Brightly painted walls, vivid paintings of Mexican life, and flavorful margaritas lend Las Palmas' numerous locations a relaxed, distinctly "fiesta" vibe. As guests slowly unwind with friends, family, or Twister champions over ice-cold Mexican beers and cocktails, the chefs prepare fajitas, enchiladas, and tacos alongside plates of charbroiled meats and seafood. They also whip up vegetarian-friendly options, such as the signature guacamole and enchiladas banana, which they stuff with fried bananas and smother in mole sauce and melted cheese.
With exposed brick walls, large rounded windows, and wooden barrels decorating the dining room, Rancheros Mexican Grille & Cantina creates an authentic southwestern atmosphere to compliment their flavorful dishes. Metal chandeliers gently sway above spacious dining and banquet areas, where guests share orders of homemade chicken tamales or octopus, shrimp, and tilapia ceviche seasoned with lime juice and cilantro. Burritos bind marinated skirt steak, grilled shrimp, spicy pork, and other ingredients inside a warm tortilla that keeps bites from falling on the floor or floating away in zero gravity.
The lengua burritos, Jarritos, and red and green sauces that smother enchiladas aren't the only authentic south-of-the-border touches at Changarro Cocina. Its drink list also brings some traditional flavor. The granite bar area, part of the new owner's renovations, hosts more than 70 different tequilas and margaritas made fresh without any mixers. Patrons sip these beverages while nibbling ceviche, huaraches, and tortas and cheering on soccer matches, baseball games, and ice-fishing tournaments broadcast on TVs throughout the restaurant.
Historic Downtown Wheaton embraces many of the boutique gift stores, chic spas, and diverse culinary offerings that populate the historical storefronts of the western suburb’s walkable central shopping district. Before embarking on a day of checking off gift lists or simply sightseeing, slip under the colorful awnings at Front and Hale Streets to sneak a breakfast bite at the Egg Harbor Café, where The Handler sandwich tucks egg, bacon, and cheese onto a gourmet pretzel roll ($8.95). Eco-friendly gift shop It’s Our Earth's “buy recycled” philosophy unfolds space for ample creativity in the form of Snack Journals ($7 each)—fun notebooks reimagined from SpongeBob and Spiderman snack boxes that make the dog eating one's homework a slightly likelier excuse.
At Sergio’s Cantina, family recipes from Mexico envelop pork, steak, chicken, and tilapia joined by an array of margaritas and mojitos. Blue-backed booths support diners, and crispy deep-fried quesadillas fill stomachs. The fresh flavors of pico de gallo, poblano peppers, and mango salsa sit atop platters of tacos, tamales, and enchiladas. Colorful umbrellas sprout to shade outdoor patio seating, and waiters emerge from the dining room’s ocean murals and potted palms with mixed drinks in hand.
Burrito Parrilla Mexicana treats tummies to tantalizing south-of-the-border cuisine served with a modern aesthetic. Mexican favorites mingle on a menu, such as burritos and tacos made with a choice of six meats that include beef picadillo, chorizo, and marinated al pastor pork that regularly defies physics by cooking on a vertical grill and refusing to proofread Isaac Newton’s autobiography. The restaurant’s dinner plates, such as chicken or steak fajitas, arrive at chartreuse booths inside sizzling skillets and accompanied by an elegantly plated assortment of guacamole, pico de gallo, black beans, and rice.