The skilled chefs at Carlos O’Kelly’s Mexican Cafe whip up burritos, enchiladas, and sizzling fajitas to fill an extensive menu of south-of-the-border cuisine. Diners push aside still-steaming nacho and quesadilla starters as a waiter approaches, arms meticulously stacked with plates of enchiladas and burritos ($8.99–$9.99 each). Chefs slather spinach and mushroom enchiladas in butter garlic sauce, and the burro en fuego specialty burrito befuddles meat detectors by burying contraband shredded beef and spicy chili sauce deep inside a warm flour tortilla. Diners can also look over a gluten-free menu to bite into enchiladas and fajitas prepared on corn tortillas as, in the kitchen, blenders buzz up pomegranate and strawberry frozen margaritas into salt-rimmed glasses for frozen fruit consumption without fear of stuck tongue.
Led by the Hernandez family—whose roots in Des Moines span more than 43 years—the culinary savants at Raul’s transform fresh ingredients into a full menu of classic Mexican eats. Five fillings round out the tacos, which, depending on one’s appetite or multiple stomachs, can be served in batches of two ($8.95) or three ($11.95). The aptly named El Combination Popular bands together favorites, including a flour taco, a corn enchilada, and a corn-nacho pizza ($10.25). For the huevos ranchero, chefs drape two eggs fried over-easy in a hot ranchero sauce and send them out to tables alongside warm tortillas, beef, beans, and rice ($8.95). Meanwhile, eight different beers sit on tap, and patrons can toast to their forefathers without pouring beer on a family tree by sipping Raul's Original Grandpa margarita, which brings together Cuervo Gold, triple sec, and Raul's own lime juice served on the rocks ($6.75). Savory aromas float toward vaulted ceilings inside Raul's casual dining room, which serves as a backdrop for dinner conversations with dark wood booths, striped serapes, an array of fedoras, and a stone fireplace.
Taqueria Sonora's beer-battered fish tacos "steal the show" according to the Des Moines Register, which lauds the eatery's menu for its time-intensive recipes. More than 15 types of tacos, including lamb and goat barbacoa, Sonora-style shrimp, and charbroiled chicken, join other Mexican specialties such as tortas, enchiladas, and ceviche tostadas. The dining room is just as opulent, with cerulean-blue paint casting walls in a festive glow, and setting a vibrant backdrop for its collection of bejeweled sombreros and other artwork.
Abelardo's Mexican Food dishes out spicy and savory dishes of authentic Mexican cuisine, from tender morsels of carne asada, to cheesy quesadillas stuffed with steak and pork carnitas. At nine locations across four states, guests zip through the drive-thru or settle in for dinner 24 hours a day, seven days a week, wrapping their hands around tortas made with fluffy bread and zesty Mexican chorizo, or digging forks into spicy chile rellenos.