Known for its award-winning margaritas, Don Julio’s also wins guests over at several Texas locations with a variety of Mexican specialties, including guacamole made tableside. The chefs take pride in using fresh chicken, housemade chipotle sauce, seafood bought fresh at local Kemah markets, and a hearty amount of beans and avocado to flavor dishes. Entrees take their names from various Mexican cities, such as the Puerto Vallarta—a combination of enchiladas, tacos, tamales, and puffed chili con queso.
The portable snack, originally crafted back in 1960 in a 2,000-square-foot building in Houston, is the popular pick among discriminating Texans, including Mayor Annise Parker and Governor Rick Perry. Alamo tamales also make a mouthwatering gift for anyone who enjoys the sensation of brushing his or her teeth but would rather use shredded chicken instead of toothpaste.
Berryhill Baja Grill continues an 84-year-old culinary tradition begun by Walter Berryhill, who sold his handmade tamales around Houston with nothing but a pushcart, a tortilla press, and his personal recipe. Today, the grill’s tamales pack savory cornmeal and fillings such as beef, pork, and spinach within cornhusks recently liberated from overcrowded cornucopias. Elsewhere on the menu, fish tacos combine tempura-battered fish, special sauce, and cilantro in a hearty corn tortilla, and pollo platters smother grilled chicken breast with affection in the form of poblano peppers and mushrooms—the hugs and joint tax returns of the food world.
Madres Restaurant's new location matches the charm of the original Friendswood eatery, dishing out the same elegant takes on lime-marinated ceviche, sizzling fajitas, and sauce-slathered enchiladas. After finishing off the last bacon-wrapped shrimp brochette, patrons can request that a chef wrap bacon around other Madres offerings, such as buffalo wings or glasses of red wine.
Skillets of fajitas sizzle on their way to the dining room's deep booths. Chords from a Spanish guitar spill from the bar as laughs roll out from one of three banquet rooms. On the patio, some 40 tables share their brick-paved pen with a mechanical bull that snarls at passersby and inflatable moonwalks filled with playful children.
Such is a typical evening at Las Rosas Mexican Restaurant, where an unmistakable energy charges the entire facility. The current begins in the kitchen, where each day chefs follow family recipes to churn out handmade tamales, tortillas, and red and green sauces. The vibe then pulses through the dining room, where a white stone fireplace anchors an open space flanked by booths and 13 60-inch TVs that broadcast games and events. The patio hosts alfresco dining and amusements for the young and young-at-heart who aren't afraid to tumble off a carnival ride in public.
Chefs at Aztecas Margarita Bar & Grill prepare a full menu of authentic Mexican fare including guacamole made to order, dark mole poblano sauces, and fresh ceviche. The pollo Azteca—marinated and chargrilled chicken breast with Azteca sauce, grilled onions, and chili con queso—ignites palates with more flavor and fewer missing teeth than chewing firecrackers. Meanwhile, mariscos mex-tex enchiladas with sautéed shrimp and crab topped with house-made ancho poblano cream sauce follow up orders of Azteca nachos and twice-fried, cheese-filled jalapeños rellenos. The red, green, and yellow walls adorned with exposed bricks and flat-screen TVs surround diners during the day and dancers twirling to live music or DJs throughout the night. Behind the full bar, bartenders pour signature margaritas, frozen or on the rocks, infused with fruit flavors such as guava or mango. An outdoor patio holds additional seating for dining alfresco or picnicking without bears.