El Chico's culinary artists paint their tortilla canvases with melted cheese and spiced meats to curate a menu of fiesta-worthy Mexican feasts. Sizzling fajitas surf in to tables on hot skillets, announcing their arrival with aromatic waves of seared beef, chicken, shrimp, or baby back ribs ($15.99) before lying out to sunbathe on soft flour tortillas. Forks and knives slam against chili relleno enchiladas ($9.99), which burst like savory piñatas with cheese and mushrooms or beef. Chipotle-wine sauce imbues the chicken burrito ($10.49) with an air of sophistication as it commingles with tender spiced chicken, rice, and frijoles rancheros. Boulders of fajita steak and avocado speckle the corn-tortilla landscapes of three tacos ($9.49), and pork-tamale trios ($9.99) unwrap their husks to reveal elaborate cave art scrawled in a thick sauce of chili con carne.
With suggestively named hot sauces, brightly colored murals on the walls, and a peculiar enthusiasm for crushed ice, Tijuana Flats aims to provide customers with a fresh and memorable meal that doesn't take itself too seriously. Begin or heavily garnish a meal with chips and a range of handmade salsas, guacamoles, and quesos ($2.29–$3.99), or dive right in to a made-to-order meal customized to your particular proclivities. Most entrees can be prepared with hormone-free pork, beef, chicken, steak, or fresh refried or black free-range beans that have never known an aluminum prison. Crunchy chimichangas ($4.99–$9.69) and crispy quesadillas ($5.39–$6.79) satisfy an unrelenting urge to chomp something beautiful. Standard burritos ($4.69–$9.69) are hand-rolled and stuffed to your specifications, while big bombin' burrito specials ($7.49) like the southwestern Philly cheesesteak offer more adventurous options. Finish your meal off with fresh churros ($2.79) or a cookie dough flauta ($2.89) straight out of your candy-coated dreams.
The rustic interior of Mexican Post sets the tone for the restaurant's menu and hourly Battle of the Alamo reenactments. Starters ($4.75–$7.45) include savory engine revvers such as classic quesadillas, bean dip, or the camarones Acapulco (five shrimp stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon, deep-fried, and served with chipotle sauce). Fulfill your destiny with a larger plate, such as the deluxe burrito mesquite topped with special sauce, grilled veggies, cheese, peppers, and onions ($12.45) or an order of fan-favorite flautas ($10.25). Mix and match tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, and more across various combos ($8.95–$10.95). Accompany and lubricate your meal with a margarita featuring a potent dash from one of the 107 different tequila varieties, or sample a straight shot as anesthetic for an authentic Civil War–style operation.
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.
The word xochitl (pronounced "so-cheet") means flower in the Nahuatl language—so it’s more than fitting that Xochitl's dining room is decorated in bud-like vibrant yellows offset by banquettes in deep crimson. Garden-fresh flavors come to life in the chefs’ ceviches spiked with citrus and in guacamole that gets scooped up with housemade tortilla chips. Earthy comfort food entrees include braised short ribs and a succulent fried chicken dish that begins its path to the table with a 24-hour brining. And because the coveted elixir of the agave plant—tequila—is the star of the restaurant's drink list, Xochitl earned the acme position on CBS Philly's list of "Top Spots for Margaritas in Philadelphia."