Festive tunes float through Los Vaqueros Grill's bustling atmosphere, and lively flavors cha-cha across a gourmet menu of behemoth burritos, plump tacos, and savory enchiladas. Sink smiles into a soft taco bed ($13), peppered with plump grilled-chicken pillows that snuggle under a sheet of honey-mustard-pomegranate barbecue sauce and a comforter of avocado salsa. Garden-torn stuffers burst from the vegetable chili relleno's fire-seared poblano pepper ($10), and a tantalizing torrent of dried chilis, nuts, spices, and Mexican chocolate floods the enchiladas mole rojo, packed with a choice of meat ($11). Servers lure pineapple pulled pork and confused spa-goers from a slow-cooking sauna, wrapping sizzly strips in the Super burrito's soothing garlic tortilla with pickled jalapeños and house-made enchilada sauce ($12).
Running a Mexican restaurant was in Octavio Cruces’ blood. After all, his family had owned Mexican restaurants throughout Stockton for more than 17 years, and growing up, Octavio had learned the business from the ground up—washing dishes, cooking food, serving customers, and even tending bar.
Guided by those experiences, he founded his own now-thriving business, Casa Flores Marina, which has been lauded by local diners and reporters from The Record alike. Octavio oversees kitchen staffers who fold fresh, homemade ingredients into authentic Mexican dishes as bartenders blend premium silver, reposado, and anejo tequilas into margaritas. Colorful flags and Mexican artwork adorn the dining-room walls, while numerous tabletops speckle the sunny outdoor courtyard. On Wednesdays, the restaurant hosts live performances ranging from local bands to lone mariachis delivering lengthy Shakespearean monologues.
The chefs at Larry Arroyo's Mexican Cafe have followed family recipes for the entirety of the restaurant’s 27-year history, relying on cross-generational wisdom to craft Guanajuato-inspired dishes such as deep-fried potato tacos and chili rellenos smothered in red sauce. Stuffed with your choice of seasoned meat, Rancho Grande burritos celebrate the colors of Mexico’s flag with their juicy red tomatoes and sides of guacamole and sour cream. A selection of beer and wine complements the cavalcade of menu items. On Saturday and Sunday, steaming bowls of menudo soup rekindle warm memories of family dinners and youthful pranks of dumping chili powder into the local rec pool.
Una Mas Mexican Grill entices customers with high-quality, traditional Mexican cooking delivered with a modern flair and appetizing attitude. Incline your eyes to the menu and try a small bowl of tortilla soup with marinated chicken, avocado, cheese, and broth-soaked tortilla shreddings ($2.79 for a small). Margarita salad tantalizes teeth with fresh Romaine lettuce, jicama, cabbage in reds and greens, carrots, radishes, pinto beans, and mexican cheese, all flicked by the flavory fingers of salsa fresca and lime vinaigrette ($6.29). Volunteer your mouth for the task of dismantling a foghead burrito, which wraps chicken in a chili-tomato tortilla and accessorizes with cheese, guacamole, rice, black beans, sour cream, roasted pasilla, corn salsa, and barbecue sauce ($6.59).
Lupe's crafts fresh tastes of cuisine from America's next-door neighbor. Meals begin with nachos ($5) or guacamole dip, perfect pools to legally skinny-dip with chips ($5). Meanwhile, adults and adults-at-heart alike can indulge in grown-up sized portions of chicken enchiladas ($7.75), beef burritos ($7.75), or quesadillas ($7.75), while smaller appetites can greet the child's plate ($5.25). Leave no hunger pang behind with a meal-topping slice of cheesecake or flan ($3 each).
At Miguel’s Mexican Restaurant, chefs craft authentic dishes from the highest quality ingredients they can find, and they prepare every meal to order to ensure its freshness. They sizzle up sirloin beef, Pacific seafood, traditional cactus, and animal-fat-free beans, and they gladly customize meals to each customer's preferred level of spiciness. Their combination plates encourage guests to sample a little bit of everything, unlike their commitment plates, which legally marry diners to lifetime supplies of tamales. On Sunday mornings, they get to the kitchen early to sling up Mexican-style breakfasts such as huevos rancheros and menudo, a hearty soup simmered with tripe. Diners can temper the heat of any of Miguel's morsels with imported Mexican beer, wine, or creamy horchata.