For the nine decades since 1932, this stucco and tile Mexican restaurant has made its near-downtown location a place of beauty and charm, not only with its fare, well-crafted, authentic Tex-Mex and Mexican dishes, but with a spectacular garden shaded by a giant live oak and dark green palms. If there is one place you must take your out-of-town guests, this is it. Owned by Cappy Lawton and the Lawton Family of Restaurants since 1997, the menu retains a few tastes from the original owner’s plates and soups but has added new and contemporary borderlands and interior dishes. Ten different enchiladas, plus more at brunch, are the heartbeat here (Lawton has co-written a cookbook devoted to the dish), while seafood, shellfish, and steaks also make a good showing. Our favorite enchilada is the barbacoa, rolled tender corn tortillas with a beefy filling and a glaze of white cheese, plus signature Mexican red rice and creamy beans. From fresh ceviches to the sizzling Arrachera al Guajillo to the Old #7 Tex-Mex plate, there is something for everyone on the expansive menu. And, of course, excellent margaritas and cocktails. Reservations on weekends are recommended. There is ample free parking across the street and around the corner.
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La Fonda on Main
Enchiladas--green, red, meaty, cheesy, and more--plus Mexican specialties galore.