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

FrutaMix Mexican Kitchen

Drink bar
Interior
Margarita

**** (4 stars)

This is the third and best iteration of Mexican restaurant in this space. The concept is a bit odd in that it is both a restaurant and a juice and ice cream bar, but it works.

Complimentary chips and salsa were good, and the margarita was excellent. Nacho are to be avoided, as they involve liquid cheese.

Street tacos on soft corn tortillas with pastor were authentic and excellent. The cheese and mushroom quesadilla was very savory.

Service was odd, probably the result of a language barrier, but it will presumably improve with experience.

FrutaMix Mexican Kitchen
15493 Stoneybrook W PkwySte 120
Winter Garden, FL
34787
(407) 614-1438
https://www.yelp.com/biz/frutamix-mexican-kitchen-winter-garden

Los Reyes Mexican Grill

Sampler
Tostada
Chicken fajitas
Exterior
Interior

***** (5 stars)

This is a homey little restaurant in a charming part of old Clermont. The small house has been lovingly decorated and features a colorful mural.

The menu offers all the standards and a few particularly authentic items such as molcajete. Prices are reasonable, and lunch specials are very inexpensive.

Your meal includes excellent chips and a very mild salsa. You can also request spicer versions. We tried the medium, which tasted like it had been pepped up with yellow habanero. If that’s their medium, I don’t think I could handle spicy!

We tried the appetizer sampler. The rolled chicken taquitos (which they may have been calling something else) were the highlight. The guacamole was also excellent. Quesadillas were straight forward. The only thing we didn’t care for was the jalapeno poppers, which had a very thick batter. (I just wish the appetizer had come out before the lunch, but maybe some people are in a hurry, and they were very busy.)

For lunch we had the tostada and chicken fajitas. The chicken in the fajitas was a particular standout, with a delicious marinade, and a nice sear.

In addition to beer they also have margaritas, and they are excellent. I’m not sure whether it was made with traditional ingredients, but it had a nice orange citrus hint to it, and wasn’t too sweet.

This is an excellent choice for a charming sit down Mexican meal in Clermont.

Los Reyes Mexican Grill
658 West Ave
Clermont, FL
34711
https://www.yelp.com/biz/los-reyes-mexican-grill-clermont

San Jose’s Original Mexican Restaurant

Interior
Top shelf Margarita
Appetizer sampler
Chicken tortilla soup
Taco al carbon

**** (4 stars)

This location is much larger than the original one on West Colonial, and I think it is much better. The space is bright and airy, and divided into a number of rooms, with a nice bar along one side.

The menu is very extensive. A good way to get a variety is to try the appetizer sampler, which actually contains items I don’t regard as appetizers, such as chimchangas, tamales, and flautas.

I also tried the taco al pastor, which is authentic with the inclusion of pineapple bits, although I would have liked the meat to be richer and spicer.

The top shelf margarita here is one of the better ones in town. They don’t call out the specific spirits, but it definitely tilts toward the orange side of the flavor chart, which I found interesting. Fresh citrus kept it from being too sweet.

San Jose’s Original Mexican Restaurant
16112 Marsh Rd
Winter Garden, FL
34787
(407) 554-2118
https://www.yelp.com/biz/san-jose-s-original-mexican-restaurant-winter-garden