At El Paisano, it’s not uncommon to spot a baby in a giant sombrero or a mariachi serenading a diner with a tiny trumpet. This lively Mexican eatery bustles with color and energy from morning until nightfall—particularly on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month, when it plays host to live mariachi performances. Attentive servers bustle about the bright dining room, toting complimentary chips and salsa and giant frozen margaritas. Colorful hanging lights illuminate the festive tablecloths and Mexican murals that stretch across the walls.
Meanwhile, in the kitchen, seasoned chefs fold meats and seafood into authentic Mexican specialties—from cheesy chicken chilaquiles to creamy lobster enchiladas. To craft their specialty parrillada dish, they sizzle Spanish-style sausage, grilled steak, chicken breast, and bacon-wrapped jumbo shrimp on a crackling skillet. For dessert, the chefs eschew lackluster meal enders such as cheesecake bought from the store or plastic crumpets borrowed from a child’s tea set in favor of flan, tres leches cake, and other authentically prepared regional specialties.
Designed to charge the senses and infuriate passing bulls, El Borracho's red walls evoke every aspect of Mexican culture and pop culture’s take on Mexico, featuring arched sconces stuffed with Catholic icons; pink nooks highlighting vintage photos; and bones, daggers, and matador portraits hanging from stripped wood panels. The décor keeps awkward silences in conversations to a minimum while adding spice to the sizzling menu. El Borracho serves its foodstuffs family-style, much like they do in authentic Mexican taquerias, only without the complimentary cactus massage. Tacos are available for $2.25–$2.75, while burritos and quesadilla go for $5 a pop. The restaurant provides the trimmings—such as cilantro, onion, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and refried beans—while the customer selects the carne, be it chicken, ground beef, carnitas, chupacabra, or chorizo. Milder palates can get their tacos gringo (flour tortilla, lettuce, tomato, onion, and cheese); true revolutionaries can get them Pancho (corn tortilla, cilantro, onion, and redistributed land).
The salsa bowls are always brimming with tangy, red sauce at El Indio Authentic Mexican Restaurant. The staff stops to top off each bowl as they make their way through the sea-foam green dining room, bringing sizzling fajitas to one table and plates of giant carne asada burritos and white queso dip to others. Most tables opt to sample the house's beef taquitos, which recently made The Riverfront Times list of top 100 dishes in St. Louis. Signature margaritas and beers keep guests refreshed.
If it weren’t for father-son duo Alan and Chuck Bush, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop might’ve closed its doors permanently in 2003. Instead, the two bought the restaurant from its then-owner, transforming the flagship Fort Worth location from faltering to bustling. They slowly started to franchise locations across the country, and, now, 60 restaurants dot 11 states. Each one serves up a menu of Baja-style Mexican food, including jumbo burritos, tacos, enchiladas, and fajitas.
San Jose Mexican Restaurante's generously stuffed burritos and sizzling fajitas won a favorable review from one St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer who described himself as "notoriously picky" about Mexican food. Diners can devour the writer's recommended specialties, or opt for steak platters, vegetarian potato quesadillas, and tilapia tacos.