Along with importing Portugal's unique recipes to the shores of Newark, Sol-Mar Restaurant envelops patrons in an atmosphere that recalls a sidewalk café in Lisbon. Adorned with leafy foliage, murals, and terra-cotta awnings, the dining room features large, arched windows through which commedia dell'Arte archetypes can make their dramatic exits. To top the earth-toned tablecloths, a menu of authentic Iberian fare features dishes such as creamy clams casino, stuffed salmon with crabmeat, and grilled veal chops.
Amid a lively atmosphere, patrons of Boca Grande Cantina Mexicana can kick back and dine on a slew of Mexican and Mexi-fusion options. Stop in to grab a drink, check out the occasional live music, and sample a variety of south-of-the-border eats from the varied menu. Strum taste buds with a symphony of flavors by sampling the fresh guacamole ($9), Mexican gyro ($13), chipotle burrito ($11), or Boca fish tacos ($10). Many dishes can be altered for vegetarian diners, diners looking to eat healthy, or nosy brontosauruses poking their gargantuan necks through the window.
With its sloped roof and grand clock tower, Orale Mexican Bistro's facade doesn't fit the bill for a typical Mexican restaurant. But beyond its front doors, chefs cook open-faced chipotle shrimp quesadillas by the heat of a wood-fired brick oven, and they stuff tacos with slow-cooked carnitas. Servers shuttle these south of the border entrees to candlelit tables in the dining room or to an outdoor patio perched beneath the clock tower, which transforms back into a lowly wristwatch at the stroke of midnight. On select evenings, DJs spin house and latinbeat tunes while patrons enjoy specials on margaritas and mixed drinks.
The rustic interior of Mexican Post sets the tone for the restaurant's menu and hourly Battle of the Alamo reenactments. Starters ($4.75–$7.45) include savory engine revvers such as classic quesadillas, bean dip, or the camarones Acapulco (five shrimp stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon, deep-fried, and served with chipotle sauce). Fulfill your destiny with a larger plate, such as the deluxe burrito mesquite topped with special sauce, grilled veggies, cheese, peppers, and onions ($12.45) or an order of fan-favorite flautas ($10.25). Mix and match tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, and more across various combos ($8.95–$10.95). Accompany and lubricate your meal with a margarita featuring a potent dash from one of the 107 different tequila varieties, or sample a straight shot as anesthetic for an authentic Civil War–style operation.
El Chico's culinary artists paint their tortilla canvases with melted cheese and spiced meats to curate a menu of fiesta-worthy Mexican feasts. Sizzling fajitas surf in to tables on hot skillets, announcing their arrival with aromatic waves of seared beef, chicken, shrimp, or baby back ribs ($15.99) before lying out to sunbathe on soft flour tortillas. Forks and knives slam against chili relleno enchiladas ($9.99), which burst like savory piñatas with cheese and mushrooms or beef. Chipotle-wine sauce imbues the chicken burrito ($10.49) with an air of sophistication as it commingles with tender spiced chicken, rice, and frijoles rancheros. Boulders of fajita steak and avocado speckle the corn-tortilla landscapes of three tacos ($9.49), and pork-tamale trios ($9.99) unwrap their husks to reveal elaborate cave art scrawled in a thick sauce of chili con carne.
After planting roots in Latin America 40 years ago, Pollo Campero branched out across borders, planting more than 50 locations in the U.S and across the world. Today, at its Trenton location, chefs marinate and season chicken by hand, using a special blend of herbs and spices. After grilling or frying, the flavorful morsels are tucked into tortillas to make burritos, slide between slices of sandwich bread, or nestle into family meals alongside up to 19 other pieces. Patrons can cart their meals home for consumption or stick around to impress passerby by juggling their chicken wings in front of the eatery's broad windows.