Since 1979, Little Manuel's cooks have whipped up housemade soups following family recipes, created from-scratch tamales just like Grandma used to make, and poured various liqueurs together to form tropical cocktails. In addition to the Mexican dishes, their menu incorporates a few Italian and American favorites in order to satisfy any palate or ACLU committee making diversity inspections. These dishes include pasta dishes and fried and wet burritos.
More than two decades ago, a handful of former surfers opened up a small taco shop in Seattle with one goal in mind?to recreate the Mission-style tacos they enjoyed during their college days. The first of many Taco Del Mars was born, and today, there are more than two dozen locations scattered throughout the west coast. Each serves up bursting mondo burritos, baja fish tacos, and bowls stuffed with pork carnitas, chicken, and fish. Steak and shredded beef are available at select locations.
Started in 1999, Viva Mexico Grill & Cantina serves up south-of-the-border flavors for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And although most of the menu is reserved for classic dishes like enchiladas, fajitas, and quesadillas, the chefs leave themselves room to play. For example, they pair scrambled eggs with cactus and place guacamole inside and atop the shrimp burrito. Guests can wash it all down with margaritas from the cantina, which is stocked with bottles of 100% agave tequila from a tequila-bottle tree.
Aqueous hues of neon blue and purple wash over visitors to Agave Grill as they take a seat beneath a larger-than-life strip of sinuous camera film. This cinematic environ hosts cuisine blending traditional Mexican dishes with Spanish influence, mimicking the confluence of cultures in Latin America. In addition to steaming enchiladas and burritos, chefs create entrees of tender marinated carnitas or steak picado covered in cayenne-pepper sauce. Schools of seafood populate the kitchen's specialty roster, from fresh-fish tacos to paella—in which simmering saffron rice is surrounded by sausage, scallops, prawns, and other morsels. Beneath bas-reliefs of Aztec and Mayan-style masks, the staff serves libations from a lengthy library of tequila and mescal, neat or spun into margaritas.
Agave also boasts an attached nightclub, where spiraling lights surround the revelers within. DJs spin tunes in two different rooms, one devoted to salsa and Latin rock and the other thrumming with R&B and house music—which is not when furnace and faucet sounds sync up to the tune of “Born in the U.S.A.”
For generations, Ivalina and Adelio’s family have jotted down guidelines for crafting dishes in the tradition of Zacatecas, a north-central region of Mexico. Today, the father-daughter duo reap the rewards of their ancestors’ ingenuity and excellent penmanship at Memo's Mexican Cuisine, an eatery spotlighted by Check, Please! for its exceptional eats. Its chefs intertwine fresh ingredients, many hailing from local farmers' markets, and house-made sauces into dishes made fresh every day. Nicknamed The Royal Dish, chicken pipian is a signature dish and a traditional wedding-day entree, which showcases a chicken breast coated with an original sauce containing pumpkin seed, nine chilies, and 12 different herbs. At the bar, a wide selection of quality tequilas tempt shot glasses or find their way into margaritas. Catering services offer the same libations and fare without the restaurant's saffron and blue walls, which are partially obscured behind Mexican artwork.
Salsa Verde's culinary researchers memorize a library of Mexican recipes to give diners a menu laden with traditional Central American dishes. An array of tortilla-swathed favorites warm up empty hands with burritos built around fillings such as steak, chile rellenos, or shrimp ($5.49–$7.25) and meat-filled Mexico City–style tacos ($1.25) outfitted with an exotic ensemble of cilantro, onions, mild salsa, and a poster from the 1968 Summer Olympics. Selfish diners chomp away on the carnitas chipotle-barbecue torta, doused with coleslaw and sweet barbecue sauce ($5.75), and pairs divvy up the molcajete mixture of grilled chicken, steak, and chorizo cooked in salsa and oaxaca cheese ($16.99). The bistec ranchero coats a tender grilled steak with lime and olive oil before topping it with grilled onions, tomatoes, and mild serrano peppers ($9.25), and enchiladas filled with shredded chicken or seasoned beef swim in a choice of savory red sauce or the restaurant's signature salsa verde ($7.95). Pair south-of-the-border fare with a choice of fountain drinks or icy Corona beers to extinguish mouths set on fire by spicy foods or spiteful wisdom teeth still mad about being kicked out of the jaw.