La Huerta, formerly known as Azulejos, dishes up hearty Mexican-American cuisine from its central location inside the Camino Real. The executive chef endeavors to strike a balance between Mexican and American dishes that emphasize southwest flavors without an overly spicy kick or head pat. One of the eatery’s signature items—tortilla soup—emerges from simple, yet flavorful ingredients: a spicy tomato base, crisp tortillas, avocado, and melted cheese. La Huerta, which is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., also sets out a breakfast and lunch buffet stocked with tasty options.
The scent of grilling lamb, beef, and chicken filters throughout the dining room of Nour Mediterranean Cafe, hinting at marinades, garlic, and herbs. Other Mediterranean staples shine, from the olive oil sprinkled across the pita bread to the yogurt sauce, hummus that drape gyros, and the nour sauce and hot bread. The chefs also twist together stuffed grape leaves, roast eggplants for baba ghanouj, and dice herbs for tabbouleh. Baklava bakes to an even gold in the kitchen, and cups of turkish coffee keep patrons awake through slideshows from a boss’s vacation at the mattress store.
For more than 30 years, Lucy's Restaurant's chrome counters, tiled floors, retro barstools, and wooden diner tables have surrounded customers searching for casual and traditional Tex-Mex cuisine. Chefs start the day with breakfast plates ranging from french toast and omelets to huevos rancheros and huevos norteños. To sate appetites at lunch and dinner, they also craft Mexican dishes such as fried pork carnitas, beef and chicken fajitas, and Mexican-style rib-eye steak, as well as their signature machaca: a dish of shredded beef or chicken, egg, onion, and chili con queso.
At Tacos Chinampa, a taco isn't so much a taco as it is a work of art. What else can you call a freshly fried tortilla stuffed with balanced, seasoned meat and toppings such as grilled onions, radishes, cilantro, and avocado, or the restaurant's specialty, al pastor? The family-owned eatery, opened in 1972, also puts its tortillas and fresh ingredients to use in other dishes such as the quesadilla platter and, of course, a chips and salsa appetizer that's good enough to be a meal on its own.
Moonrise Spirits & Sushi's chefs pair the carefully balanced flavors of sushi with inspired fusion dishes. They craft friendly and familiar rolls, such as spicy salmon or the california. They also make some special maki, including The Last Emperor––a roll-up of lobster, crab, and avocado finished with a mango glaze. Behind the closed doors of the kitchen, they stick to seafood as their specialty, but broaden the range of flavors with ceviche, shrimp tacos, and salmon sandwiches.
The menu at Amore Ristorante Pizzeria raises the quintessential dilemma of Italian cuisine: pizza or pasta? Those opting for pies can slice up crusts laden with gourmet toppings such as prosciutto and brie or pesto and feta. Alternatively, plates of pasta entice diners to spear forkfuls of tortellini and ham or fettuccine alfredo bulked up with chicken or salmon. After dinner, tiramisu and spumoni sweeten meals better than a lazy susan carved out of chocolate.