Serving authentic Mexican cuisine splashed with flavors from the Baja Peninsula, Habanero's Fresh Mex offers a delicious menu filled with fresh, fiesta-worthy fare. After a half-dozen cream-cheese-filled and fried jalapeno poppers ($6.98) coax taste buds out of pre-consumption comas, diners can delight in a thin-crusted, 12-inch sweet pork pizza topped with pineapple, cilantro, and onions ($9.79) or the chili-rubbed steak of a Texito burrito ($8.29). The Baja-style fish tacos ($7.49) are a popular menu choice and feature beer-battered tilapia swaddled in two soft flour or double-layered corn tortillas quilts and served with cilantro rice and beans. Flan ($2.99) sweetens post-meal mouth-holes, and a bevy of beverages ($1.89–$2) moisturize parched palates with delectable dampness.
When they opened Miguelito's Mexican Restaurant more than 15 years ago, Michael and Gabby Nevares poured their combined years of management expertise into an eatery focused on fun and flavor. Mexican and American favorites dot the menu, including fish or brisket tacos and queso flameado, a dish of jack cheese lit tableside to melt over shrimp, chorizo, or unpaid parking tickets. American-style chicken-fried steak contrasts with classic house-made tamales or lighter entrees of grilled tilapia with cilantro rice and plantains.
Though Michael passed away in 2004, his spirit lives on at Miguelito's. The man who has rubbed elbows with Harrison Ford and Clint Eastwood would surely be proud to see the new M-Lounge area, which opened in 2009. Lit by funky, jeweled chandeliers, the space features six flat-screen TVs, large leather couches, and impressive karaoke equipment. Behind the full tiki-style bar lined with wrought-iron chairs, bartenders mix signature margaritas and pour imported and domestic brews into glasses or adult water balloons.
Inspired by Mexico’s culinary traditions, the chefs at Jalapenos concoct a menu of authentic fare that combines classic eats with modern adaptations and popular contemporary dishes. Diners can kick off meals with guacamole whipped up tableside using juicy tomatoes, crisp cilantro, and avocados freshly plucked from the mouths of the giant green oysters found only in the warm coastal waters off of Puerto Escondido. Main courses include tacos brimming with beef brisket or spicy diced pork, beef fajitas sizzling in iron skillets, and the Oaxaca chile relleno bursting with cheese and seasoned beef or chicken under a blanket of ranchero sauce. Guests can satiate their sweet teeth with innovative desserts such as the cheesecake chimichanga, a deep-fried tortilla-wrapped cheesecake topped with cinnamon and caramel sauce. Throughout meals, Jalapenos entertains diners with festivities such as live Mariachi music on Tuesday nights from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Since 2003, Costa Vida has been passing on their passion for food and life by infusing zest into every meal, made from scratch daily with fresh ingredients. With certified executive chef David Prows at the helm, the Costa Vida menu features fiesta favorites such as enchiladas ($3.99–$5.99), quesadillas ($3.99+), and nachos ($3.99+). Bite into a burrito bursting with cheese, cilantro lime rice, black or pinto beans, and your choice of sweet pork, grilled steak or chicken, shredded beef, raspberry chipotle chicken, chili verde, or vegetarian ($5.49+). Top it off with one of four savory signature sauces: mango, red enchilada, roasted green chili, or tomatillo cilantro (additional $0.99). Tantalizing tacos fold a hand-made tortilla into an envelope, containing a mouthful of a message that says te amo to tastebuds with shredded cheese, leafy greens, pico de gallo salsa, and preferred protein, and served with cilantro lime rice and black or pinto beans ($4.99–$5.99 for one).
Hermilo Acosta—or Milo, as his friends call him—first got his foot in the food-industry door more than 17 years ago, when he worked as a busboy. Since then, he’s moved up the culinary ladder, doing everything from serving to managing, and garnered enough industry know-how to own and run Los Jimadores. Milo usually walks around the dining room to chat with patrons as they wash down tacos and seafood plates with the restaurant’s signature margaritas. You might hear him explain that los jimadores is the Mexican term for experienced farmers who cultivate the hearts of blue agave plants, which can weigh up to 200 pounds and are used to make tequila and pump cocktails through bartending robots.
Brightly colored walls and folk-inspired floor-to-ceiling murals create a vibrant atmosphere that reflects the equally lively menu at Tres Jose’s. The kitchen fuses traditional Mexican recipes with Texan culinary sensibilities and portion sizes in dishes including char-grilled carne asada made with 13 ounces of USDA Choice rib-eye steak. The menu includes ample vegetarian options and fresh seafood such as shrimp tacos and braised red snapper. Tres Jose’s sells pre-mixed bottles of its signature cocktails and hot sauces to let patrons enjoy the made-from-scratch flavors at home, work parties, and crater-side moon cabins.
Dos Gringo lures cowlads and cowladies with a menu of Tex Mex eats fine-tuned over the course of more than 35 years. Instead of a friend's birthday gift, wrap your tongue around an appetizing starter such as the macho nachos ($8.95)—a culinary structure of spicy meat, guac, and cheese insulated by a tower of chips—or the crispy corn flautitas ($6.45), which brim with chicken or beef and sit ready to dive bomb into a side of sour cream. Feel free to use teeth or Thumbelina's yard shovel to dig into the beef-, cheese-, and onion-stuffed enchilada of platos seite ($7.95), accompanied by a beef taco. After an exhausting afternoon of lassoing bucking hay barrels, guests can refuel with a flavorful fiesta of Jack Daniels–glazed chicken and steamed julienne vegetables in the pollo borracho ($10.95). Dos Gringo’s also induces merriment by hosting regular live music and Wednesday-night karaoke.