Ornate paper flags and glimmering stars are suspended from Fiesta Ole Mexican Restaurant’s colorful, tiled walls, accenting plates of authentic Mexican dishes that appear from the cocina. Chefs crease tortillas into tacos, fajitas, burritos, and enchiladas while sautéing a variety of meat, seafood, and vegetarian specialties. Bartenders pour cups full of Mexican beers and cocktails as dinner conversations blossom at tables and booths in the cheerful dining room. The restaurant hosts regular salsa nights, offering diners a reprieve from trying to dance with strangers’ great danes at the dog park.
At Mexico Lindo, heaping plates of sizzling meats and authentic Mexican dishes—the recipes for which were gleaned during owner Jose Perez’s time spent training in Mexico—emerge from the kitchen and head toward red-checkered tables. Tantalizing aromas of fresh corn tortillas mingling with the salty fragrance of chorizo and marinated pork fill the air, and glasses overflow with beer and wine brought from each diner’s home or vestigial wine spigot. China poblana, Mexico Lindo’s speciality, submerges two enchiladas under traditional mole, and packs an additional two with marinated pork and Oaxaca cheese.
Rattlesnake Cantina operates under the idea that going out to eat should be like a mini vacation. The restaurant backs up that belief by leading its visitors on a colorful trip through the Southwest of the United States, complete with a vibrant wall mural of a Southwestern desert?s golden sand hills and pink and purple skies. Seated next to that mural, or in one of Rattlesnake?s other brightly lit nooks, you can tackle traditional Mexican specialties while sipping on a margarita or tipping an invisible cowboy hat in approval between bites. You can also try out the restaurant?s southwestern spin on American classics, including an avocado and chorizo burger and pork chops served with hot cherry peppers.
The small-plate prodigies at Ole Tapas Bar & Restaurant craft a variety of Spanish-inspired tapas served to eager patrons as they lounge in a dimly lit, comfortable bar atmosphere. Diners can peruse an eclectic menu packed with carne skewers glazed in teriyaki or wasabi ($8) and crab cakes smothered in spicy remoulade sauce ($8). Those with dietary restrictions or those who lost hard-fought spelling bees to wheat can sample a wide range of gluten-free bites, including bacon-wrapped shrimp enhanced by a tomatillo sauce ($8) and the seared thai tuna served rare, topped with thai barbecue sauce, and paired with cucumber salad ($10). Frequent live acts envelop patrons in musical embraces, made even warmer with the addition of a drink from the full bar.
At Badlands Tacos, diners are transported to the titular locale upon gazing at the eatery's southwestern decor. Cow skulls adorned with feathers and bright ceramic art festoon the umber-colored walls. From behind a walk-up counter, a chalkboard menu displays an array of Mexican tacos, chimichangas, and 11 kinds of enormous burritos filled with fixings such as flank steak, cilantro, and guacamole. Badlands Tacos offers numerous ways to celebrate Cinco De Mayo: from booths and tables at their BYOB restaurant, outdoor seating, catering for special occasions, or take-out to feed pet llamas hidden under the porch.
Underneath Mexican Mike's festive, cactus-bearing rooftop, servers deliver a menu of fresh Mexican-American cuisine. The four soft corn tortillas served with Mom's enchiladas ($8.25–$11) embrace heaps of oaxaca cheese and a choice of meat, vegetables, or fish before being smothered in house-made sauce and secret butterfly kisses. The Diablo tequila-chicken burrito ($9) unites spicy vegetables with a tequila sauce to create a tongue-intoxicating bundle that's aptly washed down with margaritas fashioned from Mike's mixes and customers' tequila (BYOB). Competitive stomachs can take on the Papa Grande burrito challenge, requiring them to consume a pair of rice-, bean-, and spicy chicken-tinga-filled tortillas in less than 15 minutes, using no more than six wisdom teeth to chew. Mexican Mike's delivers its eats to designated nearby towns—Caldwell, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Fairfield, Montclair, North Caldwell, Pinebrook, Roseland, Verona, and West Caldwell—and customers can recognize their approaching food by its trusty chaperone, a 1988 lime-green Reliant, topped by a brave sombrero hat. This Groupon does not cover delivery fees.