6 Exciting Mexican Restaurants Serving Up Bold Flavors
From the Pacific to the Atlantic, there are a wealth of eateries in the United States where one can experience the authentic taste of Mexican cuisine. Some establishments have brought traditional recipes and familiar flavors stateside, while other creative restaurateurs have combined techniques to invent new culinary fusions. In no particular order, these are some of the most intriguing spots in America to enjoy a taste of Mexico.
Starting off the list at #1 is Xochi. Situated on the first floor of the Marriott Marquis in downtown Houston, Texas, it specializes in unique dishes inspired by traditional Oaxacan cuisine. The menu at Xochi features a wide variety of masas that incorporate many types and colors of corn. Guests can enjoy several variations of moles, house-made chocolate, beans cooked with avocado leaves, and quesillo, ribbons of cheese wrapped into balls.
The bar has an extensive array of mezcals, tequilas, and Mexican craft beer. Xochi can host private events like business lunches and dinner parties, offering a choice of one of its set menus or a customized menu based on personal preferences or dietary restrictions.
Next, at #2, Gran Electrica Brooklyn takes its cues from the country's popular street food. The restaurant's menu showcases a diverse array of dishes from all across Mexico. Chefs prepare fresh, hand-pressed tortillas made with heirloom corn, house-made crema, queso fresco, and spicy chorizo. Gran Electrica's cocktails feature small-batch and artisan agave spirits.
The dining room decor highlights Mexican art and painting. Carefully-designed wallpaper includes classic Day of the Dead themes set amidst the local city skyline. There is a large outdoor area, directly under the Brooklyn Bridge, for dining or casual drinks. One can also visit Gran Electrica's Napa, California location, which houses a wine cellar that boasts both local and European bottles.
In at #3 is Chichen Itza, a family-owned and operated establishment in Los Angeles, California that strives to represent the classic fare of the owners' native state of Yucatan. Located in the heart of Mercado La Paloma, a cooperative marketplace home to nonprofits and regional Mexican crafts and restaurants, the business has welcomed both locals and visitors since 2001.
The restaurant prepares a variety of Yucatecan eats, like tortas with roasted pork or chicken served on homemade "Pan Frances" bread, and fried tacos de pescado. Chichen Itza provides lunch or dinner catering packages for corporate meetings, weddings, collegiate activities and other events.
Coming in at #4, Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant has been serving Fort Collins, Colorado its own brand of from-scratch Tex-Mex fare since 1986. From flame-grilled fajitas and slow-cooked black beans to a late-summer seasonal menu that features ingredients from local farms, Rio Grande brings a regional combination of Mexican and American cooking to the Centennial State.
The bar mixes a wide selection of margaritas, including the Classic Rio Marg, the Barrel-Aged Big Tex, and the Mezcal Margarita. With additional locations in Boulder, Denver, Greeley, and Park Meadows, Rio Grande claims to offer an "approachable yet premium Tex-Mex experience" in every dining room.
At #5, Portland, Oregon's Xico prepares authentic Mexican food made from local ingredients in a bright and welcoming environment. Incorporating house ground masa, fresh cheeses, and newly harvested produce, the restaurant creates everything from handmade tortillas to salsas, moles and sauces.
Xico's specialties include Yucatan smoked pork, pollo asado, and an assortment of tamales. It also offers several spaces for hosting private events, with upstairs, indoor, and outdoor patio venues. Special menu choices range from formal, multi-course dinners with wine to casual cocktails and snacks.
Finally, at #6 is Rocco's Tacos. With locations throughout Florida and one in Brooklyn, it provides traditionally crafted Mexican fare within a casual atmosphere. Guacamole is prepared table-side for guests, while the bar's margaritas use sour mix made from fresh citrus.
The choices of antojitos include street-style grilled elotes with Cotija cheese, chipotle aioli and Rocco's signature blend of spices. Guests can select from a vast assortment of tequilas chosen by owner Rocco Mangel, an authorized tequila expert and Master Catador.