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.
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.
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).