A colorful mural of a lakeside beach stretches across Casita del Lago's dining room—a nod to the restaurant's name, which translates to "little house by the lake." Soft hanging lanterns and a crackling fireplace bathe the room in light, illuminating the colorful glazed pottery that lines the walls. In the kitchen, chefs chop fresh ingredients for the homemade salsa that glazes over traditional dishes, as saucepans simmer with their signature mole sauce. Behind a sprawling bar, bartenders dole out pitchers of fruity margaritas and bottles of imported Mexican beer. Outside, tabletops speckle their outdoor patio and bar, where guests can bask beneath the sunlight.
Si Señor fills estómagos with a menu of authentic Mexican fare served amid mosaic-topped tables and brightly colored walls. Skilled chip-chopping cooks compile their fresh and never-frozen ingredients to concoct steak, chicken, and seafood fajitas served in sizzling skillets ($13.50–$16.99) and savory vegetarian options such as a plate piled with a chili relleno, a cheese enchilada, rice, and refried beans ($8.50). Grilled chicken or steak, melted cheese, and pico de gallo flow down the sides of a nacho mountain in the la bamba nachos plate ($10.50), and the eatery's Popeye's pollo blends grilled chicken breast, spinach, melted cheese, and Olive Oyl ($11.99). Mexican-fare munchers can seal the meal's deal with a creamy cheesecake encased in a fried tortilla ($3.99) or a scoop of fried ice cream ($4.99).
El Tapatio's chefs invest in their kitchen's culinary culture, prepping authentic Mexican platters that range from chimichangas to the impressive super burrito. Though they specialize in a repertoire of steak, chicken, and seafood dishes, they extend the culinary invitation to veggies with meat-free meals. The cantina side of the restaurant mixes citrusy libations—including margaritas, daiquiris, and piña coladas—that counterbalance the spicy salsas and the wounded pride of losing a salsa-guzzling competition.
In 1981, Luchita Galindo and her son Jorge began Luchita's, a humble family endeavor that focuses on fresh, authentic dishes. Over the course of 30 years, the Galindo family has continued to grow along with their restaurant, which began as a 24-seat eatery and currently occupies three locations throughout the Cleveland area.
Luchita's chefs work to maintain the family's vision while constantly seeking out new flavors to add to the menu. Their specialties include authentically prepared meats and seafood, such as shredded chicken simmered in a smoky sauce (tinga de pollo), tender strips of marinated steak (carne asada), and shrimp sautéed with potatoes, cactus, and poblano peppers (camarones borrachos). Chef Galindo also concocts vegetarian-friendly entrees, such as cheesy chiles rellenos, and tinkers with new recipes until—like a klutz unleashed on the stage of an awards show—he stumbles on a winner.
Within Casa Del Rio's warm orange walls, chefs cobble together fresh meats, vegetables, and seafood to forge authentic Mexican lunch and dinner specialties. They douse shrimp in Diablo hot sauce, stuff flautas with shredded beef and chicken, or slice up grilled steak to accessorize with bacon, ham, and poblano peppers. Traditional and frozen margaritas drench adult palates, and a kids' menu entices tots with both Mexican and American classics. A kaleidoscope of colored tables scatters across the family-friendly dining room, which features vibrant artwork and rustic brick barrel vaults, and televisions above the bar entertain guests with sports games and newscasts acted out through interpretive dance.
Behind a glass partition, cooks at El Guero decorate tortillas, bowls of rice, and salads with barbacoa, carnitas, and other meats according to each customer's instructions. Scoops of black beans, shredded cheese, corn, and red chili sauce transform mild-mannered tortillas into hearty burritos right before the eyes of their future owners. Crispy corn or sweet potato chips deliver sides of fresh guacamole and pico de gallo to round out meals. Inside the dining area, bright orange and green walls complement the abstract paintings and glass artwork, warming up the industrial style exposed ductwork, cement floors, stainless steel fixtures, and conveyer belts made entirely of soft taco shells.