The cooks in Taco Shop’s kitchen stuff burritos, tacos, and tortas with traditional Mexican meats ranging from carne asada and carnitas to barbacoa and al pastor. They also pile these seasoned proteins onto towering platters of nachos and hide them inside gooey quesadillas. In the dining room, tangerine-colored walls brighten up the space and make guests feel like tiny pieces of pulp.
Though it’s a national brand with locations sprinkled across 14 states, Chevys Fresh Mex doesn’t succumb to shortcuts at any of its restaurants. The expert chefs at each eatery gather together fresh ingredients to prepare the entire menu from scratch, whether they’re infusing chicken enchiladas with chipotles or simmering fragrant cauldrons of their homemade tortilla soup. Even though this hands-on approach harkens back to the foundations of Mexican culinary traditions, chefs also give each dish a contemporary twist—tacos meet flavorful drizzles of chipotle aioli, slow-roasted carnitas mingle with fresh oranges and lemons alongside fajita platters. Meanwhile, bartenders engage in serious agave innovation with top-shelf margaritas in flavors such as prickly pear and spicy mango.
Taqueria Tenangos's guests are welcomed by a menu brimming with authentic Mexican flavors and anchored by homemade salsas and house-made tortilla chips. Nine protein-packed taco selections arrive overflowing with stuffings of succulent carnitas ($8.99), fresh fish ($10.49), or savory pork ($8.99), before supernachos ($8.99) swoop down to save guests from any lingering post-repast hunger pains. Those unsuccessfully hampering a hankering for sea meats can reel in plates piled high with sizzling shrimp fajitas ($12.99), and tostadas ($7.49+), and cheese-laced enchiladas ($8.99+) provide delicious relief for mouths tired of navigating sharp corners. The authentic eatery's inviting confines welcome famished families to practice their high-school Spanish via a Telemundo-tuned TV or to relax on the outdoor patio that––like bathing in a scalding tub of fortified milk––provides the only surefire means of soaking up a daily dose of vitamin D.
The chefs at Paquito’s fill hungry hands with a menu of Mexican fare for patrons to nosh while surrounded by bright, funky décor. To start, waiters drop off complimentary tortilla chips and chunky cilantro salsa at the tables, which are covered in fluorescent ponchos. Devour traditional favorites including chorizo-stuffed chimichangas ($13.50), tamales ($8.95), and enchiladas with your choice of meat ($11.50–$14.95). North of the border specialties such as guacamole burgers ($6.95) add a Mexican spin to standard American fare, especially when swallowed down with a classic margarita ($7.95) or a Negra Modelo ($4.50) and ordered while releasing a flock of bald eagles. Quirky knickknacks and art cover Paquito’s walls, whose bright colors represent all the flavors of the original margarita—strawberry, lime, raspberry, peach, and banana.
The flavors of Mexico City get an inventive reboot at Cantina Laredo, which has specialized in modern Mexican cuisine since 1984. Over the decades, Catina Laredo locations have spread to numerous states, countries, and at least two planes of reality. Classic dishes fill the menu, including guacamole prepared tableside and hand-rolled enchiladas stuffed with everything from Angus beef to avocado and artichokes. At the same time, the chefs elevate and refine traditional flavors by creating chicken fajitas with bacon, mushrooms, and chipotle-wine sauce and filling tortas with slow-roasted pork, apricot spread, goat cheese, and fried egg.
As for drink pairings, the Casa Rita?Cantina Laredo's signature margarita?is versatile, its classic version including silver tequila with Cointreau and fresh-squeezed lemon and lime juice. Diners can customize their drink by adding flavors such as mango or tamarind into the mix.