Founded in 2005, Ixtapa Mexican Grill and Cantina rode a wave of authentic mole sauce and frosty margarita mix and expanded from one location to four. They treasure the same family recipes in each kitchen, be it the mild green tomatillo sauce sauteed with traditional pork Chili Verde or the signature fish tacos with mango. The d?cor and specials, on the other hand, varies from joint to joint, with the Lunenburg location boasting stucco-like walls with red accents and a taco bar during NFL games.
The chefs at Mezcal Cantina marry the flavors of Mexico and the American Southwest in colorful fusion dishes, while bartenders fill glasses with margaritas, agave cocktails, and draft beers. Starting out, diners can build their own guacamole tasting flights with their choice of three varieties, including the Thai Rooster with dried pineapple, toasted coconut, black beans, and Sriracha sauce. As far as main entrees, the menu continues pampering palates with chimichangas, enchiladas, and tacos, which come stuffed with eclectic ingredients such as adobo chicken, Asian beef, or BBQ duck. Meals end on a sweet note with fried ice cream and dark chocolate bread pudding made with raspberries, caramel sauce, and unconditional love.
Dining at a Mexicali Fresh Mex Grill is a different experience in every city. While every location shares the same Guadalajara based menu—with plates of authentic enchiladas, fajita burgers, and flautas covered in ranchero cheese—the decor of their dining rooms varies from location to location. In Spencer, Massachusetts, diners gaze at warm-toned desert paintings and statues of running horses, whereas the Ware, Massachusetts, location treats the eyes to views of blue-tiled divides and potted plants. In Holden, Massachusetts, a look around the dining area gives customers views of brightly painted walls on which ponchos and hats are hung, simultaneously providing colorful scenery and ideas for repurposing their old swimming trunks at home.
A smiling statue of a mariachi musician named Pepe keeps watch over Auténtica Mexican Restaurant’s dining room and menu of classic and contemporary Mexican dishes. Red and green chilies sourced from New Mexico add an extra kick to dishes ladled with Auténtica’s housemade sauces, such as extra-large 10-inch burritos filled with grilled vegetables and chicken, soft ground beef tacos, and housemade tamales. The menu also includes vegan and gluten-free iterations of quintessential Mexican flavors and recipes.
For the cooks at Mezcal Tequila Cantina, guacamole means more than just avocados given a firm, loving hug. Half a dozen different varieties mix in inventive fixings such as toasted coconut and smoked almonds. That deft blending of traditional dishes with unconventional flavors extends past the appetizer round. Classic burritos and quesadillas arrive heaped with everything from asian beef to barbecue-duck confit. Even familiar ingredients are used in surprising ways, as with the chorizo and sweet corn stirred into risotto.
But food is only half the menu at Mezcal. The other half is dedicated to more than 100 tequilas, a selection that Worcester Magazine calls “by far the best list in Worcester, and undoubtedly in Central Massachusetts.” Aside from pouring smooth and smoky liquors, Mezcal’s bartenders mix margaritas from real fruit purees and house-made syrups.
Part Mexican cantina, part Irish pub, and all cop, Garcia Brogan's blends disparate cultures in both its menu and its decor, which features murals and folk art from Mexico and Ireland. Whether guests want a glass of Irish whiskey or a fine tequila, Garcia Brogan's bartenders keep the drinks flowing, pouring a river of alcohol in which tacos and shepherd's pie bob appetizingly. The restaurant hosts pub trivia nights and live Irish music on the weekends.