Javier’s Century City

Interior
Interior
Interior
Interior
Interior
Interior
Interior
Interior
Interior
Interior
Interior
Interior
Interior
Interior
Ahi tuna crudo
Ahi tuna crudo
Chicken quesadilla
Chicken quesadilla
Enchiladas Mariscos
Enchiladas Mariscos

***** (5 stars)

Javiers has a truly striking interior. Even though the space is huge, it is divided up into enough interconnected areas so that it manages to seem both exotic and cozy at the same time.

We started with the Tuna Crudo, a generous portion served a bit like a poke bowl. Very fresh and flavorful.

For our main course I had the Enchiladas Mariscos, two delicious mixed seafood enchiladas in a tangy green sauce. They were great.

Chicken Quesadillas were a huge serving, accompanied by a giant mount of excellent guacamole.

The house Margarita was just okay. I'd explore alternatives next time.

Service was friendly and very fast.

Javier’s Century City
10250 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90067

https://www.yelp.com/biz/javiers-century-city-los-angeles

Azteca D’Oro Winter Garden

Entry
Entry
Exterior
Exterior
Interior
Interior
Carnitas fajitas
Carnitas fajitas

***** (5 stars)

I've always enjoyed the other Azteca locations, and this one is just as good, and even better decorated. What a transformation from the old Village Inn!

Open only a week, and really bustling, but the service and kitchen were mostly able to keep up.

Fajitas are the highlight for me here. This was the first time I tried them with carnitas, and the meat was tender and succulent.

The Cadillac Margaritas are also excellent.

The dining room is high ceilinged, but can be quite loud when full. For a somewhat less boisterous dining experience, ask for a high top in the bar, or a table in the room beyond the bar.

Azteca D’Oro Winter Garden
3130 Daniels Rd
Oakland, FL 34787

https://www.yelp.com/biz/azteca-d-oro-winter-garden-oakland

Toloache 50

Exterior
Exterior
Interior
Interior
Short rib tacos
Short rib tacos
Ceviche Sampler
Ceviche Sampler

**** (4 stars)

I'll admit to being very picky about Mexican restaurants, having grown up in Southern California. My experience with Mexican restaurants in New York City has been nothing short of abysmal. So I was prepared for the same here, particularly when the salsa showed up and was something closer to cream of tomato soup.

But then the short rib tacos with bone marrow arrived, and things changed completely. This was one of the best items I've ever had in a Mexican restaurant, and could easily have been served in many of the top fine dining small plate restaurants in the city.

I'm not sure this one item fully justifies the four stars, but since the guacamole, Margarita, and ceviche were fine, it's at least a 3-1/2 star place. Just be sure to have the short ribs.

Toloache 50
251 West 50th St
New York, NY 10012

https://www.yelp.com/biz/toloache-50-new-york

Republica

Exterior
Exterior
Interior
Interior
Quesadilla
Quesadilla
Frijoles
Frijoles
Tacos
Tacos

**** (4 stars)

It sounds like the evening tasting menu here would be really interesting. We stopped for lunch on our way through town, and the offerings were somewhat limited. The most interesting item was the plate of two tacos, one pibil, and one chicken, which were both excellent. Their take on a Margarita is interesting.

Access is off the parking lot. You order at the counter. Plenty of outdoor seating, but only a couple of tables inside.

Republica
721 NW 9th Ave
Portland, OR 97209

https://www.yelp.com/biz/republica-portland-2

El Sombrero

Number 12 combo
Number 12 combo
Interior
Interior
Exterior
Exterior
Quesadilla
Quesadilla
Super nachos
Super nachos

**** (4 stars)

Good Americanized Mexican food in a beautifully decorated space with unfortunately bright lighting that makes it seem like a Home Depot's lighting department! Half the customers were wearing baseball caps, and I wishe dI had one, too!

The food was exactly as you would expect form a small chain sit-down Mexican restaurant, with nothing standing out, but all certainly fine.

The Cadillac Margarita was excellent, especially with an added sqeeze of lime to cut the sweetness.

Service was just okay.

El Sombrero
4 W Oak St
Walla Walla, WA 99362

https://www.yelp.com/biz/el-sombrero-walla-walla-2

El Lago

Enchiladas Rancheras
Enchiladas Rancheras
Quesadilla, relleno, tamale
Quesadilla, relleno, tamale
Interior
Interior
Margaritas!
Margaritas!
Cheese nachos
Cheese nachos

***** (5 stars)

I'm pretty sure this is the best restaurant in the Branson area. It's certainly the best Mexican restaurant. There's an extensive menu of both authentic Mexican and Tex Mex food. The margaritas are great. The nachos and guacamole are great. And the service and kitchen are lightning fast, even during rush times.

