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Great Mexican in Lawrence, KS?

I'm drawing a blank! I can think of El Mezcal, which I've never been to the Lawrence location and La Parrilla, which I wasn't terribly excited about it, though it's been a while. Any recommendations?

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  1. La Familia Cafe (Downtown) is worth a try. They were good, cheap and plentiful at one time.


    1 Reply
    1. re: jm054

      I second La Familia... one of the few places I miss from Lawrence. Ask for the sweet salsa! Skip El Mezcal unless you're just drinking.

    2. I haven't lived in Lawrence for a while (more than 5 years), but I get back once a month or so. I never found any great Mexican food in Lawrence. That may be a function of moving to Lawrence from Austin, Texas, and spending most of my time hanging out with a great cook from ABQ, NM.

      I liked La Parrilla (a lot when it first opened, less lately), and I ate at La Familia with some frequency, and I had my share of Burrito King burritos, but never anything that I would describe as "great" and "Mexican." However, things may have changed since my day.

      1 Reply
      1. re: heatherkay

        I lived in lawrence from 2000-2004..and I really never found a great mexican place - La Familia was it for us. We did El Mezcal, but only on occassion.
        La Parilla , of course, was a favorite in the old days..

      2. We lived in lawrence for years and for us it was La Tropicana or La Parillia downtown. if the weather is nice try La Tropicana; its North of the river (turn east at Johnnys). The food is better than most and you can eat outside. Nice margaritas too

        1. I always used to go to El Mezcal because I liked their white cheese dip, but really didn't like the food at all. Then I discovered Cielito Lindo (8th & New Hampshire). They have the queso and really good food. Plus they have lots of outside seating for when the weather is nice.

          Pretty good service, decent drinks, great queso and really good food. My favorite dish is the Enchiladas Rancheras. Three cheese (small) enchiladas topped with pork, onions, tomatoes and bell peppers in a smokey enchiladas sauce. Their chimichangas and tacos are good too.

          1. Katie, I don't know if you'd consider it "Mexican" (as this is Mexican, but with twists), but Robert Krause's Esquina is opened.

            2 Replies
            1. re: ulterior epicure

              Yeah, we had a good lunch at Esquina last Saturday. Fantastic tacos with the roasted chile (?) salsa and a nice plate of flank steak with rice, beans, sweet potato, beet puree, and grilled squash. Very tasty food, fast and accomodating, friendly service. I wish I'd tried the agua fresca...

              1. re: amyzan

                I 3rd Esquina. I've always had good food and a great time there. (I especially like going during weekday afternoons, when their guac and cheese dip are 1/2 price.) I had a corn taco there yesterday that was delicious.

            2. North of the river there are two venerable spots across from the grain silos but a little further east. My favorite is El Matador. Very homey spot, super nice owners, modestly priced. Be sure to ask for pico de gallo, they only make it when the tomatoes are good. I'm a big fan of their beans. At night the wait staff used to be lackadaisical teenagers, I think hired by the owner (Sonny Reyes) for appearance as opposed to competence. I haven't been there in a couple of years, but doubt it has changed much. The other one is El Tropicana - servicable and not bad, but imho over-priced. Nice patio though.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Teague

                Agree on bad service for north of town restaurants. I loved la Parilla when I was in college but now, I just like it. Their rice bowls are the best, though! :)

                1. re: Teague

                  El Matador is the oldest restaurant in Lawrence. It is still owned and operated by the Reyes Family. Sonny's parents opened the restaurant in the early 50s. He and his daughter, Raquel, still run the restaurant and do most all of the cooking. The wait staff is usually family, often young, and learning. If you've found a variety of wait staff quality, I'm sure the food did not vary in quality. It's always great! Family and friends are working on repainting and remodeling the restaurant. Come by and check out the new ambiance and always wonderful food: 446 Locust St (the one on the corner).

                2. Tortas Jaliscos on W. 6th Street is a good choice if you're looking for more "authentic" mexican food. They have a lot of dishes that aren't laden with cheese, and lots of really spicy dishes, too. My friends are obsessed with the chilaquiles. It's not for everyone--sometimes the service is weird, but we like it.

                  Tortas Jalisco
                  534 Frontier Rd, Lawrence, KS 66049