Within the colorfully decorated walls and adobe tile floors that comprise Los Machados Mexican Restaurant, smells of hearty bistecs and sizzling fajitas fill the air. The appetizing aromas drift from the kitchen, where chefs whip up authentic eats such as carne asada, mole poblano, and an array of fajitas, tacos, and burritos. Margaritas, daiquiris, and tequila sunrises lubricate guests' dining experience, and fried ice cream and flan bring meals to a decadent conclusion.
El Tapatio Mexican Restaurant's neon-green and bright-red sign is merely an appetizer for the feast of colors within. Red- and orange-striped booths, sky-blue chairs, textured sunflower walls, and tabletops painted with smiling suns, blossoming tulips, and fruit dominate the space. This festive atmosphere sets an ideal scene for enjoying carne asada, chicken enchiladas, tacos filled with pork and beans, and churros. El Tapatio—whose name refers to a Guadalajara native—also mixes up delicious margaritas, which were dubbed the Best Margaritas by Delaware Today in 2008.
Más Mexicali Cantina's authentic south-of-the-border menu blazes with spicy morsels tucked into classic fare, including fajitas, enchiladas, and chimichangas. Endless chips and salsa offer a fitting introduction to the questionably finite Kitchen Sink burrito stuffed with a long list of fillings including chorizo, salsa roja, fire roasted chilis, and your choice of meats ($9.99+). Rival meat- and veggie-lovers can compromise with a table stocked with both pasilla braised short ribs ($12.99) and well-seasoned tofu tacos ($5.99–$8.49). Más Mexicali completes its collection of authentic eats with the unexpected flavorings of its house specialties, such as char-grilled honey chipotle salmon accompanied by grilled-pineapple pico de gallo ($14.99).
Attached to an unassuming South Philly corner bodega filled with Mexican groceries, chilies, and spices, Los Gallos doesn't have to go far to find its ingredients. The chefs whip up familiar feasts of chicken tostadas, Texas-style nachos, and cheese quesadillas or dole out more traditional Mexican dishes such as savory menudo stews, huitlacoche tacos, or enchiladas mole. Leave the plastic at home, as Los Gallos only accepts payment in the form of cash or in-key renditions of public-domain Christmas songs.
The Adobe Cafe's chefs find a way to accommodate nearly every diner without sacrificing the piquant flavors and aromas attributed to southwestern cuisine. They skillet-sear filet mignon and marinate chicken breasts and duck before tossing the seasoned meat with black beans, sautéed green peppers, and white onions for fajitas. But they also alter their traditional Mexican-inspired fare by substituting ground beef, chorizo, flank steak, and carnitas with seitan and tofu for vegetarians or meat eaters' pet goats. The chefs' use of ranchero sauce, roasted peppers, jerk seasoning, and even barbecue has earned the eatery a number of awards; The Adobe Cafe was recently named Best Southwestern Restaurant in Philadelphia by LocalEats.