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Oct 31, 2009 07:59 AM

Mexican Food in Dallas Metroplex

I live near Plano, the city is "The Colony." I moved here after growing up in Southern California, I am 51.

Unless somebody here can show me otherwise, I guess we have to accept the simple fact there is not a single Mexican Food Restaurant in all of the Dallas Metroplex or North Dallas area that serves food that even slightly resembles what we have in Southern California? Specially, where they make tacos using their own deep fried corn tortillas instead of the premade, preformed taco bell shells we find here at even the "nicer" Mexican restaurants. Or where the enchiladas are topped with real enchilada red sauce (i.e. Las Palmas sauce in the stores or what you get in Southern Cal at places like El Farolito in Placentia OC or Casa Blanca in Hacienda Heights, CA or El Tepeyac in East LA).

They use Chili Con Carne on their enchiladas here.

Look, I know everyone has different tastes and if I grew up here, I would probably like this Tex Mex stuff. I am not being critical. It's just you would figure there would be at least one Mexican Restaurant that serves it the way they do in so many other places especially when you consider that so many people are moving here from California and elsewhere.

Well, thanks. I guess today it's going to be another taco at some Mexican Restaurant with a taco bell shell and a sauce on my enchilada that I am used to putting on my hot dog to make a chili dog.......unless anyone can help me......:)

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  1. First, lets establish that you live in the least culinary friendly part of Dallas. However, you can throw a rock at areas with much improved food friendly concerns.

    I know the version of Mexican food you are seeking, and ask that you seek out some of the better taquerias in town. there are some very close to you in Plano and one very good one in Allen.

    For fish tacos, my go to is La Calle Doce (all things seafood related are fantastic). Taqueria el Guache, Taqueria Cholula, El Paisa and many more. I hang in a group where we make most of these items ourselves, and rarely go out for them.

    Don't despair! But I must know what misguided soul sold you on The Colony?

    For a real treat, train your wallet and your sites to Javiers.

    La Calle Doce
    415 W 12th St, Dallas, TX 75208

    6 Replies
    1. re: DallasDude

      Thanks for the info but isn't Javier's pretty much "Tex Mex"?......As for "The Colony" we live in the Stewart Peninsula, and it's a nice little city. So far....even the cops are nice.......Have u ever been here or are you aware of any problems with it that I don't know?......thanks again.

      1. re: Eddiehaskell7

        I have definitely been to The Colony. I am sure your area is nice. I especially like the sushi place in the old Taco Bell (though I rarely, if ever, eat at sushi restaurants that get B's from the health department). As to Javiers, its more Mex Mex than anything, hard to describe but along the lines of your Cali taste I am sure. Check out the menu. Plus the cigar room in the back makes some kick ass drinks from true (and I hate this word) mixologists. Plus eye candy to boot.

        1. re: DallasDude

          Cool.......thanks Dallasdude, I appreciate the info. It is hard for me here to adjust to this Tex Mex Food. I realize now how spoiled I was in Southern Cal. We had so many good Mexican Places.......and again, I know if I was raised here and moved to Southern Cal, I'd probably long for Tex Mex there.....Javier's looks rather upscale....the authentic Mexican Food places in So. Cal were simple places with good food......El Cholo in LA, El Tepeyac is a legendary place in East LA, etc. etc.....I sure miss em......and what's with warm salsa?.....::)

          1. re: Eddiehaskell7

            Eh warm salsa in some places, not in others. Personally appreicate salsa cruda. I know what its like moving to various regions of the country and going to a culinary culture shock. I am sure once our Brethen of the Chow chime in, you will get some different views and ideas. Do check out the taquerias though, and best of luck in Dallas.

      2. re: DallasDude

        OK - what is the very good taqueria in Allen?

        1. re: DallasDude

          La Calle Doce is definatelya good place to go get seafood based Mexican. It's pretty darned good.

        2. Native Californian here, though after Proposition 13 (way back when) we moved to El Paso. I moved to Plano a bit more than four years ago. I share your pain. The best restaurant Mexican food I've found in the area is "so so," with one exception I will get to. Again, in my experience, there are NO decent chiles rellenos to be had in the area unless you make them at home. Despite repeatedly asking at restaurants whether they roast and peel their chiles prior to stuffing and being assured they do, I have been served unroasted and unpeeled stuffed chiles that is a dining experience much closer to stuffed celery than what I think of as "true" chiles rellenos. In California, Anaheim/Ortega/Hatch chiles are commonly used, here it almost exclusively the pablano. I can handle that *IF* it's charred and peeled before stuffing. A second warning; there are some (gratefully not all) local restaurants that use flour tortillas for enchiladas. Not a bad way to fly if you want dumpling enchiladas, but I prefer to pass. And at one local Mexican eatery, I was served tortilla soup with flour tortillas! As they say, "Caveat emptor!"

