Upon walking through the front door at Antigua Real, diners are immersed in colorful artwork and decorations that personify the Latin cultures the chefs draw from for their dishes. The hallway leading to the main dining room surrounds guests in a vibrant mosaic, and art pieces from Central America cover the walls, save for the space taken by the lit fireplace and one coin-sized hole that reveals another dimension. One would think that the allure of the dining room would steal the attention, but Antigua's chefs ensure their menu of spicy dishes prepared to authentic Mexican standards, or inspired by the flavors of Spain, Cuba, and the Caribbean, steals the show. Eclectic flavor combinations, such as savory chili sauces dusted with roasted almonds, tease taste buds into wanting more. A lounge area with a full bar also entices guests to stop in after stressful days and enjoy smoothies and milkshakes.
Fajitas Grill is a place where the staff envisions families creating new memories over plates of authentic Mexican cuisine. In the cheerful space, decorated with artwork and warm colors, the kitchen staff serves up the sizzling fajitas that the spot is named for. Each dish is loaded with ingredients such as grilled steak, garden veggies, and pork with roasted pineapple. These flavorful meats and vegetables also get piled onto handmade tortillas and rolled into enchiladas. Thirsty patrons can pair meals with a glass of wine or a margarita made with smooth, oak-aged tequila.
Just as Thomas Edison stumbled through useless prototypes of light bulbs and movie cameras before perfecting the phonograph, the alchemists at Qdoba Mexican Grill took 47 attempts before landing on the franchise's signature blend of three cheeses, known simply as queso. That attention to detail still pervades every aspect of the menu, as employees spend hours each day chopping, dicing, and simmering the fresh ingredients that find their way into burritos, taco salads, and grilled quesadillas. Beyond the marinated bites of chicken, beef, and pork and hand-crafted tortillas, cooks protect their ripe, fragile avocados from harm by smashing them into batches of fluffy guacamole.
La Perla?s colorful dining room centers on a unique entertainment device. Whereas other restaurants simply hang up flat-screen TVs, La Perla offers diners the chance to ride a giant red chili pepper draped with a saddle. The mechanical pepper bucks riders of all ages while onlookers enjoy Guadalajara-style dishes from the menu including steak or chicken tacos, tequila-laced shrimp skewers, and sizzling fajitas, while a new indoor fireplace fuels intimate experiences. During warmer months, La Perla features two patios with an outdoor fireplace, two firepits, and party cabanas.
Beneath the glow of warm lights, Casa Tequila delights taste buds with the vivacious flavors of authentic Mexican dishes. Chefs draw on fresh ingredients and produce exclusively, ensuring that every dish is free of packaged sauces and Lincoln Logs. Sauciers prepare guacamole before tables, and the restaurant's many flat screen TVs fill the space between bites with UW Badger and Green Bay Packer games. A full bar, replete with imported beer, margaritas, and daily specials, keeps spirits merry and coasters employed.
Punctuated by festive colors, a plentiful bar, and ample outdoor seating, La Chimenea's two locations put diners in the mood to celebrate. Owner Hector Jimenez—who also has a website dedicated to healthy Mexican food—offers dishes that run the gamut of Mexican staples. Menu items include homemade guacamole and sirloin-steak fajitas, along with more innovative creations, such as the specialty chilies en Nogada, which fills two poblano peppers with ground beef, peaches, apples, and nuts before slathering it all in a creamy cashew sauce. At the bar, a variety of tequilas anoint lime, strawberry, or raspberry margaritas, and patio seating keeps the seasons at bay with a fire pit during the winter months and a restaurant-sized snow globe over the summer.