“El Paso,” an old song by Marty Robbins, tells the story of a man who falls in love with a Mexican girl while dancing the night away at a cantina. Unfortunately, she flirts with a handsome cowboy, who the man shoots and kills in a jealous rage. It ends like most classic Wild West tales, in a deadly shootout inside the local watering hole. The name of that tavern? Rosa’s Cantina.
Rosa’s was made famous more than 50 years ago when the chart-topping song, which eventually went on to win a Grammy, reached the airwaves. Today, patrons from all across the world venture to the neighborhood bar to check out the cold drinks, the Mexican food, and, of course, the atmosphere that inspired Marty Robbins to use the bar as the setting for his hit song.
A bright red monster truck that wears the bar’s logo and lyrics from the song stands guard in the parking lot at Rosa's. Inside, tables draped in red or blue gingham tablecloths await red baskets of chips and plates of guacamole tostadas, chicken with green chilies, and burritos stuffed with meat and doused with chili and cheese. While patrons devour these treats, they listen to live performances from local musicians who just may one day take inspiration from the bar themselves and pen a hit song or dirty limerick.
"Luscious" is the word that the El Paso Times chose to describe the Quack Quack, a Square Cow Burgers, Beer & Wine creation that combines duck confit with dried cherries, chicharrones, and blue cheese. The lobster burger was another home run, with butter and chili mixed into the patty for a taste "similar to a lobster tail dipped in clarified butter." These are just two examples of the eatery's craft burgers, which also include bison, lamb, and chicken options—all made from meats that are freshly ground onsite each day.
No matter which meat they're working with, the chefs stick to a format that works: thick, not flat, quarter-pound patties that retain savory juices and stand up to toppings such as whole pickles and homemade mayos. Chefs deep-fry burgers on request and serve them with sides such as onion rings battered with Rogue Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout. Servers fill glasses and milk bottles with 100 draft beer choices, 60 types of wine, and cocktails for patrons to sip while watching sports games or doing jumping jacks to the DJ's tracks.
Giuliana Leardini knows Italian cuisine. Born and raised in Verona, she came to the U.S. more than 30 years ago and now shares her family’s recipes with the masses as owner and head chef at Trattoria Bella Sera. The eatery's name—compiled from words meaning “homemade,” “beautiful,” and “lovely evening”—also describes the picturesque decor in its 64-seat dining room, adorned with wooden latticework, hanging vines, and a prominently displayed Italian flag. Amid the pulse of Italian music, white tablecloths populate with the menu's traditional Venetian fare, including gooey pizzas, baked pastas, and fish and veal sautéed in delicate wine sauces. During warm-weather months, guests can retreat to the 40-seat outdoor patio for paninis or stockpile house-made sausage by the foot, as Rapunzel did before her orders of Rogaine came through.
Light streams through a vast Tiffany glass dome and illuminates an elegant dining room with help from glittering chandeliers. This is the first thing most diners notice upon stepping into The Dome Restaurant's dining area, an elegant eatery located within the Camino Real hotel. The kitchen churns out upscale fare that includes grilled prime rib eye served with a spicy red-pepper horseradish chimichurri and mashed potatoes, duck-confit spring rolls, and pan-seared fillets with orange sauce. A luxurious rug sprawls across The Dome Restaurant’s floor, and intimate tables invite diners to linger alongside vaulted, arched windows. Directly beneath the showstopping, ornately carved ceiling, backed stools perform maypole dances around a circular bar, which had its edges filed down by a Brobdingnagian manicurist.
When describing The Magic Pan Restaurant's cuisine to Ventanas Magazine, owner Annette Lawrence, an El Paso native, described it as "gourmet with a Southwestern flair." Homemade sauces and dressings in flavors such as honey Tabasco and creamy cilantro lime add kick to fresh salads served with sides such as pecan cornbread, while parmesan cream laced with peppery chipotle spices up a classic bowl of fettuccini alfredo. Smoked and roasted meats fill the majority of the restaurant's sandwiches, which are held together by focaccia, brioche, ciabatta, or the telekinetic powers of the kitchen's chef, and meaty entrees such as prime angus ribeye with smoked sea salt, cognac, and fresh herb compound butter reveal the kitchen's talent for updating culinary classics.
According to Ventanas Magazine, The Magic Pan's interior also combines flavors from around the globe in a design scheme orchestrated by Lawrence and her daughter Vanessa. At The Pan Restaurant on Cincinnati Street, work from local furniture makers is showcased alongside pieces imported from Bali, while guests to the original restaurant on Doniphan Drive enjoy their vibrant fare while surrounded by colorful, original artwork or patio planters filled with exotic flowers.:m]]
The Great American Land and Cattle Company provides steaks that are cut onsite and cooked precisely to specifications. They arrive with an eclectic smorgasboard of sides: pineapple coleslaw, fries or veggies, and "Texas caviar"?that is, beans. The most popular cut is the tender ribeye, but the menu has all degrees of fanciness covered, from filet mignon to country-fried steak in gravy to steakburgers. If you'd like yours extra-spicy, you can order it tampique?a?covered with grilled onions and green chilies or jalape?os.
Though the company produces its many seasonings and sauces with steak in mind, the kitchen's not a beef-only zone. It also makes room for pulled-pork sandwiches, Cajun-style chicken, and charbroiled cold-water lobster tails, among other proteins. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, music and other live entertainment drifts through the dining room and onto the patio as the mountains in the background sway gently to the beat.