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Jul 9, 2007 09:31 PM

Mesa, Ariz. mini-review: Salvadoreno place

Salvadoreno Restaurante

303 E Southern Ave (east of Mesa Dr.)
Mesa, AZ 85210
(480) 964-5577

My friend found this little restaurant in a strip mall and we gave it a try today at lunchtime. I wish I would have saved a take-out menu for a better review, but I forgot!
Anyway, this is a great little Salvadoran restaurant. It's cheap, not very busy and tasty.
We arrived around noon and just two of the dozen tables were occupied. The place is sunny and decorated with cheap El Salvador posters. A tv in the corner is set to Spanish telenovelas.
The waitress was very friendly, though I don't believe she spoke any English. However, the menu is in both Spanish and English, so English-speakers shoudn't have a problem.
The pupusas, which are spongy-like handmade tortillas stuffed with meat or cheese, were great. At $1.95, two or three would be a complete meal. I tried the "cheese and loroco flower" pupusa. Apparenlty this is a edible herb-like flower native to central America. It had a great flavor, and some online research discovered it has aphrodisiatic qualities :)
We tried to order a veggie combo platter, though to be honest, they were out of a few items, so I'm not sure what we ended up with. One item was a fried "elote" thing, which was like mashed corn. I'm doing a terrible job describing it, but it was tasty.
They have other dishes like soups of the day, rice with shrimp and vegetables, chile rellenos, etc., and most items are under $10.
One item we did not try, but which I will taste next time, is the "chipilin" tamal. This was one of the two or three tamales they offer and it's flavored with chipilin, which is a dark green leafy herb. I remember eating tamales with this leaf on the street and in the markets when I was in Chiapas, Mexico, and I loved them. So I hope this will live up to that! It's only a buch or two, too.
The restaurant also had several desserts that looked good, including sweet fried plantain desserts. For beverages, they had bottles of flavored sodas and pepsi products, as well as coffee and an "horchata" which was different from any other I have tasted. This horchata was a unappealing brown color, but the taste was a bit like rice, cinnamon and banana. It was really refreshing, though I'm not sure I'd want to drink the entire glass of it.
I didn't eat any meat entrees, but as far as the veggie dishes go, this place is a great find, and I look forward to getting some pupusas and tamales for takeout one of these days at lunchtime.

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  1. Sounds good.

    Salvadoreno Restaurante
    303 E Southern Ave Ste 113, Mesa, AZ 85210

    1. This sounds like a great find. Thanks for sharing the news. There are a decent number of Salvadoran, Guatemalan, and other Central American restaurants scattered around the metro area, but they're often well kept secrets. Some other favorites include Eliana's in Central Phoenix and Grill El Quetzal at the west end of Mesa.

      Eliana's Restaurant
      1627 N 24th St, Phoenix, AZ 85008

      Grill El Quetzal
      1933 W Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201

      1. This really is a good find. We both enjoyed the Pollo Deshebrado today which are shredded chicken sandwiches with a cole slaw style topping. I don't recall it's name but we split an appetizer of refried beans and plantains with a dollop of a type of cream that I've only had in Central American restaurants. As Anakalia said, the food here is very tasty, more flavorful than I remember lunch at Elainas being. The horchata was delicious but on the rich side. The glass of water on the side that she gave us was helpful. The menu lists a Restaurante SalvadoreƱo #2 at 7333 W. Thomas Rd. in the West Ridge Park Shopping Center. When we mentioned the second location, the waitress tried to convey something about Tempe. Possibly there will be a RS #3?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Doug in Mesa

          Hi all,
          Yes this place is a great find. I love the place. Word has it they will be moving to a bigger unit sometime within the next 6 months, in the same shopping center. Weekends are a mad house there! But VERY well worth it. There is a location in Phoenix #2, the #3 is located in Riverside,CA, and the #4 will be located in Phoenix,AZ on Central Ave and Dunlap. It's a family owned place, so all the cooking is as traditional as you will get. We go there regularly and know the family pretty well. Two thumbs up! The pupusas are the best. If anything, try those and then work your way into the menu. As far as drinks, try the Ensalada de Fruta. Tropical drink with a fruit salad of mamey, maraƱon, mango. Delicious.