B & Z Family Mexican Restaurant

B&Z offers an extensive menu of traditional Tex-Mex dishes including enchiladas, tacos, nachos, and more. It’s distinctly not traditional Mexican for the most part, so you won’t have to worry about a lot of spice.

Service was very friendly, and the Margarita was good. 

It’s nice that they offer breakfast through 3pm, in addition to the lunch menu.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/b-and-z-family-mexican-restaurant-seattle

Torchy’s Tacos

This is a great addition to the local taco scene. Like competitor Velvet Taco, Torchy’s is a chain out of Texas that specializes in high-end taco assembly. Their menu offers a wide variety of semi-traditional and eclectic taco. We liked all three that we tried:

Trailer Park Taco – fried chicken and a bunch of stuff on a flour tortilla. This wasn’t my favorite, but my wife liked it a lot. It’s pretty far from any Mexican origins!

Green Gile Pork on a corn tortilla. The most traditional, this contained very succulent carnitas.

Mr. Orange – This was my favorite. A delicious piece of grilled salmon with a somewhat spicy sauce and lots of cilantro.

I really liked that all the tacos had completely different ingredients, which is very different from most assemblage places.

I usually prefer sit down restaurants to quick serves, but it’s worth noting that they do have margaritas, and you can come in, sit at the bar, and order food and drinks.

Be sure to join their club and get a free half order of queso and chips— it was large and delicious.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/torchys-tacos-winter-garden

Old Town Mexican Grill

Exterior
Exterior
Interior
Interior
Nachos
Nachos
Taco and enchilada combo
Taco and enchilada combo
Taco salad
Taco salad

**** (4 stars)

One of the measures of a good Mexican restaurant is the quality of the refried beans and rice, and they do very well on both counts. A other measure is whether the nachos are made with melted cheese, and sadly this is just liquid queso.

Still, this is overall decent food, and convenient to the highway.

Old Town Mexican Grill
116 Commercial Pkwy
Canton, MS 39046

https://www.yelp.com/biz/old-town-mexican-grill-canton

Pepe’s Cantina

Interior

Exterior

Tacos Al pastor

Vegetable fajitas

**** (4 stars)

This I-Drive Tex-Mex restaurant is certainly an improvement on the counter-serve concept that was here before. Now there is full table service. While the menu seems to be a bit tourist priced, there are some excellent lunch deals.

The best deal of all is the house margarita, which is very well made, generous, and is about half price during the day. Plus, it comes with free queso which was quite tasty.

We enjoyed all the menu items we tried, and the service was pleasant.

Pepe’s Cantina
5415 International Dr
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 317-6649
https://www.yelp.com/biz/pepe-s-cantina-orlando

The Gnarly Barley

Bar

Interior

Gnar BQ Taco

1/2 Grown Up Grilled Cheese and side salad

Exterior

***** (5 stars)

A great little dive bar with excellent food and 16 beers on tap.

The place is really small, but there are also some larger tables on the back porch.

The Gnar-BQ Taco was a nice portion of savory shredded pork offset by crisp, tangy slaw.

The Grown Up Grilled Cheese combined cheddar, Swiss and goat cheese with bacon, but the real highlight was thin, crisp apple slices. It was perfectly grilled. I had it as “Mom’s Special”: a half sandwich with a side salad. The blue cheese dressing is VERY chunky.

It’s nice that their tap beers are available in half portions so you can try more. Service was friendly.

The Gnarly Barley
7431 S Orange Ave
Orlando, FL 32809
(407) 854-4999
https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-gnarly-barley-orlando

Uncle Julio’s

Exterior

Interior

Spicy seared tuna tacos

**** (4 stars)

I’d been to one of these in Chicago, and they are pretty similar. There’s a bit of a corporate feel to them. We had a large party, so I can’t really comment on the service, because that is always difficult, but the food was all pretty good. There isn’t really a standout appetizer or entree, although the spicy seared tuna tacos that I had were probably the best item. One person complained they were cold, but since they’re almost raw tuna and slaw, it seems appropriate.

Their unique item is the chocolate pinata, a suspended sphere of chocolate that you break open with a bat to scatter fruit and churros into the whipped cream moat below. It was fun for the group to scavenge through the debris and find their favorites.

Uncle Julio’s
8409 International Dr
Orlando, FL 32821
(321) 430-0600
http://www.yelp.com/biz/uncle-julios-orlando

On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina

Grilled Shrimp Tacos

Chile relleno

Exterior

Interior

*** (3 stars)

This is a pretty good Tex Mex chain. The menu is quite extensive, and there should be something to please almost everyone, as long as you’re not looking for authentic Mexican food.

The trick is to order items done on the mesquite grill, as they are very nicely flavored. I had the shrimp tacos (I ordered the fish tacos, but that’s another story). My companion had the chile relleno, and didn’t care for the clumsy breading and flavorless stuffing. But the accompanying brisket enchilada was pretty good.

Our favorite item was actually the queso cheese dip. It’s not something I would normally order, but it was a Yelp freebie, and it was excellent, a large serving, filled with lightly spiced peppers. It went well with the complimentary chips and salsa.

Also included in each meal are unlimited black beans and yellow rice. The rice is nicely seasoned and was much better than typical chain restaurant Mexican rice.

Our server was well trained but not a good listener.

The interior build-out is quite nice. It’s hard to imagine that this space the plaza was once occupied by card stores and sunglasses shops.

On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina
12517 State Rd 535
Orlando, FL 32836
(321) 329-3188
https://www.yelp.com/biz/on-the-border-mexican-grill-and-cantina-orlando-4

Chuy’s

Elvis green chili fried chicken (green chili festival)

Valley combo (green chili festival)

Bar

**** (4 stars)

This location of Chuy’s is a bit easier to get to than the one in the very crowded stretch of International Drive. The decor is the same funky coolness, but with different themes and pictures.

We went during the annual green chili festival, which offered some different menu items, although they didn’t have the promised complementary fresh green chilis.

The best thing to get at Chuy’s is the appetizer combo, which makes a great and economical meal for two people. Another excellent selection is the taco salad, one of the more healthful (as in “more healthful than extremely bad for you”) items. Get it with the creamy jalapeno dressing. You can also ask for that as a chip dipping sauce, which is delicious.

Speaking of chips, perhaps the very best thing about Chuy’s is the ultra-thin chips served when you sit down. They are always crisp, and despite their thinness they are sturdy enough to support a big scoop of salsa.

Margaritas are also excellent.

Our server here seemed like she was still learning, but she was a bit busy.

Overall a very good experience.

Chuy’s
7913 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy
Kissimmee, FL 34747
(407) 787-3545
https://www.yelp.com/biz/chuys-kissimmee