HOME > Chowhound > Chains >

What is the best Mexican Restaurant chain?

rltomkinson Feb 27, 2009 08:22 AM

I used to go to Chi Chi's and Casa Maria's a looooong time ago. More Recently, I've been to Don Pablo's and Chevy's. The first time I went to Chevy's, the store just opened and the food was pretty spicy, but not too hot and I loved it. The last time I went to that same store, the food was bland and disappointing. Is there any chain that has great Mexican food? Or REALLY HOT Mexican food?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Bob W RE: rltomkinson Feb 27, 2009 08:27 AM

    Chain Mexican is almost always bland and gloppy, but at least most of them now provide a nice array of hot sauces to give the stuff some flavor.

    1. f
      Fibber McGee RE: rltomkinson Feb 27, 2009 11:13 AM

      In SW Ohio we have some decent small chains. El Toro and El Rancho Grande. I'd take those or any other local regional chain over the nationals, and that easily includes the burrito places. But as the influx of Mexican immigrants grows, we are also seeing a lot of small taquerias open up which, while they don't cram the concept of huge high-octane margaritas down your throat, have more authentic food at reasonable prices.

      1. bigmackdaddy RE: rltomkinson Mar 1, 2009 11:59 AM

        When I was in Vegas a couple of years ago I hit a place called Loco Pollo (or maybe it's Pollo Loco), I thought they had pretty decent chicken and sides.

        1. k
          Kam7185 RE: rltomkinson Mar 5, 2009 07:27 AM

          Mexican is one of my favorite cuisines, anything from gourmet to street stands as long as it is appetizing. I am quite particular on how things should be prepared and have been taken to just about every mexican chain.

          The best are Pappasitos and Uncle Julios. These places you can get authentic beans and sides, not just scary gloopy refried beans and rice that I always skip. They both have all the gringo type dishes- burritos, tacos etc. But, we're usually more adventurous. Pappasito's has an amazing selection of grilled foods; shrimp, lobster, quail, and scallops. Those are my favorite mex chains.

          For more middle of the road and america chains, on the border is fairly good for what it is.

          1. j
            junipersong RE: rltomkinson Mar 6, 2009 09:55 PM

            I'm a fan of Baja Fresh. Yummy rice and shrimp tacos.

            1 Reply
            1. re: junipersong
              givemecarbs RE: junipersong Dec 12, 2009 04:09 PM

              Agree with you junipersong. Also love the fish tacos (fried or grilled) they actually put a fresh avocado slice on each one. And who can eat just one? :)

            2. mrbigshotno.1 RE: rltomkinson Dec 10, 2009 10:22 AM


              1. RetiredChef RE: rltomkinson Dec 20, 2009 09:16 AM

                El Torito based in California, they actually do some very authentic cooking and have a very good Sunday buffet (and I don't usually like buffets.)

                1. globocity RE: rltomkinson Dec 20, 2009 11:46 AM

                  I like Someburro's, a chain in the Phoenix metro area. Not spicy per se, but the red sauce is pretty damn good.

                  1. j
                    joe777cool RE: rltomkinson Dec 20, 2009 02:23 PM

                    Not really a sit down chain, but I have tried Chipotle several times and despite my wanting to like it, I do not. I think its the cilantro lime rice that kills it for me.

                    In terms of sit down, my SO works at On the Border and they do American Mexican ok, ie fajitas (although they tnd to be really oily) but nothing like the privately run restaurants

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: joe777cool
                      Sensuous RE: joe777cool Jan 8, 2010 09:46 AM

                      We frequented the Cary, North Carolina On The Border and always enjoyed ourselves. Our boys were young and enjoyed the experience back then. Their fish tacos were so good. That was a very busy restaurant. I had forgotten all about it until I read your comment, joe777cool. That was the only one I have ever seen though.

                    2. Sandwich_Sister RE: rltomkinson Jan 6, 2010 09:42 AM

                      We like Azteca De Oro but its a chain that is predominatly washington state, oregon and florida.


                      Show Hidden Posts