The chefs at Acapulcos Mexican Family Restaurant & Cantina aim to cook authentic Mexican dishes unaltered by any Tex-Mex influence. Their recipes reach back generations within the owners' family and several miles into their underground tortilla vaults. Spanish-speaking servers deliver simple combinations of protein or veggies, topped with vibrant sauces: carne asada steak dressed in green pepper and guacamole, tender pork loin in tomatillo sauce, chicken in chocolate mole. The chefs' adherence to tradition doesn't preclude experimentation. Case in point: the dessert burrito, a lightly fried tortilla wrapped around apple-cinnamon or creamy cheesecake filling.
Both the menu and the decor change slightly from location to location—a painting of Mexico here, a tiled mosaic there. Each one, however, has a full bar where bartenders mix margaritas and flat-screen TVs broadcasting sports overhead.
In the dark of night, the brightly lit façades of The Fat Cactus locations glow like a beacon, beckoning diners to come and sample their classic Mexican and Tex-Mex foods. The restaurants' interiors are no less eye-catching. House-specialty fazzizzles—short for sizzling fajitas—top tables in dining rooms filled with vibrant reds and yellows. Rows of hubcaps glisten on walls next to strings of lights. And hundreds of emptied tequila bottles dangle from the ceiling, testament to the popularity of the menu's dozen specialty margaritas. For extra entertainment, musicians fill ears with their tuneful crooning every night, and a room with classic arcade games lets kids play at adult tasks, such as driving a car or helping zombies file their tax returns.
Classic Oaxacan cuisine receives a contemporary update at Zocalo Mexican Bistro. Crispy flautas and grilled chicken topped with house-made mole sauce showcase the restaurant's traditional roots. However, chefs exercise a bit more creativity when making dishes such as beer-battered, fried avocado sticks or a Cuban-inspired torta—a slow-cooked pulled pork sandwich with smoked applewood bacon, a black bean purée, pickled jalapeño, and chipotle mustard.
These bold flavors complement the dining room's vibrant decor, which features sunset-hued walls, colorful tiles, and hand-painted ceramics. During the warmer months, the outdoor patio opens, providing guests with a cozy place to enjoy a bottle of Mexican beer, a glass of sangria, or a balloon animal filled with sparkling water.
Perhaps the only thing as impressive as Dorado’s cemita sandwich (a stack of black beans, chipotles, avocado, Oaxaca cheese, and meat or veggies on a toasted sesame-seed egg roll) is its unflappable dedication to the environment. Napkins, plates, and utensils are biodegradable, wooden floors are recycled, and tables are reclaimed.
Every month, a new celebrity mans the counter at Anna’s Taqueria; the burritos they roll raise money for a chosen charity. On an average day, Anna’s burritos are local celebrities in their own right. They’re made to-order with fillings ranging from grilled chicken to lengua (beef tongue).
Within the bustling Faneuil Hall, Mija Cantina & Tequila Bar’s old-style décor transports diners to Mexico, while authentically crafted enchiladas and burritos complement more than 100 kinds of tequila. Since its opening, which caught the attention of the Boston Herald, Mija Cantina has delighted tongues with fresh guacamole and queso fresco. Diners hoist sails above their tables and grip knives betwixt their teeth before casting off with red snapper, lobster, and swordfish, or stay on solid ground with grilled steak and seared chicken breast. A selection of sides rounds out meals with additions ranging from the spicy lime mayo of corn on the cob to a simmering portion of pinto beans, bacon, and chorizo, whose protein boosts muscles after an evening workout or before a late-night battle royale.
Mija Cantina's décor, highlighted by NECN’s TV Diner and Thrillist, incorporates sun-bleached wood reclaimed from a Wyoming highway, iron candelabras, and leather booths to recreate the feel of a cantina from the past. Vaqueros celebrate romantic anniversaries of the day they married their six-shooters in the glow of lanterns or in the fresh breeze of outdoor seating as they quaff tequila made with 100% blue agave.:m]]