          The other shortfall I find in the area is consistency. The quality of the food in many places (and not just in Mexican restaurants) flows with which cook is working.

          Ah, but wait! There is one local restaurant that serves TexMex and Salvadoran food that I recommend, though I have only been to her Garland location. It's Gloria's, and you can check out the menus (and locations) here: I especially enjoy their tamales in banana leaf, but I can't recall ever having anything bad there.

          The ONLY local "restaurant" with any semblance of similarity to what they serve in California is Taco Bell. Oh, and Jack in the Box tacos are as terrible here as they are in California, but perversely, every once in a while, I've just got to have one. Probably so I can remember why I don't like them? '-)

          I will add that I haven't ventured too far out of Plano (Garland, Allen and nearby Dallas), so here' hoping that your experience is more rewarding than mine. Good luck!

          7 Replies
          1. re: Caroline1

            I have those JIB tacos once in a while, and at two for a buck it is generally after a rousing evening of fine boozing.

            Gloria's is very nice, I do not go very often and was unaware as to all the many locations until just now. The new hot spot for most restaurants is Frisco which is the stones throw I spoke of earlier. There is an Addison location, too.

            I am not aware of any enchiladas in Dallas served wrapped in flour tortillas, I have had these in other states like Nebraska and Kansas. They were pretty unusual. I really enjoy these 'flat' enchiladas that are really tasty, but I haven't seen 'em here. I like it this way once in a while. Not often

            Totally agree with the relleno rant. I had a nanny that did not speak a word of English that taught me the art of rellenos. They were always peeled. I had a relleno just a few short weeks ago at Uncle Julio's (another chain not especially worth mentioning and serves the warm sauce our wonderful OP spoke of) and the relleno was packed with a quasi melted Oxaaco (to the point of an ill choke) and ccertainly the al dente you described.

            I actually saw some terrific looking rellenos stacked as they were being cooked in front of the shoppers at a grocery called El Rancho. El Rancho has a 'deli' that is amazing. You will find one not too terribly far from your home in The Colony and will praise its corridors when you walk in.

            Nice to see you C1 in the Texas threads!

            1. re: DallasDude

              Thanks, DD! I generally keep silent on this board simply because I have had so little positive restaurant experience in the area. I don't do "small plate" restaurants, and I'm cursed by being a good cook, which always makes restaurant dining risky. So in the interest of "If you can't say anything nice...." '-)

              My mother made fantastic stacked enchiladas. which makes them very risky in a restaurant. I had them in ONE local restaurant (fortunately for them I don't remember which one) and it turned out to be three corn tortillas dipped in enchilada sauce and stacked. Nothing more! But I do make them at home My mother used to make them for a crowd. I refuse to make them for more than four, but preferably two. Ours not only have a share of shredded chicken or beef on top of each sauced tortilla, but also queso, chiffonade of lettuce, diced tomatoes and avacados, then the next layer until it's three tortillas tall and sauced once again. Oh, and a fried egg on top! With sour cream and refried beans on the side. Salud!

              1. re: DallasDude

                From last year, my one and only misfortune to eat at Cristina's (in Southlake) produced no-taste food, all wrapped in flour tortillas. The overall experience was very bland. Beef buritto and soft taco were identical except one was topped with gloppy velvetta-like sauce, the other with chili con carne. Same with the cheese soft taco and enchilada, except worse as both were just tasteless, shredded yellow cheese wrapped in the tortillas and ladled w/more tasteless cheese.

                Everything was made with flour tortillas.

                That said, I have read on other sites that the fish, chicken and steak entree's are very good, but I won't be finding out.

              2. re: Caroline1

                Thanks Caroline. Not a lot of good news in your post.......pretty much my experience too....actually, my wife told me I might like Gloria's too........funny, I never thought I would so much look forward to Taco Bell as I have since I moved here.....well.....I guess I will keep searching.....if I stumble across anything, I'll let you know and maybe you can let me know.......oh and we still havent found a real good Chinese place either.......certainly nothing like a Fu Shing in Pasadena CA..or Kuishimbo on 6th in Los Angeles...........but we'll keep looking for that too.........California restaurants are simply the best.......I guess.....thanks again and good luck....P.S. My mom has eaten at El Tepeyac in East LA for decades and she always got the same thing......Chile Relleno........she can't find a good one here either.......

