Nine burritos headline the menu at El Porton Mexican Restaurant. Almost as many steaks and chimichangas appear on the food list. The kitchen team might wrap tortillas around slices of grilled steak before coating it with green sauce, cheese, or enchilada sauces to craft burritos or enchiladas. They can arrange mixed vegetables, shrimp, and steak in the fajita plates that sizzle like sparklers on July 8—after a Woodstock-sized sparkler clearance sale. These fajitas are served with flour or corn tortillas in portions big enough for one or two. Cooks can also prepare whole marinate tilapias in the mojarra tilapia dish or sauté a dozen shrimp with garlic for the camarones al mojo de ajo.
Though the Midwest isn’t the most obvious locale for modern latin fusion cuisine, Flaco’s Cocina—from patio to downstairs lounge—proves that dishes can still taste authentic in the middle of the country. Everything about the restaurant exudes a latin ambiance, from the giant fish mosaics, painted beach scenes and live music of El Paraiso Lounge to the bright blue walls and red chairs that play calypso music each time a diner stands up. Amid the vibrant dining room, downstairs lounge, and airy patio, guests dig into fajitas, tacos, and quesadillas that teem with seafood, spices, and citrus touches. To complement the spicy eats, margaritas douse tongues with a choice of handpicked tequilas—such as Don Julio Silver, Patron Silver, and Cabo Wabo—which guests can also enjoy at the full bar in the newly opened downstairs El Paraiso Lounge. Sleek hardwood floors run throughout, supporting a stage that plays home to an eclectic lineup of live music. The downstairs area also hosts special events, private parties, holiday celebrations, and salsa lessons on its spacious dance floor. Live music and DJs are an extra fee.
This cheerful quick-service eatery was named for the guajillo chili—a flavorful red pepper that can be blended into salsas, stirred into stew, or transformed into a puppet using googly eyes and pipe cleaners. The cooks at Guajillo Mexican Grill whip up their own version of fiery guajillo salsa, along with a milder pico de gallo and a tangy tomatillo sauce. They spread the salsas onto an array of freshly made Mexican specialties, including tacos, tostadas, and quesadillas. To craft burritos, they roll tender meats and fresh vegetables into a customer's choice of traditional, spinach, wheat, or tomato tortillas.
Customers stroll down the front counter, requesting meat, bean, and salsa choices from the bustling staff. Trays in hand, customers head to the front patio to dig into hearty steak nachos and cheesy veggie quesadillas. Others opt for catering services—ideal for feeding guests at a party, coworkers at a company lunch, or angry crowds at a Black Friday sale.
In the kitchens of La Cantina, sister restaurant to Amigos Cantina in Kirkwood, chef Robert Trevino whips up edible masterpieces. The menu includes authentic Mexican empanadas, fajitas, and tortas, inspired by culinary skills inherited from his mother and deep roots in Monte Morelos, Mexico and San Antonio, Texas. Guests dine under a canopy of Mexican tricolor flags, surrounded by dark-varnished wood on the ground floor, or climb the stairs to the balcony for meals of carnitas and pollo monterrey sided with frosty hand-shaken margaritas on their Margarita Monday.
Mexican culture permeates every aspect of 3 Margaritas, from its namesake cocktail and south-of-the-border fare to a colorful interior packed with festive touches. Scarlet hues smolder on walls like fire-engulfed strawberry orchards, working in aesthetic harmony with vibrant wooden chairs, each carved with an intricate bird or flower. Servers weave between these chairs to dole out menu items prepared with just as much exotic flair, including pizza mexicana—an entree that swaps crusts for flour tortillas packed with shrimp, chicken, and steak—and signature fruity margaritas.
Authentic Mexican dishes slathered in salsa and mole sauce send up savory wisps of steam from atop Mi Lupita’s casual wooden tabletops. In the kitchen, chefs stuff tortillas with chicken, shrimp, and steak as well as more inventive ingredients such as cactus and mixologists swirl together 60-ounce margaritas behind a bar.