Though Diego Cantina's over-the-top decor welcomes diners inside, its authentic Mexican cuisine crafted from fresh ingredients urges them to stay. Alejandrina Garza and her three children opened Diego's Cantina in an attempt to bring their Mexican heritage to Sugar Land. Described in Living magazine as a "little piece of Tampico, Mexico [the Garza family] left behind," the restaurant impresses visitors with its oversized replicas of Mayan hieroglyphics and paintings. Bathed in soft lighting emanating from chandeliers and tabletop candles, diners eat traditional dishes fueled by family recipes while sipping on beverages served from a blue, glowing tequila bar.
La Cocina’s chefs fill out its menu with house-made tortillas bulging with fresh ingredients, served in an atmosphere that calls upon its culinary influences with paintings of Mexican villages. The chicken, beef, or pork in the Carlitos Treat fajitas ($10.99) wears a crown of cheese, guac, and pico de gallo, just like the one worn by the good witch in the land of Oz. Carne Guisada, a south-of-the-border stew with Tex-Mex roots, comes with buoys of beef tips and veggies bobbing in a savory brown sauce ($8.99). Sauce infused with bacon, jalapeños, and wine bathes quail in the quail-and-fajita combo ($13.49).
With traditional dinner and lunch menus chock-full of seafood, poultry, and meat plates, Las Alamedas quells a litany of cravings in an elegant dining room. In the fajita prime-sliced entrée ($16 for lunch; $20 for dinner), slices of mesquite-grilled beef mingle with onions and poblano peppers on a plate flanked by guacamole, pico de gallo, charro beans, and flour tortillas that can be used to smuggle bottles of hot sauce out of the restaurant. A serving of camarones Cozumel fills bellies with coconut pan-fried shrimp, a habanero and mango dipping sauce, and a side of potatoes ($18 for lunch; $24 for dinner), while the robalo chileno coats a serving of sea bass in herbs and sundried-tomato sauce ($27; dinner only). The vegetarian plate accommodates meat-free diets, slinging spinach-and-cheese enchiladas with grilled vegetables, rice, and guacamole ($15, dinner only) . Though the high ceilings and elegant arched doorways might tempt diners to stay indoors, Las Alamedas offers patio seating for those who want to breathe fresh air or make fake mustaches out of plant life.
Fernando's menus showcase South American ingredients and flavors amid an elegant supper club atmosphere, where weekends herald live music and dance-floor tours. An appetizer sampler ($7 for one, $12 for two) relieves decision-making anxiety with a bundle of favorites: golden-fried battered shrimp, shredded yucca crab cake with black bean sauce, and ceviche de pescado (diced marinated snapper, onions, tomatoes, and cilantro lime). Make good on your promise to eat the entire ocean with Fernando's classic seafood paella (saffron rice, clams, mussels, scallops, shrimp, fish, crawfish, calamari, chicken, and Spanish chorizo, $28), or dress your plate in a juicy steak Hickl, 12 ounces of char-grilled marinated rib eye served with mashed potato and asparagus ($28). For carb-fueled feeding, experience the signature mind-meld of European and American cuisine exemplified in the pasta Fernando's, which graces angel-hair pasta with tomatoes, black beans, garlic, basil, cilantro, and grilled chicken breast ($12.50).