Bowling Green
Campbell Lane
Downtown
Greenwood
Northgate
31W Bypass
31W South
Scottsville Road

LexEat.com

Mexican

Serving Kentucky Since 2000

 

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Like most American cities, Bowling Green has seen an explosion of Mexican restaurants in the last decade. They've become immensely popular due to their colorful atmosphere, reasonable prices, ample portions and lively tastes. Bowling Green does not yet have "corporate Mexican" national chains except for the fast food Moe's. The multiple location outlets are all locally owned and have grown from single family businesses. And each of the four families running the sit down restaurants offer different interpretations of classic Mexican cooking. There's TexMex, an Americanized version of Mexican. There's Central (Chihuaha), Eastern (Yucatan) and Western (Baja) Mexican. These families came from those regions of Mexico and understand their home cuisine very well.
Cabrera's
Garcia's
Mazatlan
Moe's
Peppers
Puerta Vallarta
El Rincon
Garcia's Grill bills itself as "a different kind of Mexican restaurant" with more grilled items and Western (Baja) cuisine rather than Central or Eastern Mexican items usually seen. There's Soup of the Day and Mexican Fondue ( sausage slices you dip in cheese and pepper sauce). Somebody at your table has to order Crab Cakes, made with chipotle and cilantro. Their Chili Rellenos, in addition to being stuffed with chicken and mozarello cheese, add a generous dose of pecans. Tacos receive diced pablano peppers. The Xaliciense Platter is unique. It contains sauteed shrimp, Mexican sausage, green peppers and red onions topped with cheese sauce. This Baja favorite reminds us very much of the classic Spanish Paea. Another unique item is their Grouper Salad (filet of Grouper blackened and served in a mix of greens, cheese, romaine, croutons and a homemade caesar dressing). A seafood section offers four Shrimp entrees, a Fish of the Day (usually Snapper) and Fish Tacos (Grouper, cabbage, pico de gallo, avocado and cheese sauce). There are the traditional Quesadillas, Enchiladas, Burritos and Chimichangas, but there's also a Pasta Poblano you haven't tasted anywhere else.
Moe's is fast food Mexican, but it's pretty good. They've paid attention to nutritional standards and allergens and designed a menu far healthier than most of their fast food rivals. They've got the expected mix of Burritos, Tacos, Quesadillas and Fajitas, with Salads and soft drinks on the side. Of their Burritos, they're most proud of their Home Wrecker, a $7 concoction of rice, beans, meat, shredded cheese, guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo, and lettuce. Our favorite Moe's Taco is the Fish Called Wanda, mixing fish, pico de gallo, coleslaw, cinaltro, lime and chipotle ranch dressing for $3.29. While it's not their most elaborate, we think their Instant Friend is their best Quesadilla, a blend of melted cheese, beans, pico de gallo, sour cream and sauteed veggies for $6. If you're a big Nachos fan, you should at least drop by and try their Billy Barou, a rather large mound of beans, melted cheese, pico de gallo, jalapenos, black olives, and either steak or chicken at $7. That's a bit steep for nachos, but these will keep you busy for a while, like all of The Big Game or your favorite movie. We think Moe's Signature Entree is their Fajitas, particularly their Fat Sam ($9). These include peppers, onions, lettuce, pico de gallo, cheese, guacamole, sour cream and either chicken or steak. They offer Soup or Chili as sides, but we don't think they're nearly as good as the core entrees.
El Mazatlan has five restaurants : Glasgow, Cave City, Munfordville, 31W North in Northgate, and this one on the 31W Bypass. The menu offers all the usual Mexican favorites with low prices, fast service, and festive interior. Their Slow Roasted Pork, Chili Colorado and Chili Relleno, a grilled plate of mixed meats they serve sizzling hot, and their Fajitas and steaks are all popular with locals, but we think what makes this a great stop is their extensive seafood page. The Coctel de Cameron is a spicy shrimp soup cooked with onions, tomatoes, avocados, cucumber and cilantro, with a slice of lime for good measure. Or try their Cuatro Marses Soup, a mix of shrimp, crab, scallops and Tilapia (or Snapper) in pico de gallo, avocado and lime. In honor of their Bowling Green location, El Mazatlan offers two Catfish dinners, plus 12 Shrimp dinners. They wrap it up with Carpa Dorado (deep fried Tilapia in tomatoes, onions, avocadoes and limes).
Puerta Vallerta has four restaurants, all in Bowling Green. This is VERY GOOD Mexican food, worthy of that available in much larger cities. The menu is extensive, offering traditional favorites plus some originals. Of the appetizers, we like the Guacamole Dip and Chili, but there are 18 to choose from. There are six different kinds of Fajitas ranging from shrimp to steak and they're all good. Vallarta's serves a basic T-bone Steak five different ways but we think the Mexicano (topped with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and the usual rice and beans) and Sergio Special (with baked potato and tossed salad) are the best. Their seven Burritos are all good, and there are 30 combination dinners which are tempting. But we think they make one mistake. We think Vallarta's does an excellent job with their Chili Rellenos. But they don't even list them as a featured item. They hide them in their AlaCarte list. You should definitely search for them on the menu and someone in your group should order them. Save room for dessert. Their Chimichango (fried cheesecake) is outstanding.
Pepper's is Bowling Green's best Tex Mex restaurant. They've closed their Northgate and other Campbell Road locations and merged operations into this one larger facility. Tex Mex is heavier on cheese, chili and cumin than traditional Mexican food and invented Fajitas, which are not native to Mexico. Of the Appetizers, we particularly like their "Real Guacamole" and Cheese Dips, although the restaurant's own chips and dip are also way above average. We are huge fans of Chile Rellenos and use them to evaluate Mexican kitchens since they're tricky to prepare well. Pepper's interprets them as Chiles Poblanos and after stuffing them with cheese coats them heavily in egg, which concentrates the flavor. Topped with a tomato sauce, these are outstanding. There are more vegetarian entrees on this menu than other Bowling Green Mexican restaurants offer. We think their Seafood Fajitas (which include shrimp, scallops and tilapia) are great. You can create your own combination dinner for $8 : one each of any three entrees from the whole menu. A Relleno, Enchilada and Chimichanga were well worth it. Pepper's offers one of the best Grilled Seafood menus we've seen : 12 entrees, although they're mostly shrimp fixed different ways.

