Driving past , you might not even notice the restaurant.
Even if you did, you might think, “another Mexican food place tucked into another small strip mall.” And you’d be right. But it’s a good Mexican food place.
So swore a few readers when they suggested Patch stop by and check it out. We went for a late lunch and were just about the only people there—not generally a good sign, but it was a little after 2 p.m. (We’ve since been back during normal meal times and found the restaurant quite busy.)
Here’s what we found:
Overview: La Fiesta serves authentic Mexican food at low prices. It’s probably not a first date kind of place—it’s not exactly candlelight dining. You order at a counter and then sit in the dining room at your choice of tables and eat chips until your food is brought out. But it’s a good standby by when you’re on the college side of town (the restaurant is located near the intersection of Princeton Avenue and Campus Park Drive). Plus, there’s just something appealing about a restaurant that doesn't pretend to be more than a great place to eat good food.
Decor: Think along the lines of the bright colors of Tijuana, Rosarito and Ensenada. The walls are bright salmon, the tables, except for the tiled ones, are green formica. Booths are a bright blue.
The Drinks: Along with standard Pepsi brand fountain sodas ($1.50), there are various flavors of Jarritas brand soda ($1.89), horchata ($1.75), jamaica drink ($1.79), orange juice, milk, coffee and Mexican Coca Cola ($2.25). The menu also lists American and imported beer and wine and lemon and strawberry wine margaritas.
Appetizers: Chips and salsa come with your meal if you dine in, but they’re also available for purchase as an appetizer. You can also get chips and guacamole and nachos with or without meat. On the weekends only, menudo ($5.99), pozole ($5.99) and birria de chivo, a sort of goat stew ($7.99), are available.
Entrees: If it’s Mexican food, it’s probably on the lengthy menu, which starts with things like huevos con chorizo, rice and beans ($5.99) and chilaquiles with two eggs ($5.99) for breakfast. Burritos, rellenos, enchiladas, tamales, tortas, quesadillas, sopes and tacos of all sorts are offered a la carte or in combinations with beans and rice that run from about $5 to $10. As well, in its “take home party” section of the menu, various items, including carnitas and chile verde and colorado are available by the pound and pint.
Sides: Sides of rice ($1.25), beans ($1.25) and guacamole ($2.99) are available.
Desserts: There are no desserts listed on the menu.
Service: Generally, you’ll find owner Moises Duenas behind the counter, offering friendly service and chat. There was no wait time for a table on any of our three visit and the food came out fairly quickly; however, if it’s not fast enough, there are chips to snack on right away as well as a small salsa bar at the back of the restaurant.
La Fiesta Mexican Grill
Address: 14711 Princeton Ave.