Mexican culture permeates every aspect of 3 Margaritas, from its namesake cocktail and south-of-the-border fare to a colorful interior packed with festive touches. Scarlet hues smolder on walls like fire-engulfed strawberry orchards, working in aesthetic harmony with vibrant wooden chairs, each carved with an intricate bird or flower. Servers weave between these chairs to dole out menu items prepared with just as much exotic flair, including pizza mexicana—an entree that swaps crusts for flour tortillas packed with shrimp, chicken, and steak—and signature fruity margaritas.
Authentic Mexican dishes slathered in salsa and mole sauce send up savory wisps of steam from atop Mi Lupita’s casual wooden tabletops. In the kitchen, chefs stuff tortillas with chicken, shrimp, and steak as well as more inventive ingredients such as cactus and mixologists swirl together 60-ounce margaritas behind a bar.
In the kitchens of La Cantina, sister restaurant to Amigos Cantina in Kirkwood, chef Robert Trevino whips up edible masterpieces. The menu includes authentic Mexican empanadas, fajitas, and tortas, inspired by culinary skills inherited from his mother and deep roots in Monte Morelos, Mexico and San Antonio, Texas. Guests dine under a canopy of Mexican tricolor flags, surrounded by dark-varnished wood on the ground floor, or climb the stairs to the balcony for meals of carnitas and pollo monterrey sided with frosty hand-shaken margaritas on their Margarita Monday.
Flowing steadily from a fountain, or la fuente in Spanish, water represents luck, promises, hopes, and dreams. For the past decade or so, Las Fuentes restaurant has certainly fulfilled the virtue of its name, as the family-owned eatery has expanded to three locations across St. Louis. At each spot, chefs prepare authentic Mexican feasts fit for meat eaters, seafood lovers, and vegetarians alike. Soft corn and flour tortillas envelop succulent meats, such as al pastor, shrimp, and shredded beef. Cast-iron skillets sizzle with fresh fajita vegetables and a bounty of seafood, including scallops and tilapia. Vegetarians, meanwhile, can enjoy tostadas, chalupas, and quesadillas chock-full of beans and cheese. As patrons chow down, they can also enjoy the day?s event, such as karaoke or a live mariachi band, or order from the new bar at the Arnold location.
Though the Midwest isn?t the most obvious locale for modern latin fusion cuisine, Flaco?s Cocina?from patio to downstairs lounge?proves that dishes can still taste authentic in the middle of the country. Everything about the restaurant exudes a latin ambiance, from the giant fish mosaics, painted beach scenes and live music of El Paraiso Lounge to the bright blue walls and red chairs that play calypso music each time a diner stands up. Amid the vibrant dining room, downstairs lounge, and airy patio, guests dig into fajitas, tacos, and quesadillas that teem with seafood, spices, and citrus touches. To complement the spicy eats, margaritas douse tongues with a choice of handpicked tequilas?such as Don Julio Silver, Patron Silver, and Cabo Wabo?which guests can also enjoy at the full bar in the newly opened downstairs El Paraiso Lounge. Sleek hardwood floors run throughout, supporting a stage that plays home to an eclectic lineup of live music. The downstairs area also hosts special events, private parties, holiday celebrations, and salsa lessons on its spacious dance floor. Live music and DJs are an extra fee.
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.