After 15 years spent honing his restaurateur skills across Mexico, San Francisco, and San Jose, Julian Rios was ready to open the doors to his own eatery in 1992. According to the Sunnyvale Sun, there was just one problem: he didn't know how to cook. That's when his sister stepped in, crafting a menu of Mexican favorites that flourished in the hands of Julian's experienced chef, who is well versed in the secrets of Mexican cooking. Julian eventually learned his way around the kitchen thanks to this chef, adding cookery to a litany of skills that already included bussing tables, manning the register, and dicing sombreros. "If you don't do these things, you could lose your business," Rios told the Sunnyvale Sun, "I have worked too hard to let my business go down."
Low-cholesterol vegetable oil anchors every dish on the approximately 50-item menu, which incorporates loads of veggies and lean meats into traditional Mexican and seafood dishes served à la carte or on the buffet line. Vibrant margaritas and creative desserts scrawl an appetizing epilogue across the evening's menu, where cheesecake chimichangas drown in strawberry sauce, sugar, and whipped cream.
The chefs at Red Pepper Grill blend Mexican and California cuisines on a solid menu backed up with a full bar. Diners can kick off meals with house tortilla chips and salsa made fresh daily. Appetizer selections include gooey chicken quesadillas or nachos coated in cheese, beans, sour cream, and guacamole. House special entrees include crisp flautas, rolled corn tortillas that are stuffed with shredded meat. Chile verde burritos swim in a green sauce with rice and beans, and the enchilada Mazatlan holds prawns sautéed in a garlic sauce and topped with melted jack cheese. The heat of salsas, spicy marinades, and memories of family tire-fires can be quenched by a huge list of margaritas, wine, beer, and tequila.
Mexicali Grill whips up authentic, fresh Mexican fare alongside specialty margaritas in a vibrant, open-kitchen setting. The menu kicks off with hunger-slaking appetizers such as quesadillas smothered in monterey jack and crammed with sizzling steak and smooth guacamole ($9.95). Fill gustatory voids with the doublewide enchiladas sulzas—two enchiladas stuffed with tomatillo sauce and chicken breast and coupled with rice and refrito beans ($11.50). Snuggled inside a tortilla sleeping bag, the burrito de camarones brims with rock shrimp sautéed in fresh roasted garlic ($11.75).
It's been featured on the Travel Channel. It's 18 inches long—longer than most human newborns. It weighs in at a little more than five pounds. It's a burrito.
This monster, which goes by the name Burritozilla, is the signature dish at Iguanas. Chefs fill every square inch of the three tortillas required to contain it with hearty scoops of meat, salsa, sour cream, cheese, rice. beans, and guacamole. Many have stepped up to conquer the dish, from terrified local university students to Man v. Food's Adam Richman. But, with the understanding that not everyone would be able to defeat this oversized burrito, the Iguanas menu also holds creative interpretations of more manageably portioned Mexican classics.
Seven hand-trimmed meats—including grilled Angus-beef carne asada, tomatillo-braised pork, shredded chicken in spicy chipotle sauce, and carnitas—stuff tacos, tortas, and quesadillas. They also lounge atop nachos and even nacho fries. All this cheesy, juicy decadence aside, Iguanas’ menu is also big enough to include light, crisp taco salads and bitsy Baby Burritos and Tiny Tacos, the perfect size for kids or anyone who wants to make the Burritozilla look that much bigger.
Dona Maria Mexican Restaurant's menu depicts authentic Mexican cuisine constructed from fresh vegetables and hearty meats. Groups of two or four commence chow downs with a basket of tortilla chips and fresh guacamole, made in-house by skydiving avocados. Chefs line plates with traditional Mexican dinner platters such as enchiladas, chili rellenos, and chimichangas, as well as sautéed seafood platters that tout fresh tilapia fillets and shrimp. In addition to hearty meals, servers adorn tables with breakfast plates comprised of scrambled eggs sprinkled with chorizo or vegetables. Instead of bringing a hose nozzle from home, patrons can wash down spicy bites with a margarita or substitute the colorful concoction for another thirst quencher.
Though it first opened its doors way back in 1977, La Paloma still garners plenty of praise. Metro active, for instance, named it one of Silicon Valley's best Mexican eateries for 2013.
Now run by third-generation restaurateurs, La Paloma continues showcasing the classic Mexican flavors that made it popular, from shrimp fajitas served on sizzling skillets to tortas filled with steak, avocado, and grilled onions. Cooks cater to vegetarian diners as well with such dishes as enchiladas stuffed with mushrooms, spinach, and almonds. To help wash down each bite, bartenders craft plentiful libations, including a French take on margaritas made with tequila and Cointreau liqueur.