From the Spanish word meaning the appetizer, La Botana references itself as "a modest little restaurant with big flavors." Modest is right. With its vegetarian menu alone boasting more than 30 dishes, the eatery was named the Readers' Choice for Best Mexican Food 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 by Smitty's Notes, among a slew of other awards.
The full menu, which is rife with mole-slathered entrees, sizzling fajitas, and lime-infused seafood, comprises multiple regions of Mexico, including Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon, and Oaxaca. North Carolina craft beers are also available to wash down spicy morsels or put out small table fires caused by rubbing your hands in anticipation.
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 Fiesta Restaurante Mexicano?s classic dishes have earned the eatery a long-standing award proudly displayed on the website: Best Mexican Restaurant nine years in a row, as voted by readers of the Times-News. At the start of each workday, the restaurant?s chefs fry the popular tortilla chips and whip up bowls of salsa. Then they get to work on such dishes as chicken simmered in a chipotle cream, char-grilled steak tacos, and spinach burritos.
Hass avocados, cilantro, and fresh lime juice are just a few ingredients diners might recognize as a chef whips up guacamole right before their eyes at Poblano's Mexican Bar & Grill. From the restaurant's grill come specialty dishes including the alambre mixto, a dish typically found in Mexico City that combines grilled steak, chicken, shrimp, and chorizo with grilled peppers, pineapples, and melted cheese. The taqueria offers up five suggestions for specialty tacos that include carne asada, pork carnitas, shrimp, sliced pork, and grilled fish. Poblano's also delivers fresh flavors via catering for special events such as luncheons, parties, or the day fifth graders win their citizenship by reciting the preamble to the Constitution.
K Panchos Mexican Restaurant offers hearty south-of-America fare in a cozily homey atmosphere. Head in on a lunch break to try one of many lunch specials, such as the Speedy Gonzales, which places one taco and one enchilada on a flavorful foodbed of either spanish rice or fried beans ($4.99). Steak or chicken fajitas seamlessly synthesize tender meats and freshly fired veggies ($10.50), and 27 combination dinners provide an endless matrix of subtly spiced suppers. Vegetarian options, such as two salsa-topped bean burritos with cheese dip ($7.25), abound for meat-avoiding plantavores, and K Panchos’ friendly, helpful staff can also help you decide on an entree, name for your dog, or high-altitude wedding venue.