When the Egoavil and Anguino families emigrated from Peru in 1992, there was an empty Mexican restaurant awaiting them in the United States. They quickly transformed the dining room with a bounty of Mexican and Peruvian art and the menu with a fusion of Mexican and Peruvian dishes, thanks especially to chef Said Anguiano's specialization in the cuisine of Mexico and and chef Carmen Egoavil's knack for Peruvian fare. Their efforts were so successful that they earned the Best of Lambertville Award in 2013.
Today, Anguiano stuffs fish inside tacos and Egoavil marinates the seafood in the ceviche dish’s lime juice and Peruvian peppers. She blankets chicken in a spicy pepper sauce in the aji de gallina dish, while Anguiano folds chicken into enchiladas, burritos, and tamales. The two countries’ traditional meals sit side-by-side on tables in the bright orange dining room or out on the pet-friendly patio.
Tortuga's Cocina keeps belly bearings delectably lubricated with an expansive menu of tacos, enchiladas, burritos, and more. Dull appetites can be sharpened to deadly keenness with starters such as the guacamole dip ($9 for lunch, $10 for dinner) or the nachos supreme, layered with refried beans, ground beef, melted cheese, jalapeños, and sour cream ($12). With their bellies properly primed, diners can dig into house specials such as the chipotle shrimp, ($18), or the pollo mole, a boneless chicken breast marinated in chilis and slathered with a cocoa-based mole sauce ($16).
Since its founding on Cinco de Mayo, 1989, El Taco Loco has sought to transport the flavors of a California taqueria to the East Coast without the help of preservatives, fillers, artificial flavoring, or lard. Along with classic fajitas, enchiladas, and carne-asada burritos, the extensive menu tweaks tradition with offerings such as the Mexican BLT taco and french fries with a piquant house spice blend, all of which can take on extra heat at the complimentary salsa bar. In the summer, sidewalk flower boxes beckon guests into El Taco Loco's storefront, designed to resemble a beach hut complete with grass roof and vacationing starfish.
Rattlesnake Ranch Cafe first alerts the senses with the sight of sunset-pink walls. Around the room, a Southwestern-themed mural and bison head express the restaurant’s touch of the eclectic. Traditional Latin meals and wild game highlight the plates. Chef Miguel Garrido has exemplified this unique flavor since 1997 with cooking techniques that he brought with him from Guatemala. His blackened catfish and chicken habanero evoke recipes from the Gulf with Cajun spices and spicy peppers, and the country-fried alligator serves up a tamer version of the snapping specimen, with battered strips of alligator tenderloin and country gravy.
Underneath Mexican Mike's festive, cactus-bearing rooftop, servers deliver a menu of fresh Mexican-American cuisine. The four soft corn tortillas served with Mom's enchiladas ($8.25–$11) embrace heaps of oaxaca cheese and a choice of meat, vegetables, or fish before being smothered in house-made sauce and secret butterfly kisses. The Diablo tequila-chicken burrito ($9) unites spicy vegetables with a tequila sauce to create a tongue-intoxicating bundle that's aptly washed down with margaritas fashioned from Mike's mixes and customers' tequila (BYOB). Competitive stomachs can take on the Papa Grande burrito challenge, requiring them to consume a pair of rice-, bean-, and spicy chicken-tinga-filled tortillas in less than 15 minutes, using no more than six wisdom teeth to chew. Mexican Mike's delivers its eats to designated nearby towns—Caldwell, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Fairfield, Montclair, North Caldwell, Pinebrook, Roseland, Verona, and West Caldwell—and customers can recognize their approaching food by its trusty chaperone, a 1988 lime-green Reliant, topped by a brave sombrero hat. This Groupon does not cover delivery fees.
Tortilla Sunrise’s gastro gurus imbue succulent meats and fresh vegetables with authentic south-of-the-border flair to create a menu of Mexican favorites. Feasting duos and foursomes can race to solve Pythagorean’s theorem with a basket of right-angled, homemade tortilla chips dunked in fresh red salsa and delivered straight to their door. Succulent cuts of beef, chicken, or lamb mix with a garden of fajita peppers and onions to allay stomach abandonment issues, and a cheesy plate of three enchiladas arrives stuffed with beef, chicken, pork, chorizo, or vegetables, and doused in the chef’s signature sauce. In addition to delivery, patrons can also place an order and carry out their fare on the way back from work or a peace-treaty signing that ran late.