Within the colorfully decorated walls and adobe tile floors that comprise Los Machados Mexican Restaurant, smells of hearty bistecs and sizzling fajitas fill the air. The appetizing aromas drift from the kitchen, where chefs whip up authentic eats such as carne asada, mole poblano, and an array of fajitas, tacos, and burritos. Margaritas, daiquiris, and tequila sunrises lubricate guests' dining experience, and fried ice cream and flan bring meals to a decadent conclusion.
A laid-back restaurant with a reputation for flavorsome fare, Agave serves a variety of Mexican mealtime options. Classic choices include tamales ($12) and fish tacos ($14) made with grilled mahi, and edgier selections such as hot Mexican rockets—a spicy dish of jalapeño peppers stuffed with chicken and cheese, wrapped in bacon, and fried ($7)—enhance the eating experience. Vegetarians can dine on a number of meatless dishes, such as the veggie fajitas for two ($20) or the farmer's market quesadilla cooked with garden vegetables fresher than a license plate in Bel-Air ($12).
El Tapatio Mexican Restaurant's neon-green and bright-red sign is merely an appetizer for the feast of colors within. Red- and orange-striped booths, sky-blue chairs, textured sunflower walls, and tabletops painted with smiling suns, blossoming tulips, and fruit dominate the space. This festive atmosphere sets an ideal scene for enjoying carne asada, chicken enchiladas, tacos filled with pork and beans, and churros. El Tapatio—whose name refers to a Guadalajara native—also mixes up delicious margaritas, which were dubbed the Best Margaritas by Delaware Today in 2008.
Chefs use grass-fed beef, cage-free chicken, and steroid-free pulled pork that hail from sustainable sources to craft a bounty of tortilla-wrapped treats that take their names from the likes of Caddyshack, Fletch, and Seinfeld. It's this dual mindset of serious food and irreverent attitude that tinges every one of the eatery's southwestern morsels, from the Art Vandalay burrito to the John Coctostan quesadilla. As the kitchen staff crafts their daily batch of guacamole to join the lineup of six zesty salsas, diners choose from a list of more than 20 ingredients to fill out the entree that will soon be conjured before their eyes. Because dishes are made to order, each finds easy customization for vegetarian, gluten free, and low-calorie diets, and the absence of microwaves, trans-fats, and MSG keep eats wholesome. Meanwhile, a complimentary accompaniment of chips and salsa turns portions into full meals faster than an industry-grade blow-up ray.
"Know your strengths" is sound advice that Mexican Café has taken to heart—they mix more than 12 types of margaritas. These variants go beyond their signature margarita (prepped on the rocks, with or without salt) by imbuing sips with citrusy flavor. The orange crush, for example, is made-to-order with freshly squeezed oranges, whereas the agaverita replaces Triple Sec with agave nectar. These join imported beers, sangria, and specialty cocktails on a sprawling drink menu, which guests can peruse inside the vibrant dining room or on the outdoor deck.
When it comes to food, the café continues to embrace variety. Tacos come stuffed with chicken, steak, pork, and even chopped shrimp, sprinkled with traditional garnishes of cilantro and onion or Americanized toppings of lettuce, and tomatoes. Burritos satisfy vegetarians and meat-eaters alike with spinach and steak versions, including the "Sunken" burrito, served beneath Texas-style chili.