North Raleigh Food

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Mexican Archive



April 2015



Torero’s Mexican Restaurant

Written by , Posted in $ - Grab change from the couch cushions, $$ - Bring your debit card, Mexican

We were in the mood for Mexican food, so we headed over to Torero’s Mexican Restaurant, located in the Millbrook Collection Shopping Plaza, at 4721 Atlantic Ave, Suite 101, Raleigh, NC 27604.


The atmosphere at Torero’s can best be described as a fiesta for both your eyes and your stomach. Given the location and surroundings of the restaurant, you don’t expect much. However, when you step inside, you feel like you are stepping into a festive party. There is generous outdoor seating on a separate, enclosed patio.

The interior of the restaurant is colorful and decorated with black and white checkered tiles, bright, multi-colored walls, artwork, and Mexican-themed paper decorations hanging from the ceilings. There is a ton of natural light towards the front and center of the restaurant, while the back portion is windowless but well-lit. In the mood to catch the latest fútbol game? There is definitely no shortage of flat screen TVs here! Whether you’re sitting at the bar, or seated elsewhere in the restaurant, you’ve got the best seat in the house.

Below, we tried and reviewed three separate lunch specials at Torero’s. Lunch specials are available at this Raleigh location Monday through Fridays only, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Saturday/Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Fajita Quesadilla (Chicken) + Soft Drink

Chicken fajita quesadilla

Cost: $7.95 + $2.25

The Fajita Quesadilla consisted of a crispy flour tortilla filled with cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheese, pico de gallo, and your option of chicken and/or steak. The dish was served with a side of sour cream, guacamole, and a choice of refried beans or Rancho beans, and Mexican rice.

The presentation of the meal was very simple. I LOVED how they served it with separate, edible taco cups. One was filled with refried beans, and the other was filled with rice. It kept the overall meal neat. The pico de gallo tasted ok, but it the avocado could’ve been a little more fresh. The chicken was cooked well, and the overall flavor was decent. I just wish they had better flatware. The knife was so dull, and it made it difficult to eat my meal. 

Fajita Taco Salad

Taco salad

Cost: $7.95

The FajitaTaco Salad consisted of a giant flour tortilla shell filled to the brim with: grilled onions, bell peppers, your option of steak and/or chicken, rice, beans, salsa ranchera, lettuce, sour cream, and guacamole. Picture Elaine’s “Big Salad” from Seinfeld.

Three words: HUGE and CHEAP. Everything on their lunch menu was priced at a great value. Everything was very well thought out. Even the appetizer of chips and salsa was served with individual salsa for each person. The Taco Salad was great. It was served in a golden-brown shell, along with a healthy serving of chicken and guacamole. The flavor was great, and they didn’t skimp on anything – especially with it being so affordable!

Fajitas with Black Beans

Chicken fajitas with black beans

Cost: $7.95

The Fajitas consisted of a half serving of your choice of chicken and/or steak. The meat is then served sizzling hot over sautéed onions and green peppers. You have a choice in sides – either refried beans or Rancho (cholesterol-free) beans. Mexican rice and corn tortillas are served on the side, along with: lettuce, pico de gallo, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and guacamole.

This meal was a great value. The service was good and quick, and it makes for a good office lunch- especially if you need to get back quickly. You received a great amount of food for the price (great value). While the food tasted great, and the atmosphere was nice, the one gripe I had was that the guy up front was not really friendly. To his credit, however, he was fast and professional.

Overall, Torero’s was a great experience. You truly got a decent amount of food for the price that you wound up paying. Besides, where else can you snag a meal for three adults  for under $30?

Total: $28.12 (not including tip)



March 2015



Salt & Lime Cabo Grill

Written by , Posted in $$ - Bring your debit card, Mexican, Seafood, South American/Spanish

Our latest dining experience took us to Salt & Lime Cabo Grill, located at 6006 Falls of Neuse Road, Raleigh, NC 27609. The restaurant is tucked away in the corner of an otherwise nondescript shopping plaza. However, when you walk through the door, it’s another story.


Inside of Salt & Lime Cabo Grill in Raleigh, NC

The interior of Salt & Lime Cabo Grill takes its inspiration from the coastal California scene. It is open and airy, with a full bar to your left, a lofty, exposed ceiling, and generous seating elsewhere,  including a modest patio off of the back.

The atmosphere is clean and laid back. Beach-themed canvases neatly line one wall, while vases, fresh plants, pottery, and simple artwork are tastefully placed throughout.  The ceilings are tall and feature lights that most likely give the restaurant a dreamy, romantic feel at night (Just imagine yourself dining beachside at night).