                1. re: Eddiehaskell7

                  For really good Chinese food in our little corner of the world, may I recommend "Chinese Kitchen" by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo. Great cook book! And there are some good Asian markets in the area. As for a great Chinese restaurant, I suspect it's right next door to the great Mexican restaurant. I'm still looking for both of them! '-)

                  1. re: Caroline1

                    Some restaurants that please my family's California tastebuds:

                    First Emperor Chinese (Polk St, Richardson across from Kirin Court) - hole in the wall Chinese food, much more meat than vegetables

                    ThaiSoon (Coit Rd, Richardson) - tiny little place, always packed, much more vegetable than meat!

                    Amigos Comida Casera (Beltline east of 75 a couple miles) - great service, very inexpensive, yummy free amuse bouche of a mini tostada. love their beans. They do NOT make a great fried taco. I wish they did. Try the "Enchiladas Mexicanas."

                    I still fry my own tacos & make my own shredded beef after 7 years! At least I am a good cook like Caroline. And very modest. :D

                2. re: Caroline1

                  Gloria's in nice for a chain. I love their papusas, and their black bean dip is off the charts good. You will also find more fresco/blanco type cheeses rather than melted cheddar jack and heavy sauces. It's definately worth a shot. we like it.

                3. You're gonna be hard pressed to find more than a handful of quality Chinese (of any kind) restaurants in Dallas. However, to assert there is no real Mexican food is slightly absurd; no offense intended. Can't get good Cali-Mex here just like you can't get good Tex-Mex in California but both places have authentic Mexican offerings. Most of the large sit down restaurants here are NOT where you will find true Mexican food but rather they are generally smaller hole-in-the-wall type places. In my experience, that's true of the good restaurants in Mexico as well. A quick search for taquerias in your area should lead you to some good Mexican. My favorite larger authentic Mexican place is Cuquitas (love the guiso de puerco) and they make their corn tortillas fresh. If you miss the Mexican food with a Cali flare, I don't know where that can be found here. But I think it's tough to avoid authentic Mexican in Dallas if you follow your nose/belly.

                  9 Replies
                    1. re: twinwillow

                      The Colony is a chain restaurant predominant community. If you want authentic Mexican food, come to the northside of Fort Worth to the taco trucks. A "chain" restaurant in the Dallas area called Taco Diner serves more close Mexican food than Tex-Mex. Remember, moving from So Cal to the Colony is a huge culture shock. Good luck.

                      Taco Diner
                      432 Grand Ave, Southlake, TX 76092

                      1. re: BellaDonna

                        Thanks Bella.......appreciate it.....u are correct.......People are nice here in Texas....but there's no place like home....California is being ruined by is the most beautiful state to live my opinion......but very expensive......oh well......I hear there's a Carl's Jr. in if we can just get an In and Out Burger here......:)

                    2. re: demigodh

                      I like Hong Kong Royakle in carrollton for dim sum and other good Chinese. Look beyond the menu that has kung pao on it. Dim Sum day and night, cart service weekends. And Kirin Court in Richardson for the finest of dim sum and Chinese menu. You cannot go wrong wioth either. Plenty more to be found, don't give up. Good people will offer their recs.

                      Kirin Court Restaurant
                      221 W Polk St, Richardson, TX 75081

                      1. re: demigodh

                        Cuquitas is listed as closed. Is there another location other than Henderson?

                        1. re: jmellby

                          They moved to 13260 Josey Lane. Farmers Branch.

                          1. re: jmellby

                            There's one at Spring Valley just east of Coit (the only one I have been to).

                            Spring Valley Cafe
                            4100 Spring Valley Rd Ste 102, Dallas, TX 75244

                          2. re: demigodh

                            Thanks Demi. Oh, I don't think I said anything about "real" Mexican food. I said Tex Mex vs. other types of Mexican Food. I just don't like preformed, premade Taco Bell shells I guess. Thanks anyways.....

                            1. re: Eddiehaskell7

                              Hmmm. All of the Tex-Mex places we to make fresh shells. You need to venture out to Oak Cliff for the best Mexican.

                          3. I completely and utterly feel your pain.... I, too, failed to do my research and ended up as a Colony resident. It is a culinary wasteland. The only place I have ever heard recommended was Angelina's. However, aside from the very grumpy woman making homeade tortillas at the entrance, it falls short. Take DallasDude's advise, take 121 to The Dallas North Tollroad or Preston, go either North or South, Frisco and Plano offer many much more acceptable options. As for dining in the Colony? Pick something up on your way home, the only thing worth consuming in The Colony is booze. I feel your pain and am anxiously awaiting the end of my lease so that I can return to normal civilization and a more diverse gene pool.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: DallasChowChick

                              Yeah, thanks Dallas.......we don't eat in The Colony......we drive to Plano and Friso just as you least the cops are nice in The Colony.....:)

                              1. re: Eddiehaskell7

                                When I bought a new home in The Colony ('79-'84), the cops were the Gestapo AFAIWC; really overbearing.
                                There was one shopping center and almost no restaurants and certainly no Mexican joints !

