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Tex-Mex in Fairfax and points west

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Transplated Californian yearning for real Tex-Mex. Prefer no chain restaurants, but all suggestions gratefully accepted.

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  1. I'm bad on my focus on strict Tex-Mex, so some of these may skew in different directions.

    First, the Uncle Julio's chain exists here as Rio Grande. Probably the closest to you is in Reston Town Center.

    There's a decent little place just south of Fairfax (just south of George Mason on 123) and of course I'm blocking on the name now.

    You might try Picante! the real taco, just west of 28 on 50.

    Here is a list of some other places, mainly focused in Reston/Herndon and that probably are not "Tex" enough, but I thought I'd post them for you anyway:

    - The taco truck on Rt 7 near Baron Cameron
    - Lakeside cafe in Lake Anne (the steak is incredible)
    - The mercado in the parking lot of Lake Anne (though service stinks here)
    - The place in the Sterling clock tower (same goes for service but there are tables)
    - The market behind the McD's on Elden - near Teocalli Tamale
    - There's another place in the same K-Mart parking lot, much closer to K-Mart near the Golds. Good food but awful service

    1. Is it La Tolteca that's south of George Mason? It's more Mexican than Tex Mex. I prefer Anita's to it. Anita's is in Fairfax and Burke. There might be more locations.

      2 Replies
      1. re: chowser

        That's the name, yes. Like I said, I'm not one to know or seek out true "tex-mex".

        I've certainly learned, both in language translations and food, there are so many variations to latino styled anything that it pays to be exact if you're that discerning. In the DC area, we have DC based Guatamalan and Salvadoran influences most heavily. NY, LA, ATL, MIA, Des Moines, are all different "flavors" depending mainly on where the core population comes from, and secondly on how they get interpreted in the new locale.

        Quick snip is translating some promo text for McD's a few years back. We had it translated here with that Salv. influence. Our text was rejected by the NY office (Mexican) as not correct, and they retranslated. The Mexico City office then thought ours was closer but not right, and the NY translation flat out wrong. It went to an LA office, and somehow we ended up at consensus. As is told many times over across the board, the same goes for food.

        1. re: Dennis S

          Interesting (kind of that like that great about west/east chinese food in general chowhounding). By no means am I an expert in "tex mex" either. I've read that Anita's is New Mexican Mexican. I never even realized there was that. In my head, I think of it as Chevy's type food. In that vain, I agree w/ ffxjack's Rio Grande. I love their grilled vegetable fajitas.

      2. Depending on what part of Fairfax you live, the Uncle Julios/Rio Grande in Fair Oaks may be closer

        1. I'm also a transplanted Californian living in Fairfax and am wondering if you specifically mean Tex-Mex or California-style Mexican?

          1. I think it may technically be Springfield (and it's a local chain) but my husband LOVES Austin Grill on Old Keene Mill Road.