El Paisa Mexican Restaurant
Recently I was meeting with couple to show them their wedding photos, and they wanted to view them over dinner. We decided to choose a place we had never been before, and landed at El Paisa. Located in a small strip mall along Lincoln Way (Highway 95), El Paisa is a very unassuming restaurant. In fact, until my clients suggested it, I'd never even seen it even though I drive or walk past it nearly every day.
When you walk into this small restaurant, it is just as utilitarian as it is on the outside with a classic cafe layout, albeit decorated with garish colors and cheap Mexico-themed art. I was, however very impressed with its cleanliness. It was bright and comfortable inside.
Since I'd never been in before, I ordered a chimichanga with ground beef and pinto beans--my go-to choice when going to a Mexican restaurant for the first time. My clients ordered a burrito asada and enchiladas as well as two Jarritos sodas. Total price: under $20. Most of the menu items range in the $4-$6 range, making for a nice inexpensive meal.
There were two people working. Who I presume were the owner, Francisco Padilla, and his wife. They were very friendly and waited patiently while we looked over the menu before ordering. The food was prepared in plain sight and delivered to our table quickly. Unlike some restaurants I have been to where you could fill up on multiple baskets of tortilla chips before the meal, the three of us weren't even through our first basket when the food arrived--along with a fresh batch of chips.
I was a huge fan of the now-defunct Cafe Chulo, and feel that I'm a little hard to impress when it comes to this style of Mexican restaurant. I couldn't have been happier with the food! My chimi was served with just the right amount of crispness in the tortilla, and the portions were more than generous for the price. I understand that the owner makes both his green and red sauces from scratch, and that definitely came through! My clients were equally happy with their meals, which looked just as delicious as mine.
I have a feeling you could walk into this establishment blindfolded, point randomly at the menu, and still come away completely satisfied no matter where your finger landed.
El Paisa is a great little restaurant. It is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and after asking around, I've discovered that I know a few other people I know have tried it as well. One thing that has been recommended is to try their breakfast burritos. Unlike the tiny, soggy-and-crunchy-in-all-the-wrong-places breakfast burritos offered at fast food restaurants, I have it on good faith that the breakfast burritos at El Paisa are quite large, more than enough to be satisfying and just as delicious a their lunch/dinner fare.
Altogether for a quick, inexpensive and informal meal this is a great choice.
El Paisa is located at 1801 Lincoln Way between Davidson and Emma, across from Dirne Dental Center.
350 W. Appleway & Hwy 95
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