Baja Cabo Rolls

Baja Cabo Rolls

Cost: $8.95

The Baja Cabo Rolls consisted of four lightly fried wontons, filled with barbecued chicken, roasted corn, poblano peppers, jack cheese, black beans, cilantro, avocado, and spicy ranch. The thing that made this appetizer especially delightful was the fact that, despite it being a “fried” appetizer, it lacked the fried taste/feel.

The Baja Rolls were great! I liked that they weren’t greasy. They were golden brown, well seasoned, and the ingredients tasted really fresh.

This is one appetizer that was really well thought out. It was definitely a sum of its parts. It tasted really good with the spicy ranch sauce. However, if it had been served separate (without the sauce), it would not have been as great.

I don’t like fried food, but this was surprisingly good – mostly because it wasn’t dripping in oil, and it didn’t have that gross, fried taste. However, the rolls sans sauce were really bland and lacked flavor. It was the spicy ranch that really brought this dish together and made it fabulous.

Fire-Roasted Chile Relleno

Chile Relleno

Cost: $10.95

The Chile Relleno conisted of: roasted poblano pepper, cheese, roasted veggies,  quinoa, roasted salsa, lime cream sauce, black bean adobo purée, queso fresco, and cilantro rice. Of the meal, our diner stated:

The Chile Relleno had a very good flavor and fresh ingredients. It was a vegetarian meal, but it was not lacking in substance. The smoky + fresh combination was awesome. The beans around the outside were almost velvety, and the overall presentation was very deliberate and well thought out.

Chile Braised Pork + Lemonade

Chile Braised Pork

Cost: $12.95 + $3.00

The Chile Braised Pork consisted of: braised pork shoulder, sautéed peppers, onions & tomatoes, adobo sauce, black bean & roasted corn succotash, cilantro rice, and neatly folded, warm tortillas on the side.

This dish was absolutely delicious. The combination of ingredients made it incredibly flavorful. If you order this, definitely bring your appetite, and/or a friend! The portion size was generous, and it was nearly impossible for me to finish. I loved how all of the ingredients had that fresh-made taste. The veggies were perfectly cooked with bits of corn and tomato bursting against the adobo sauce and cilantro. I’d definitely order this again.

Island Shrimp Tacos

Island Shrimp Tacos

Cost: $12.95

The Island Shrimp Tacos consisted of: two tortillas, jerk-spiced shrimp, napa-romaine slaw, jamaican sauce, caribbean salsa, lime cream sauce, and cilantro rice.

Simply put, Salt & Lime Cabo has great food. I feel like the menu was created by a real chef. The ingredients were all high quality. We enjoyed eating in a nice, clean atmosphere. From the moment we walked in the door, the service was great and seamless. The shrimp tacos were AMAZING. The pairing of sauce on the tacos + the pineapple in the taco was amazing.

Molten Chocolate Cake

Molten Chocolate Cake

Cost: $6.95

The Molten Chocolate Cake consisted of: blackberry sauce, and aztec chocolate ice cream.

I loved it. This dessert is definitely not for the faint of heart. It has a very different flavor because of the spices in the ice cream, but if someone was feeling the need to branch out, it’s a great choice.

Aztec chocolate is known to be slightly spicy and rich. This, combined with the warm chocolate cake, raspberry sauce, and whipped cream resulted in a flavor that I can only explain as indescribably delicious. It’s one of those desserts that you try to eat as slowly as possible because you try to savor every single bite. It was THAT good.

Overall, Salt & Lime Cabo Grill was a huge hit. This is a great lunch spot for business associates, friends, lovers, or families with slightly older children. We’d love to go back and see what the atmosphere is like in the evening. The food, service, and decor were all on point. We’d highly recommend this as one of the best, well-kept secrets in Raleigh, NC. The food was absolutely incredible. If you’re looking for flavor, you’ll find it here in more ways than one.

Total (for 3 adults): $60.07*

*does not include tip



May 2014



Las Margaritas Mexican Restaurant

Written by , Posted in $$ - Bring your debit card, Mexican

Las Margaritas MenuLooking for a great restaurant to accommodate large groups or families with children? Las Margaritas Mexican Restaurant is it. This restaurant lacks the “Wow!” factor, but still delivers on service and decent food.

First Impressions

Las Margaritas is located within a shopping center plaza. While there is ample parking, the parking lot can be extremely busy during the lunch rush hour.

Walking in the restaurant, there is definitely an older, almost outdated feel. This is accompanied by a faint, musty smell, which I assume came from the carpeting.

It’s surprisingly open, and there is plenty of room to accommodate large group reservations. It is also extremely family-friendly, so feel free to bring the kids. There is covered outdoor seating on the patio, adjacent to the front of the restaurant.

