Despite the adage that warns against messing with Texas, Jaime and Alicia Santillan had no problem giving Tex-Mex cuisine the cold shoulder when they opened Los Braceros Mexican Bar & Grill. The couple amassed dishes from their home country into a menu that has since won praise from Amarillo Magazine for its unflagging devotion to authentic Mexican food.
When he’s not strolling around the dining room, making sure customers are enjoying their food and wearing matching socks, Jaime supervises his kitchen staff as they prep plenty of tacos, enchiladas, tamales, and seafood entrees. The restaurant's grill often sizzles with the signature parrillada platter: your choice of three meats, from lamb chops to chicken, served with sides of rice, beans, and guacamole. It also roasts more obscure south-of-the-border meals, such as codorniz, a 2- to 6-ounce marinated quail, and Mexican-style ribs.
The restaurant, which is housed in a restored Route 66 building, stocks an impressive supply of tequila to augment its spicy eats. Patrons can sip on fiery samples or order beer from the full bar, which provides seating for live musical shows on Fridays and Saturdays.
Under the hands of a chef with 30 years of experience, the classic Mexican and American dishes at Ferndando’s become a flavorful meal for all ages. While kids can try out their taste buds with the introductory Mexican flavors in the taco with beans and rice or the mini-quesadilla, adults can test out their spice tolerance with the ten flavors of salsa on the hot sauce bar. These sauces can be drizzled over everything from the burritos layered inside two eight-inch tortillas or the house’s spicy seafood dishes such as shrimp cooked in pico de gallo. Outside traditional entrees, the chefs also cook sirloin steaks accented with jalapenos and American classics such as fried chicken and hamburgers.
La Frontera has filled its menu with classic Mexican dishes, such as a family recipe for beef picadillo, since its founding in 1985. Huevos rancheros and chorizo burritos grace the breakfast menu, and flautas join traditional and soft nachos at lunchtime. Carne guisada, tostadas, and tacos crown dinner plates alongside rice, beans, and salad, and paletas (Mexican popsicles) in flavors such as watermelon and coconut join buñuelos for dessert. La Frontera also serves American dishes, such as cheeseburgers and cheese fries, amid the dining room's inlaid ceramic tile and Coca-Cola ephemera, such as vintage bottles, cans, tins, and free-floating carbonation bubbles.
La Fiesta Grande's chefs populate a colossal menu with authentic south-of-the-border dishes, earning their eatery the third-place spot in CityVoter's Best Mexican Restaurant 2009. Beef, chicken, or shrimp conductors direct the steaming fajita skillet's sizzling ballad, soothing appetites and inspiring star-crossed veggies, guacamole, and pico de gallo to fall in love with teeth (beef or chicken, $10.99; beef and chicken, $11.99; shrimp, $14.99; trio platter, $13.99). Diners can sic seafaring chompers on the baja crispy fish tacos' triumvirate of tortilla-breaded ocean dwellers, reigning over swells of house-made baja sauce ($10.99). Meanwhile, a dollop of sour cream as fluffy as a pillow stuffed with cumulus clouds tops the spinach enchilada platter's cheesy trio of vitamin-packed cylinders ($8.99).
The menu at Gatti’s Pizza catalogs thin-crust pies, original disks, and deep-dish masterpieces, including seven signature pizzas. Customers can construct their own circular meal ($7.99+) by selecting crust style, size, and toppings, or satisfy their stomachs with options such as the barbecue-chicken cheese-and-sauce saucer, which lays bar staples on a bed of dough ($9.99+). Those opposed to meat can dig their teeth into a large vegetarian sampler, which whirls together a bounty of smoked provolone, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, black olives, and diced tomatoes ($9.99+). The Meat Market ($9.99+), meanwhile, gluts the palate with pepperoni, sausage, canadian bacon, burger, and extra roundness.
This spicy institution first ventured into the world as a pulled wagon stuffed with steaming, delicious foods. As Tango’s taco wagon’s fame spread, so too did its mobile abilities. It soon emerged from its taco-shell cocoon as a motorized food truck. The eatery eventually morphed into the immovable taco shop it is today, which serves guests savory meats, crisp vegetables, and spicy sauces snuggled up next to one another inside warm tortillas. Its current menu is a mix of traditional and innovative Tex-Mex fare, where old-school ground-beef tacos and a crispy chicken-and-waffle taco served with a side of maple syrup coexist swimmingly.