                            2. Everyone is correct you won't be finding much of Cali-Mex here. I think I might know of one but then again it probably has been influenced so strongly from Tex-Mex. Mexi-Cali on NW Hwy and Jupiter. It is in the shopping center just to the west of Lowe's (NWC). That might be close to what you might be looking for.

                              I am not sure what "red" sauce you are putting on your enchiladas. I know of at least three off the top of my head (most common being ranchero). Not all places put chile con carne on top of enchiladas. In fact, I rarely dine at any restaurants who do. The other two sauces that are red is a chile gravy (available at Tipicos), or the achiote with fried potatoes (available at Escondido).

                              If you are in Denton County there are some venerable places in Lewisville. If you like grilled chicken then the Sinaloa style (i believe) eatery in Lewisville is El Pollo Regio (Bus 121 @ 35 behind the barn looking BBQ place). It has been open for about 2 months now but I have eaten at several other locations. Their specialty is the chicken not the tortillas and sides (take that into account). It is a chain in the literal since but the quality of the chicken is pretty solid through all locations.

                              For non taco shell tacos there is Taqueria Guadalajara (Fox & 35 next to El Rancho Supermarket). I believe the fajita and al pastor where pretty on par with the mid range places in Dallas.

                              I liked Tejupilco on Fox and Edmonds for just a solid little meal. I have high standards and it is better than any of the chains around. So it is not the best place I have eaten but not the worst (El Rodeo is pretty bad in the same parking lot


                              I also like Tacos Regio Monterrey at Old Orchard and Main. I have tried about four different taqueria meats and all of them have been good. There is very little English at this place so you better brush up on your Spanish skills. I have never seen another gringo going into this place besides my wife. Not to be scared of though the prices are cheap and the food is very good from what I have had.

                              I am not sure if they are still open but Dallas Tortillas factory has a branch in Lewisville on Mill St and they have decent tamales (sans any kind of sauce like chile con carne but they do have some salsas for them) and fairly good tortillas (they are made by a machine but better than Tia Rosa)

                              You will want to avoid Angelina's, Mariscos 2000, El Rodeo, Abuelo's, On The Border, El Fenix, and Ojeda's (well if you like Ranchero enchiladas then you might like em at Ojeda's). Cristina's can be good on some dishes so I tend to like them better than the rest. Save your trip for the original one in the boondocks of Flower Mound.

                              Stick to these areas in Lewisville for good Mexican
                              Fox and Edmonds,
                              Business 121 Northeast of 35
                              Fox and 35

                              Carrollton and Denton both need their own postings so let me know if you need those. The places into Frisco and Plano to get some good grub are going to be a bit further than Lewisville, no offense DD, and they ain't very numerous in those parts.

                              3118 W Northwest Hwy, Dallas, TX 75220

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                                Taqueria Guadalajara is the real Mexican food deal and while they may not have hard shell tacos their soft tacos are great. Less that 10 miles and 20 minutes away!
                                Great, little authentic Mexican restaurant. Menudo, chicken en mole, soft tacos, tortas, Jarritos, etc! Breakfast, too. All good Chowhounds owe it to themselves to try it! I used to eat there regularly for many years.
                                170 Fox Avenue
                                Lewisville, TX 75067-5351
                                (972) 436-2515.
                                The add a restaurant link is not working correctly right now!

                                1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                                  I think Ojeda's and Christina's are the worst of the worst. The only thing redeaming about El fenix is that if you visit the downtown location, you can get their original hot sauce. It is devine. None of the others serve it.

                                  1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                                    After a few months of teasing, there is now an El Pollo Regio in East Plano (Jupiter/14th). Too packed the opening day but the following week was manageable. The chicken is cooked through the day (we walked through a smoked filled parking lot) and kept warm in packages. The creamy green sauce was my favorite of the three salsas.

                                    I liked the food overall. Chicken tasted good and had good texture, wish the skin was more crisped. Corn tortillas were factory made although tasted alright, probably skip them next time. The salsa bar kept flavors bright. Beans and rice were actually pretty good (not bland). Tried some dessert empanadas which were unremarkable but cheap.

                                    Oh, and Regio opened in an interesting area. There's a KFC and Popeyes across the streets and a Churchs down the block.

                                    1. re: amokscience

                                      I understand there will be El Pollo Regio's going up all over town. Decent place.