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new los portales durham nc?

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Has anyone tried the new Los Portales in Durham near Southpoint Mall? It's so close to my house so I have my fingers crossed for awesomeness! If you've been, do they also serve mixed beverages? I checked the ABC licenses and they don't seem to have one yet. Thanks for any info you might have!

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  1. We decided to check this place out instead of waiting for a review. It was good! not fabulous, but good. It's definitely better than the El Rodeos and El Dorados of the Triangle. Maybe not better than Bandidos. I compare to those two b/c they seem to be going for the same look and crowd. Their menu is interesting: same stuff as everywhere else, but then you find the occasional interesting bit thrown in (beef tongue taco, etc.) Makes me wonder if the speculation that this is a relocation of the real Los Portales is true - is there some real mexican food hiding under the cheesy enchilada veneer? I had the tacos al pastor. They were good, but I've had better. I appreciated the reasonable portion size (3 small tacos plus onions and cilantro.) Husband had enchiladas en mole. They were very good and we were impressed with the quality of the chicken meat inside - all breast meat in large chunks. They do have a variety of beer and margaritas. Overall, it was good. We'll go back, but it remains to be seen if we'll replace our regular mexican joint (bandidos) with this one.

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    1. re: eh27713

      If Bandidos is your reference standard, please go have dinner at Tonali. It's fairly close to where you are, on Shannon Rd. behind the movie theater on Martin L. King. Blvd. Tonali should be the standard against which all other Mexican restaurants in Durham should be compared-- and I have yet to find one its equal. Only Jibarra in Raleigh is in the same league for true non-taqueria Mexican cuisine in the Triangle that I have tried.

    2. My wife and I tried Los Portales about a month ago, at which point they weren't even serving beer. Sounds like they've worked their way up that and will probably have a full bar (there was a setup for one) stocked as soon as they can. As far as the food, eh. I'd say they're on par with Torero's, with a very similar menu (everything you'd expect to find at, say, Bandidos or El Rodeo, plus some nice additions such as borrego, mole, lengua tacos, and chile verde). The service was fairly dreadful (never brought our app., brought me the wrong entree), but I just chalked that up to the waiter being new and needing a bit more experience.

      Overall, it's certainly a better option than Moe's across the parking lot or the nearby Bandidos (I don't want to offend eh27713, so I'll keep my mouth shut about Bandidos), but it's not about to lure me away from La Vaquita. And no, bbqme, this place isn't in the same league with the wonderful but very different Tonali (Tonali is far more upscale in its offerings).