For more than three decades, the friendly servers and talented chefs at El Mexico Cafe have dished out helpings of Mexican and Southwestern food, from bean-stuffed burritos smothered in chili to ultimate fajitas with four types of meat. Served amid smoked mirrors and intricate wrought-iron accents, the café's cuisine won it several runner-up distinctions within the 2011 and 2012 Wichita Eagle's Readers' Choice awards. A mariachi band serenades tables each weekend, strumming guitars and squeezing accordions while wearing the traditional outfits of sombreros, charro suits, and astronaut helmets.
Ruben’s Mexican Grill’s cheerful sign invites diners inside the casual family-owned restaurant, where plates of steaming, freshly made Mexican dishes tango with chilled margaritas on the palate. Chefs whip up classic burritos, tacos, and enchiladas, and extend their culinary prowess toward specialty carne asada dinners and shrimp rancheros with fresh peppers, onions, and guacamole. An accommodating wait staff tends to indoor and outdoor dining areas, making guests feel like family even if they believe people come from storks.
At first glance, Rostizeria Los Reyes appears to be a typical Mexican eatery. There are colorful tables and matching chairs with paintings of sombrero-wearing figures on the backs. However, the chefs' specialty isn't tacos, burritos, tostadas, or tortas—it's whole roasted chickens. They serve the birds solo or in threes alongside tortillas, cabbage salad, rice, beans, and hot sauce. For surf and turf, eaters can pair the chickens with seafood soup, shrimp entrees, shrimp cocktails, or refried posters of surfing legend Kelly Slater.
The chile craftsmen at Fabiola's Restaurant LLC launch taste buds across the Rio Grande with a menu of authentic south-of-the-border dishes. Before dashing off on digestion races, diners can warm up mouth-muscles by yodeling the contents of a phone book or noshing on a piquant platter of fajita nachos ($7.45–$8.45). Main culinary events include the chile relleno, a deep-fried poblano pepper stuffed with cheese before passing out on a bed of corn or flour tortillas ($9.45). A half-pound burger ($6.95) fuses Latin and gringo flavors with a harmonious union of beef, jalapeños, and guacamole, and Maria's especial ($11.95) showcases carne asada, grilled onions, and bell peppers flanked by an entourage of rice, beans, and guacamole. For indulgent finales, dessert-smiths demonstrate culinary prowess by frying up ice cream, which is the second most challenging item to introduce to hot oil after socially awkward snowmen ($4.49).
Forming a model U.N. of lunch and dinner options, Ben Villar's Mexican Restaurant negotiates the ever-shifting allegiances of beans, cheese, rice, and tortillas into burritos, nachos supreme, and specialty monterreys. For dinner, try the deluxe burrito drenched in chili and cheese ($8.29), or the special monterrey, spicy slow-roasted pork reclining on a crispy tortilla, done up in a gown of refried beans, cheese, avocado, and shimmering jewels of jalapeños and green olives ($7.59). The friendly staff serves lunch options that include the prismatic lunch sampler consisting of one taco, one enchilada, chili verde, rice, and beans ($6.29), and the more modest lunch burrito with chili and cheese for a dollar more ($4.79). Offset the heat of a jalapeño-infused dinner with a piece of cooling cheesecake ($3.99) or a soothing nap in a walk-in freezer.