When we were led to our booth, the first thing I noticed was how outdated the decor was. The booth seats were completely shredded, and I hesitated to sit down on the seat. The lighting was also a bit dingy and unflattering. Despite the aesthetic disappointments, the table and silverware were clean, the plates and glasses simple, and the waitstaff extremely friendly.


Dish #1 – Chicken Fajitas

Las Margaritas is always fantastic. It’s a humble atmosphere – definitely not fancy. The service was great, and the portions are good. The tortillas came out to the table nice and hot/steamed. The chicken and vegetables were great, as were the sour cream and guacamole. The margaritas were fantastic.

Chicken fajitas

Dish #2 – Chicken Fajita Quesadillas

I’ve had chicken fajita quesadillas all over North Carolina. While Las Margaritas did an ok job with these, they weren’t the best I’ve ever had. The presentation lost points with me. The tomato wasn’t that fresh, and the guacamole tasted a bit soup-y. The chips and sals that were brought to the table prior to our meal were so-so. The salsa was too runny, and it lacked flavor. Chips were not hot or warm, leading me to assume that they are not made fresh on premises.

The best thing about Las Margaritas, however, was their classic margaritas. We ordered two classic margaritas on the rocks with Cuervo & salt. DELICIOUS. The margaritas were perfectly blended, and the flavor was on point.

Chicken fajita quesadillas


The service was great – no complaints there. The wait staff was friendly and attentive without being overbearing. We were asked if we wanted to see a dessert menu at the conclusion of our meal. This was nice because, sometimes restaurants automatically bring you a check without so much as pausing to ask whether you’d like to see a dessert menu or see if you’d like anything else.

Places where this restaurant lost points were on: presentation of food and decor. However, for the price that you pay as well as the location, this is something to be overlooked. In the future, I would certainly go back – but only for the margaritas. The margaritas are definitely something to behold here.

Margaritas con Cuervo



March 2012



On The Border

Written by , Posted in $$ - Bring your debit card, $$$ - Better budget a little for this, Mexican

We were out and about the other day near Triangle Town Center and decided to try out On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina. I’ve eaten here before, but that was 10 years ago in Colorado. Today I was hoping their salsa was as fresh and amazing as I remembered it to be.

I had a 13 year old hanging out with me so we decided to order some queso dip and split a quesadilla.

We were greeted when we arrived and were seated pretty quickly. Unfortunately it was about 5 minutes before our server finally came and greeted us with our chips, salsa and silverware. I ordered a water and my young pal ordered a sprite. Another 5 minutes and we had our drinks and we were able to make our order.

The salsa was too spicy for either of us to eat; it was pretty heavy on the little seeds from jalapenos which adds heat. It was a little too much for us to eat which was a bummer. We asked for queso dip (there’s two kinds apparently: white or yellow) and we went with white after our server told us it was less spicy than the yellow version. It looked yellow when it came out so we’re not sure what the difference is.

The chips were great and the queso dip was good. A little kick to it with chunks of tomato, onion and peppers.

There’s quite a bit to choose from at On The Border, but we’d already decided we wanted a chicken quesadilla. I did ask them to hold the peppers on the quesadilla since they tend to be a bit spicy. This quesadilla is listed under the appetizers.

The quesadilla was pretty large with a good amount of chicken on it with cheese and onion. It is served with a scoop of pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream on shredded lettuce. We needed a second serving of sour cream.

Our meal was about $19 which made me thankful we didn’t each order an entree and that I’d skipped a soda. The cost of one soda was about $2.50 which is pretty ridiculous in my opinion for one cup of soda.

We didn’t have stellar service here and the food is good but nothing too spectacular. We prefer the more authentic Mexican food found at non-chain restaurants.



December 2011



Las Margaritas (Six Forks)

Written by , Posted in $$ - Bring your debit card, Mexican

Mmmmmexican is one of our favorite fares for meal time! Las Margaritas, on Six Forks at Celebration Station, is by far our favorite Mexican restaurant in the Raleigh area. We’re regulars there and it’s nice to see the low turnover with their wait staff. They’re always pleasant, friendly and at times funny.

I always get my standby chicken quesadillas (hold the frijoles please), and they’ve never disappointed me. I get two quesadillas with toppings (they don’t give you a side of rice though). The cream burritos are pretty decent as well, with a red sauce topping and sour cream, although the red sauce is a little too close to a spaghetti flavor than a ‘Spanish’ flavor.

Their chimichangas aren’t bad either, but for a better flavor we like to hold the red sauce. We wish they’d make this option fried instead of baked.

For adult beverages, the prices are fair and comparable to other places. One thing you won’t find is a watered down or weak second or third margarita, so be careful if you order a few.

Las Margaritas also has our favorite salsa in the area – it’s just right. Their queso dip is also fantastico.