El Tapatio Mexican Restaurant's neon-green and bright-red sign is merely an appetizer for the feast of colors within. Red- and orange-striped booths, sky-blue chairs, textured sunflower walls, and tabletops painted with smiling suns, blossoming tulips, and fruit dominate the space. This festive atmosphere sets an ideal scene for enjoying carne asada, chicken enchiladas, tacos filled with pork and beans, and churros. El Tapatio?whose name refers to a Guadalajara native?also mixes up delicious margaritas, which were dubbed the Best Margaritas by Delaware Today in 2008.
Within the colorfully decorated walls and adobe tile floors that comprise Los Machados Mexican Restaurant, smells of hearty bistecs and sizzling fajitas fill the air. The appetizing aromas drift from the kitchen, where chefs whip up authentic eats such as carne asada, mole poblano, and an array of fajitas, tacos, and burritos. Margaritas, daiquiris, and tequila sunrises lubricate guests' dining experience, and fried ice cream and flan bring meals to a decadent conclusion.
At Xilantro, El Sarape's Luis Marin wanted to create "authentic old-world Mexican cuisine with a contemporary flair." With the help of his team of chefs, Marin did just that: the camarones en adobo, Puerco en mole verde, and pan-seared mahi-mahi with béchamel and huitlacoche elevates this eatery past standard Mexican food. Guests can also choose more traditional meals, including zesty pastor tacos, cochinita burritos, and burgers topped with award-winning guacamole. All dishes made with corn products are also gluten-free. In the words of one [Thrillist_(http://www.thrillist.com/food/philadelphia/pa/19087/main-line/xilantro_brunch_date-spots_great-cocktails_lunch_mexican_outdoors_tequila_wine#slide=7) writer, the restaurant, "forgoes the sombreros, maracas, and combo plates to offer progressive yet still authentic Mexi dishes." At the bar, bartenders whip up inventive cocktails with more than 100 premium tequilas between popping open Mexican beers and pouring global wines.
The restaurant's interior also reflects Marin's initial goal. Designed by Morrissey Design, the space evokes the laid-back feel of a traditional cantina with the upscale twist of such modern attributes as a modular bar, lime-green accents, and translucent, almost eerie vintage Mexican portraits.
Housemade marinades infuse Tortuga's Mexican Restaurant’s meaty dishes with pops of flavor. Chefs drench fajitas’ skirt steak in a marinade and saturate creamy chipotle-chicken pieces in a smoky jalapeño cream sauce. Lime juice with cilantro and a spicy red chili also flavor meats, which are then stuffed inside a burrito, served on a bed of rice, or displayed on a fluffy pillow. Meat-free dishes include cheesy enchiladas and a trio of tacos filled with beans, cheese, and guacamole.
Following Baja Fresh’s ethos set in 1990 as a healthy take on fast food, never-frozen meats sizzle atop the grill before they're tucked into made-to-order tacos and burritos. Grilled corn and flour tortillas embrace fish, carnitas, chicken, and steak, and smoky queso fundido sidles onto nachos and into burritos. Between bites, chips scoop up salsa made from farm-fresh produce rather than poured out of a can or fabricated in a space-age replicator. A complimentary salsa bar ensures no mouthful goes unspiced, and guests can scoop up their favorites as they await their dine-in, takeout, or catering orders.
Even though he was just four years old when his family emigrated from Puebla, Mexico to the United States, Alfredo Aquilar prepares Mexican food as though he’d lived his whole life there. Under his supervision, chefs at Las Cazuelas prepare authentic dishes such as nopalitos salad—sliced cactus marinated overnight and mixed with cilantro and tomatoes. Abuelitas pollo, whose name means “little grandmother’s chicken” in tribute to its inventor, Alfredo’s own grandmother, is a boneless chicken breast topped with a guajillo pepper sauce. In the kitchen, shrimp snap against hot skillets near pots of slowly roiling chipotle sauce. To wash down steaming feasts, customers tote in bottles of wine or bring along tequila to add to complimentary pitchers of nonalcoholic margarita mix served Sunday–Thursday.
Inside the dining area, blue shutters frame murals of South American cathedrals, rolling countrysides, and maps of Mexico. An outdoor patio offers people-watching opportunities, and the second-floor balcony lets you look people in the eye when telling them you know they are actually a bunch of children stacked up under a big coat.