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Mad Mex-Never Again

We are not chain restaurant people. But, yesterday when my husband came home he said he was hungry and I was not in a cooking frame of mind. I suggested we give Mad Mex in Willow Grove a try after reading the review in a local publication. We were seated right away, but then waited 10 minutes before our server came to the table. We ordered the fire-roasted tomato chipotle salsa and the guacamole with chips. The chips were incredibly salty as was the salsa. I ordered the Patron margarita. It was average. At the same time, we ordered the grilled fish tacos and the carnets burrito.

An hour after ordering, our food had not arrived. We watched customers who were seated after us receive their meals and stopped the hostess and asked her to get the manager. Our server was no where around. The manager comes over, looking quite shabby sand wearing a stocking cap. I had to double check with him to be sure he was actually the manager. He offered no apology for the poor service and missing entrees. He just said he would "pick up our tab". So, we got up and left. It was a terrible experience.

This morning I went on their site to leave feedback and came across the nutritional information. That was eye opening!

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  1. You were so close to Cantina Feliz.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Boognish

      I know! We just had dinner at CF a week ago so........I will never stray again. Trust me!

      1. re: crazyspice

        heheh...in all seriousness, that sounds like a terrible experience. There's a Mad Mex in West Philly that I used to frequent when I worked in the area. The food was uniformly bad, but the drinks were strong and cheap.

    2. I went a few weeks ago and had a very, very similar experience. Service was absolutely awful. Our waitress was nowhere to be found! We finally got the hostess to get us our check. And, the food was nothing to brag about. I agree, stay away!

      1. You are much more patient than I am. I would have walked out after a server didn't come over for 10 minutes, but, even if I did stay, I would not have waited an hour for my food to come.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mitchh

          Good points micthh. I was sipping on my margarita and watching the game. If not for that, I would have left much sooner!

        2. Glad you posted this. We drove by the other day and the thought popped in my head that we should try it. I think I must have seen the same local review. I will cross it off the list!

          1 Reply
          1. re: AmblerGirl

            Looks like we both struck out this past week!

          2. We tried Mad Mex for the first time Monday. It was 2:30, so it was pretty dead in there. Even with no customers, our service was incredibly slow. My wife specifically asked for a cherry pepsi made by the bar with grenadine. She got a fountain cherry pepsi. Our entrees were fine, but they were nothing great. Their chips were too salty and the salsa we had was overly acidic.

            The big problem I had was that they call themselves a California-Mexican restaurant. Having lived in LA for almost a decade, I'm not sure what part of anything they do is "California." Well, their prices are too high. That's California. From what I ate and what I saw on the menu, I'm not even sure they've been to California. It was as dark as a lot of the rides at Disneyland in there. Maybe that's what they are talking about. I really wish they and many other restaurants in this area would stop throwing an avocado on something and saying, "Voila, California!"

            1. I went to mad mex during the week with some colleagues and actually liked it. We were not looking for a rel dining experience and were going to go to Baja Fresh for a quick lunch and figured we'd give it a try. They had a two course lunch menu for nine dollars which I thought was reasonable. I had a carne asada burrito and a house salad. It was all decent, not great but good enough for a quick work lunch. Mind you, I am comparing it to the other fast Mexican options in the area, like Baja Fresh, Chipotle and Quodoba. I think if you look at it from that perspective it's fine, we do have too few sit down casual lunch spots in that area. That said, it's not even on the same playing field as Cantina Feliz, El Sarape, Tamarindos or some of the "real"Mexican restaurants in the area.

              2 Replies
              1. re: AmblerGirl

                AmblerGirl I really think that is a great comparison. I recently have been frequenting Baja Fresh due to the easy availability of grilled fish tacos during Lent. The cost of the two taco combo and a bottle of water is 9,00 in Montgomeryville. You are paying just a little more, getting sit down service. And mad mex should be commended for their vegan items. Their vegan chili is actually quite good (not as good as my riff on Moosewoods vegetarian chili with bulgar.. but still good). That said, there is a lot not to like about their food.. over salting, the worlds worst guacamole, and at times horrible service.

                1. re: AmblerGirl

                  AG, you are correct. Not in the same league as CF, Sarape & etc, but much better than BF or Chipotle. I think they have worked out the bugs since January, and all of our recent experiences have been good, especially service-wise. I think it fills a niche for those who are looking for a place with a lively bar, good beer selection and a restaurant -- not easy to find in our area.

                2. A friend of mine just tried Mad Mex for the first time - she thought it was very good. We're going to try it out next time we get together for dinner.

                  1. Had a very tasty dinner at Mad Mex last night! this is the first mexican restaurant I can remember that offers soy cheese - very nice since I have a dairy allergy.

                    We ordered the a beer and a red sangria, then chips and guac for an app. I agree with crazyspice that the chips were super salty, but I thought they went well with the guac which was a little underseasoned for my taste. The salsa that came with it was ok, nothing spectacular.

                    I had the Kristy's Big Sister's Red Velvet quesadilla - such a name - with soy cheese and soy sour cream. I really enjoyed it, the quesadilla had chicken, spicy spinach and zuchinni in it, with a side of salsa and sour cream. My friend ordered the grilled fish tacos, which she said were delicious. They were certainly generous, she took one taco home. I really enjoyed my quesadilla, and can't wait to go back to try the fish tacos.

                    Service was good, the food came quickly, and the server was very pleasant. I look forward to going back.