For 22 years, El Saguarito chefs have orchestrated a flavorful symphony of heart-healthy Mexican feasts that use canola oil in place of lard, a decision spurred by co-owner Blanca Vasquez's vegetarianism. El Saguarito–style cheese crisps precede dinner and whet appetites with a grilled tortilla topped with cheese, green chilies, onion, and tomato, followed by entrees such as fish tacos and plates of barbacoa—shredded beef simmered in pickling spices. At the bar, lips transform into goofy grins over imported draft beers and margaritas made with Mexican tequilas, ideal for toasting to the memory of favorite piñatas.
The eatery also equips its interior with big-screen TVs to watch high-stakes games and free WiFi to facilitate web searches on how to throw a burrito in a perfect spiral. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, live music floats throughout the patio.
Although botana means "snack” in Spanish, La Botana Grill specializes in full-grown Mexican meals. Starters of house-made tortilla chips come with freshly made salsas and chipotle bean dip. After this prelude come entrees of fresh shrimp and tilapia, grilled to perfection in the house-specialty dishes. Then there’s the cantina tacos, which pull together flavors from various regions throughout Mexico, and fusion plates such as the sonoran dog—a beast of a hot dog that comes wrapped in bacon and smothered with beans, chorizo, and heaping piles of condiments.
La Botana's hearty breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes can be enjoyed al fresco on a patio lit by fiesta lights and a flat-screen TV that often broadcasts the latest Mexican soccer games. Live music sometimes rings out over the open space, a much better meal soundtrack than recordings of synchronized chewing.
The chefs at Nana's Kitchen concoct a classic menu of sizzling tacos, burritos, and desserts according to recipes the proprietor learned from her grandmother, a restaurant owner in Agua Prieta, Mexico. A juicy, grilled Angus-beef flank steak cozies up to a love-struck cheese enchilada in the tampiqueña dinner special ($14.59). Alternately, munch the fried-egg-battered green pepper of the chili relleno ($10.98), or excavate savory ground beef and potatoes from the piping-hot interior of the Nana's Special burrito wrapped in a homemade tortilla ($8.99). For dessert, the spongy pastel de las tres leches bathes in three kinds of milk to acquire a rich, creamy texture and maintain a youthful complexion ($5.59). On some weekend nights, guests can abscond to the full bar to sip several dozen varieties of tequila—not included in today's Groupon—as they groove to live mariachi music.
The chefs at Lupita’s Café grill authentic Mexican fare and serve a menu of all-day breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes. Savor the shrimp tacos ($9.95) or fill up on huevos rancheros ($6.95), whether the sun is rising or already busy cooking its dinner. The eatery’s lunch specials reward daytime diners with dishes such as Tuesday’s choice of beef pozole or two tamales with included arroz con leche for dessert ($6.95). Selective eaters can take destiny into their own hands with the restaurant’s option to combine three dishes, choosing from enchiladas, tostadas, tacos, gorditas, or tamales ($9.95). No matter what diners indulge in, the café accommodates all with timely service coordinated inside a space that's more vibrant than a rainbow trapped in a blender.
Zivaz takes an inclusive approach to south-of-the-border fare, peppering its menu with pan-Latin influences and fresh, flavorful, local ingredients. Jump start an edible excursion with the Tour de Zivaz ($14.95), an ever-changing sampler platter featuring chef's choice items that highlight the current themes of Zivazian dining, or take control with one of the 15 signature entrees, such as the Milanesa de berenjena (breaded eggplant with queso fresco and tomatillo salsa, $9.95) or pollo en pibil (orange and achiote-juice-marinated chicken with grilled pineapple, $11.95). Traditional Mexican entrees are easy to spot as well, so isolate a chile relleno ($10.95) with your face and obliterate hunger for one more day. No matter which part of the Romance-language southern flavor world your cuisine comes from, all of Zivaz's meals are best washed down with one of its signature margaritas—go classic ($6) or try a special hibiscus margarita ($6.50).
Papagayo's dinner menu and pared-down lunch menu offer traditional south-of-the-border treats and elegant chef-created entrees. Pass around a plate of the chimichiquitas (a combination of mini chimichangas, $10.25) to your hungry synchronized hurdling team before leaping simultaneously into the main course. Tamale traditionalists will take heart in Papagayo's wide selection of familiar house specialties, such as the fresh, green chiles rellenos ($13.95) or cabbage-topped shrimp tacos ($15.95). The culinarily curious will want to explore Executive Chef Maria Mazon’s creative creations: Milanesas de puerco ($16) boasts a plate of boneless, breaded pork chops lightly fried and served alongside an eggroll stuffed with chipotle mashed spuds, and the pollo en salsa de chile morron ($16) features a spice-rubbed chicken breast grilled and cozily blanketed in a decadent red-pepper cream sauce.