Thursday, July 30, 2009

Iowa City Mexican Restaurant Review

Iowa City is great if you want Asian food, vegetarian meals, or pizza. Its selection of Mexican restaurants, on the other hand, while plentiful, are not worth either the time or money, in my humble (yet educated) opinion.

However, Katie and I are pleased to add another restaurant to our list of approved Mexican restaurants in Johnson county. "EL CACTUS" recently opened in Coralville. It's located at 104 1st Ave. Despite it's rather unfortunate gringo name, the food was as authentic as anything either of us has ever had. Katie thought the beans and rice were especially good. Even though it wasn't listed on the menu, they had horchata for me when I asked for it (with free refills!) Abigail even enjoyed the food (not that she's very discriminating at this point in her early eating career...)

So we highly recommend to all our Iowa friends to make it a priority to visit El Cactus in Coralville if you're hankering for some carne asada or chimichangas.

Finally, our list of Approved Mexican Restaurants in Johnson County, compiled over the last three years, now includes the following, ranked according to awesome-ness:

  1. EL PATIO - West Liberty (they take only cash - no check or credit, but it's worth the inconvenience. Doesn't hurt to speak Spanish, either.)
  2. PLAZA JALISCO - North Liberty (lots of seafood dishes)
  3. EL CACTUS - Coralville (see description above)
  4. LA REYNA - Iowa City (south of HW6) - they have an authentic restaurant attached.
  5. IGUANA'S GRILL in North Liberty / CAFE IGUANAS in Hills. I'm not really sure if they're separate restaurants or not. Either way, they're both good.


nathan n rachel said...

I agree about the mexican food in Iowa. Slim pickins.

L.Maughan said...

We had problems finding good Mexican in Iowa too. Every time we went home we got our El Torro, and Cafe Sabor fix.
Here in Hawaii it is even worse. We were so excited when we got a gift card for the only Mexican place in town. What a let down. taco bell could have out shined it.
Guess we will have to stick to sushi for date nights!

Dave and Tricia Folsom Family Fun said...

We became addicted to Plaza Jalisco since it was right across the street from our place. We were bummed when their prices jumped a couple of dollars though - still pretty good though for IC.

Rachel Kerr said...

we saw that "el cactus" and after skoffing at the name for awhile and were pretty skeptical. it doesn't LOOK fancy but, really, what restraunt is in Coralivlle? We'll give it a try!

Jared & Tristan said...

We'll definitely have to try some of those out the next time my parents come to town -my mom LOVES Mexican food. Thanks for the tips :)