos with rice and beans, pico de gallo, and cilantro sour cream; burritos come in mushroom ($11), chicken ($10), and shrimp ($14.50) varieties, each flavor hailing from an alternate reality in the tortilla time continuum. Fajitas such as the tequila-lime chicken ($16) and the adobe-marinated pork ($15.50) flank their protein-rich centerpieces with masterfully sautéed onions. House-made churros ($6.50) conclude the comestible parade with sugar-ignited fireworks.