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SALT LAKE CITY — There are plenty of historical and cultural reasons why Mexican food is such a hit in Utah, but it makes you wonder if the food served in Mexico is anything like what’s served here?
Here are three Mexican restaurants worth checking out:
As you step inside the restaurant opened in 1999, you get a strong feeling you’ve left the United States. Beginning with its decor, friendly service, music, and of course, the authentic food from the state of Jalisco, Western Mexico, it takes you on an adventure of savory Mexican flavor.
Some customers say that El Paisa Grill is the place for molcajete, a traditional dish served in a heated stone bowl of shrimp, meat, chicken, cheese and a wonderful characteristic jalapeño-based sauce. According to the restaurant's owner, the restaurant’s biggest asset is being able to capture the authenticity of his native land, rather than trying to conform to the American taste buds.
“That’s our distinction. Anyone can enjoy original Mexican food without ever leaving Utah,” owner Jose Orozco said.
Friday and Saturday nights, patrons can enjoy watching a mariachi performance along with lively and engaging singers. El Paisa Grill may not be the place for a quiet romantic dinner; instead, it’s a place for a joyous celebration of Mexican culture.
In May, the Orozco's will open another El Paisa Grill in Ogden.
Address: 2126 S. 3200 West, West Valley City
The Red Iguana restaurant first opened its doors in 1985 and has since won numerous local and national awards, according to its website. Its recipes and dishes are proudly served as delicious expressions of Mexican cuisine. Following its popularity, a second location was opened (Red Iguana 2) at 866 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City.
Address: 736 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City
Chile Amor opened its doors just two years ago with a strong desire to recover authentic Mexican cuisine as part of the owners' dream. They had previously opened another restaurant in Mexico, but had a yearning to bring that flavor back to Utah, where friends and family resided.
Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, the kitchen offers up a daily special, allowing customers to come back on different days to savor a new dish. The location is small and inviting, and the service makes you feel as if you’re paying a visit to our neighbors down south.
Address: 220 U.S. Highway 89, North Salt Lake