The staff members at Tortilleria La Buena Vida abides by the idea that "the tortilla makes the taco," which is why they crank out fresh corn and flour tortillas each day. They fill these tasty tortillas with a variety of fixings, including chicken, pork, and shrimp, drawing from recipes that span Mexico. To wash down meals, the casual taqueria offers authentic Mexican drinks including aguas frescas which are fresh water fruit drinks.
Seven years ago, Rico's Mexican Grill brought its brand of Tex-Mex to The Woodlands. Today it boasts five locations throughout the region as well as a family of 400 employees. Together, the staff members adhere to the original restaurant's high standards for fine Mexican cuisine with a local twist. In their family-oriented eateries adorned in classic Texas decor, such as Matthew McConaughey's searing gaze, they serve a menu of enchiladas, tacos, and sizzling fajitas. The fajitas are especially a source of pride. They marinate the meat in a secret sauce for 24 hours and serve the grilled morsels with housemade tortillas. Aside from traditional Tex-Mex entrees, they grill enticing fare such as quail and red snapper. To compliment their dishes, they mix mean margaritas and cocktails and fill glasses with imported and domestic beers and wines amid frequent live entertainment.
Berryhill Baja Grill continues an 84-year-old culinary tradition begun by Walter Berryhill, who sold his handmade tamales around Houston with nothing but a pushcart, a tortilla press, and his personal recipe. Today, the grill’s tamales pack savory cornmeal and fillings such as beef, pork, and spinach within cornhusks recently liberated from overcrowded cornucopias. Elsewhere on the menu, fish tacos combine tempura-battered fish, special sauce, and cilantro in a hearty corn tortilla, and pollo platters smother grilled chicken breast with affection in the form of poblano peppers and mushrooms—the hugs and joint tax returns of the food world.
Beneath the soft whirring of ceiling fans at all three Houston-area locations, chefs transform fresh ingredients into meat-centric and vegetarian Mexican dishes. Dark wooden beams hover over the sprawling, sunlit dining rooms, framing artfully plated seafood and steaks with dramatic architectural details. Spy conventions furtively crunch their nachos in private dining rooms, and visitors to the Cypress location can toast to tortillas on the outdoor patio.
The soaring dining room of La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant resembles a splendid manor in Mexico, with vine-draped balconies, colorful mosaic walls, and tiled awnings. Vibrant murals of mariachis beam down from the upper-level balconies, their faces lit by glittering chandeliers. Servers bustle up and down the stairs of the multi-tiered dining area, bearing baskets of warm tortilla chips and fiery salsas. Outside in the restaurant’s playground, whippersnappers careen down colorful slides as their parents watch from the lush outdoor patio, sipping frozen margaritas.
In the kitchen of this colorful Mexican eatery, chefs whip up a menu of classics, including crispy tacos, sizzling fajitas, and cheesy enchiladas. They fold fresh seafood into a variety of specialties, including buttery shrimp Mazatlan and garlicky steamed snapper. The accommodating chefs even offer a menu of kid-friendly eats, including chicken fingers served with fries and quesadillas served with a few pages of completed homework assignments.