I'm originally from Southern California, so my expectations for Mexican food are pretty high, and this far surpassed what I was expecting to find in Branson. Well done!

El Lago
18942 MO-BUS13
Branson West, MO 65737

https://www.yelp.com/biz/el-lago-branson-west

Agave Azul Cocina Mexicana

Exterior
Exterior
Interior
Interior
Bar
Bar
Menu
Menu
Menu
Menu
La Flaca margarita
La Flaca margarita
Goat Cheese Jalapeños
Goat Cheese Jalapeños
Tijuana Tostada appetizer
Tijuana Tostada appetizer
Shrimp Diablo
Shrimp Diablo
Ceviche
Ceviche

*** (3 stars)

I have mixed feelings about Agave Azul. On the one hand, I love the expansive outdoor patio, the spacious, well-decorated interior, and the excellent margaritas. One the other hand, in many visits to their various locations, I’ve rarely had any food that stood out as above average.

That was pretty much the case at this location, too, with one stellar exception: the goat cheese jalapeno appetizer was absolutely amazing. Spicy jalapenos were stuffed with creamy cheese, and then finished with an array of toppings that really elevated the dish, including a cilantro crema and a dash of sweet balsamic.

Other items were just average, including the tostadas, ceviche, shrimp diablo (which despite the name is not spicy at all), beans, and rice.

Service was great, and the kitchen is fast, too, even though the place was jam-packed, with a dozen parties waiting outside.

My advice is to go to the bar, have the La Flaca Margarita and the Goat Cheese Jalapenos, and call it a day.

Agave Azul Cocina Mexicana
5855 Winter Garden Vineland Rd
Windermere, FL 34786

https://www.yelp.com/biz/agave-azul-cocina-mexicana-windermere

Cilantro’s Taqueria

Exterior
Exterior
Menu
Menu
Interior
Interior
Taco al Pastor and chicken quesadilla
Taco al Pastor and chicken quesadilla

**** (4 stars)

This counter serve Mexican restaurant offers traditional tacos, burritos and quesadillas made to order, each with a variety of proteins. I tried the pastor taco and the chicken quesadilla. But were very good.

The taco was served with one rather than the traditional two corn tortillas, but it was sturdy enough to hold all the ingredients, and the pastor had a nice flavor. As is often the case, it was prepared without the pineapple that is common elsewhere, which is fine with me.

The quesadilla was a generous serving, and the ingredients were quite savory.

Both items were quite mild, but some green Chulola hot sauce fixed them right up.

The order was served with chips and a very mild salsa, and the quesadilla was served with sour cream, which I really appreciated.

Service was friendly and quite fast (although I was the only customer, as it was early). I would note that it is the first restaurant I’ve been to during the pandemic where the staff was not wearing masks, if that is important to you.

Cilantro’s Taqueria
11103 W Colonial Dr
Ocoee, FL 34761

https://www.yelp.com/biz/cilantro-s-taqueria-ocoee

El Jardin Restaurant & Catering

Carnitas torta with salad
Appetizer combo
Exterior
Bar
Interior

***** (5 stars)

Really good family Mexican restaurant in a shopping center. The service is terrific and the food is good. The lunch carnitas torta was huge and came with a delicious salad option rather than rice and beans or fries. Great blue cheese dressing. The appetizer sampler is also a nice variety. Very reasonable.

El Jardin Restaurant & Catering
1119 S Main St
Manteca, CA
95337
(209) 825-8552
https://www.yelp.com/biz/el-jardin-restaurant-and-catering-manteca

La Bamba Mexican and Spanish Restaurant

Lunch quesadilla

***** (5 stars)

This place was a delightful surprise. The interior decor is colorful and festive, and the food is top notch.

We started with cheese nachos, a simple preparation with lots of jalapenos that was just what we were looking for.

I had the La Bamba combination, which included a beef taco, chicken enchilada, and chile relleno, plus rice and beans. The standout was the taco, which was deep fried with the beef in, then stuffed with cheese and lettuce. This is a fairly rare style, and is my favorite. The rice was also quite good.

The perfect margarita was, indeed perfect, with plenty of lime to offset the sweetness.

Service was attentive and friendly.

La Bamba Mexican and Spanish Restaurant
730 US Hwy 1
North Palm Beach, FL
33408
(561) 882-1718
https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-bamba-mexican-and-spanish-restaurant-north-palm-beach-3