The beats of lean cuts of meat sizzling on the grill and ladles clanking against trays of zesty vegetables fill Qdoba Mexican Grill during construction of made-to-order Mexican fare. As healthy-eating devotees, Qdoba's staff stocks its kitchen with nutritious ingredients, seasonal flavors, and 100% cotton candy–free tortillas.
Honing their skills in professional kitchens for more than 30 years, Dora and her family shuffled through a few different culinary homes before stumbling on a vacant building. Realizing the potential this raw space could have after a little love, the family renovated the space and transformed it into the present-day Dora's Mexican Restaurant & Lounge. Dora's tight-knit staff is composed of family and friends, some who have worked at the restaurant since its opening in 1994; the team tirelessly churns out Dora's authentic Mexican family recipes to the appreciation of a loyal following of customers and hopeful pups in nearby backyards. Hefty portions populate both lunch and dinner menus, including traditional chimichangas, tamales, and goblets of the restaurant's iconic, ever-popular margaritas, which patrons can sip in a spacious dining room that pays homage to the vibrant exterior architecture of Mexico with bright, coral-color walls.
Yucatan–style marinades and Oaxacan moles spice up the contemporary Mexican arrangements at Zocalo Restaurant and Tequila Bar, winner of Citysearch's Best Mexican of 2011 title. Ceviches create visions of an Acapulco beach mysteriously littered with plates of chipotle-marinated chicken breast, grilled jumbo shrimp, and more than 130 bottles of blanco, reposado, añejo, and extra-añejo tequila served straight up or mixed into margaritas, mojitos, and sangrias. In addition to its tequila treasure, the 50-foot bar also guards a trove of Mexican beers and imported wines, which, as is tradition, the waiters ceremoniously juggle before opening. Wood accents and colorful paintings highlight the eatery’s dining area, an interior that Crain's called "stylishly rustic and handsome."
In addition to classic Mexican food staples like sizzling fajitas and tacos al carbon, chefs at Lime incorporate international influences into their Central American cuisine. Steamed edamame and chipotle crema dipping sauce, as well as the scorpion plate’s shrimp flash-fried in a wonton wrapper, mingle Mexican cooking methods and ingredients from Asian traditions. And American fair makes its mark with the Lime's Mexican burger which wraps a flour tortilla around a beef burger patty, served with fries. The restaurant creates a festive atmosphere with margaritas, mojitos, and board games that double as giant maracas.
Inside India Tavern, a large bay window casts a natural glow on grape and lime-green walls and plates of homestyle Indian fare. Named 5280 Magazine's Editors' Choice of their Top of the Town feature, diners can cozy up to a table beside the stone fireplace as they partake of clay-oven tandoori dishes made with chicken, lamb, or goa fish. After sopping up a ginger or saffron curry entree with fresh-baked naan bread, they can also question a knowledgeable server on the difference between mild, medium, and hot spice or why humans drive on parkways and park on driveways.
Although reviewers are mixed on authenticity, customers agree that the location is convenient and the atmosphere is fun. Four Citysearchers give Croc's Mexican Bar & Grill an average of four stars. Four TripAdvisors rate it an average of 3.5 owl eyes.