Cabrera's is Bowling Green's newest Mexican restaurant. To compete with their established rivals, they offer a more extensive menu. There are ten kinds of Fajitas, six Steaks, and several unique items. The most interesting areAntenas (seasoned skewered beef), Tacos Supreme (two tacos stuffed with grilled steak), Sincronizades (corn tortillas filled with ham, chicken, steak or pork plus Mexican cheeses), and Fajitas Alex (grilled scallops, tomatoes, peppers and onions with rice, beans, sour cream, pico de gallo, guacamole and lettuce). Chiles Rellenos are here, in the lunch menu, but so are the larger Chiles Pablanos, featured at dinner. Seafood includes 12 items, but seven are shrimp. However, the Fajitas del Mar features grilled scallops, tilapia, shrimp, peppers, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo, rice and beans. If you like heat, try the Hot Shrimp (shrimp with green hot sauce). There are 14 Burritos, seven Chicken entrees, and a page of Specials. Soups are conspicuously absent. The full service bar offers wines, beers, and mixed drinks. All the traditional Mexican desserts are here, of which we prefer the Flan (Mexican custard). A child's menu caters to those 12 and under

El Rincon is the city's newest Mexican restaurant. It's on Chestnut Street across from Thai Thai. The five page menu includes all the usual Mexican favorites. There are seven Salads, six Fajita, eight Shrimp, four Chicken, nine Burrito, five Enchilada, and seven Quesadilla entrees. Specialties include the famous Molcajete Stew, a hot Lava Bowl containing beef skirt steak chunks, chicken strips, shrimp, onions and peppers. The lava bowl spreads the heat more evenly, and then retains the heat during the entire dinner. Rincon is only the fourth Kentucky restaurant to serve this authentic village entree. There are two creative items : El Rincon Pasta (chicken & smoked sausage in a creamy Creole sauce over fettucini pasta with a Mexican sauce), and El Rincon Caribbean Jerk Chicken (glazed jerk chicken skewers with Caribbean mango sauce served over rice). The Huevos Con Chorizo (an omelette with Mexican sausage) is a nice touch even though El Rincon is not open for breakfast.
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