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Oct 11, 2007 07:06 AM

Uncle Julios in Dallas/Mex/Tex-Mex Alternatives

Hey Chowhounds.leaving for Dallas tonight (10/11) so this is rather last minute notice, but we had a kind friend in Dallas suggest Uncle Julios. I am a little scared, it looks like a chain and I think I'd much prefer a (slightly upscale) Taqueria. Don't tell me there is no such thing you know what I mean lol. I see some positive comments about Uncle Julios, but some appear to be from people who like chains, I saw one list every chain I could possibly think of along with a glowing review of Julios. Could I be wrong to be scared? Any other recommendations?

Had some great responses in my BBQ thread at:
so thanks for those. We are still deciding.

I will also be looking at this great site:
for some Mexican recommendations.


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  1. Uncle Julio's is very mediocre. Not disgusting, but certainly not where I would choose to go. For Mexican food in Dallas, I prefer Avila's or Cafe San Miguel. I also like to grab pastor tacos from Fuel City (in a truck stop, open 24 hours and cheap). A search on these boards may help out.

    1. Oh my...Funny you should mention Uncle Julio's, because we were having dinner (Mexican Food at Mi Cocina's) last night, and one of our topics at dinner was just how horrible Uncle Julio's is, and has been forever, and that their "swirl" which is a frozen drink of Margarita and Sangria, is the only good thing that they have ever had....An upscale "Taqueria"...hmm...Would Taco Diner be a representative of this? Honestly, there is "such a thing", but not so much in Dallas...We have PLENTY of good Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurants, but a "Taqueria" is probably found more in Austin....

      2 Replies
      1. re: jinet12

        Taquerias are plentiful in Dallas...more so than Austin from what I saw.

        Isn't discussing how bad a restaurant is while dining at another bad restaurant kinda like the pot telling the kettle it's black?

        Mi Cocina in my opinion is a horrible waste of money. The inconsistencies of the food I have eaten there range from "bad experience to downright disgusting."

        1. re: jinet12

          I disagree with your comments about Uncle Julio's. I have always found the food and service to be excellent. It is very fresh, high quality and well prepared ( not greasy )tex-mex. I think it was a good reccomendation, even though it seems like Ianto2000 was looking for something a little different.

        2. There are plenty of good Taquerias in DFW. Taco diner is an "upscale" Taqueria for instance. Personally if you want overall good mexican not chain and not average tex mex I would go to Nuevo Leon.

          And one of the best overall mix kind of places woudl be Aparicio's Plano Tortilla Factory & Cafe. They have two locations one on 18th just West of K (greenville) in Plano. and one in Mckinney

          3 Replies
          1. re: irodguy

            Oooh looks like sadness re: Nuevo Leon:( Destroyed in a fire, same place?


            Very sorry to hear.

            1. re: Ianto2000

              Nuevo Leon downtown was indeed destroyed by fire. But the original in Farmers Branch is alive and well.

              1. re: irodguy

                Ah, glad to hear it. Missed this earlier buried in the middle of the thread though. Good for them.

          2. Manny's Uptown is looking pretty good and see some good reviews out here....

            8 Replies
            1. re: Ianto2000

              Not to be negative, but I think Manny's is worse than Uncle Julio's. For that matter, I don't care for Taco Diner that much either. To me, these places are very generic and might as well be located in any city in the USA. I still stand by my recs of Avila's and Cafe San Miguel for food that is more representative of Tex-Mex and/or Mex available only in Texas.

              1. re: Honey Bee

                Sorry, I forgot to mention that i looked up Cafe San Miguel and it looks pretty good too. I'll definitely take your comment on Manny's into consideration, I did see a pretty good review of it on the site. Have you been to Avila's many times? I saw one review that complained about a number of things including cleanliness, but thought it might be one of those "revenge" reviews. Otherwise though I've found very little info. on Avilas but more on San Miguel.

                1. re: Ianto2000

                  I have been to Avila's probably 10-12 times. The place is family-run in a little house off Maple Avenue. It is nothing fancy, but that is exactly what I like about it. So many Dallas places are so....Dallas (shiny, new, generic). I don't need techno music playing while I eat conchinita pibil. Avila's is very casual, but I have never noticed anything unclean about the place.

                  I really enjoy their mole (rich, red) and the homeade flour tortillas. Lots of people rave about their brisket tacos, but I thought they were no big deal. I used to live in the area, and it was my go-to neighborhood resto because it was good and "easy" (meaning inexpensive, casual, and quick). However, you may want to note that they are a beer and wine only place (no liquor).

                  If you want more of an eating out experience, then choose Cafe San Miguel. It is fancier and a little more lively. The food is very good.

                  1. re: Honey Bee

                    Looks like we have a winner with Cafe San Miguel for lunch, if the rest of our party agree. Thanks Bee and everyone who responded.

                    Also looking (for another meal) into Bakers Ribs, Mac's BBQ, or Back Country BBQ, according to some reviews on Chow and on Or going to Babe's for the chicken dinner experience. Feel free to share any thoughts on those. The Babe's in Dallas is actually Bubbas, apparently....

                    1. re: Ianto2000

                      Babe's (Bubba's). Way better than any BBQ you will get in Dallas.

                      1. re: Honey Bee

                        I totally agree with Honey Bee. Go to Babe's. BBQ in Dallas is mediocre. You have to head south to central TX.

                        Great choice on Cafe San Miguel. Cuquitas, which is down the road, has very good Mex food but is not the more upscale restaurant you are looking for.

                        1. re: jaime24g

                          BBQ in Dallas is so medicore that I could get better in NY? That's what I'm not so sure about. Maybe I'll get some takeout for a picnic on Saturday.

                          The lunch menu for San Miguel looks perfectly decent but not quite as interesting as the dinner menu. We were planning on going for lunch with our friends so hmmmm. Just thinking out loud, my dog hates it when I do that.

                          Maybe we go to Babe's for lunch with our friends and Avila's for an early dinner before the enforced appetizer fest. Too many good places to decide!

                2. re: Honey Bee

                  I would agree overall about Avila's however I would not consider it upscale as such.

                1. re: adkim

                  Yes I saw the Urban Taco thread, looked interesting. I htought it mentioned more of Tecole too, but I don't see it now as more than just a name mention.

                  1. re: Ianto2000

                    I have not been to Urban Taco, but none of my friends have liked the food.
                    I would lump it in with the other "pretty" places (Mi Cocina, Urban Taco, Taco Diner). I prefer a place not quite as polished.

                    If you have not been to Dallas before, you must understand that Dallas fancies itself very cosmopolitan. Most Dallasites want the pretty package to go along with the goodies. (It is after all the number one consumer of blonde hair dye in the country and number two in plastic surgery). I don't mean any disrespect by this because I used to live in Oak Lawn and spent plenty of time at Neimans. However, it all depends on what you are looking for in a dining experience.

                    If you can, drive by Urban Taco and then drive by Cafe San Miguel. Based on the look and the neighborhood you will be able to conclude a few things. Decide which is a better fit for you and what you want.

                    1. re: Honey Bee

                      I was just commenting on Adkim's link, wasn't really reconsidering going there this time around, though I like the outside decor of the place. We hope to go to either San Miguel or Avila's tomorrow depending on the mood, etc., and understand the difference, so thanks again.