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Avila's Mexican Food No. 2

6232 N. Mesa St.
El Paso, TX
(915) 584-3621

Avila's Restaurant on North Mesa St.

I will have to be honest in saying that Avila's has not usually been my favorite place to go for El Paso style Mexican food, and has been somewhat inconsistent. A sign in front declared it as "One of the Top 50 Mexican Restaurants in the U.S.," but I have mainly thought the accolade applied to the Montana Avenue location which closed in Spring 2007, and was my clear favorite out of the two restaurants.

Avila's has never had the spiciest food in the city nor the boldest flavors that I associate with El Paso style Mexican food, but there has always been something I like about it enough to keep going back. While most of the dishes here are not my favorite version, most everything is better quality than I have found in a lot of restaurants. Like most Mexican restaurants, I think Avila's has some things that it does better than others.

Tri-colored enchiladas
Tri-colored enchiladas that represent the Mexican flag

The plate I have enjoyed the most is the Tri-Colored Enchilada Plate consisting of red, green, and sour cream enchiladas (the colors of the Mexican flag) with rice and beans on the side. Both the red and green chile are better than average, and this plate serves as a good initiation into El Paso Mexican food, with a variety of flavors being offered (also this is a meatless dish, with vegetable oil used in the cooking process). The sour cream is refreshing, and it seems to bring out the flavors of the red and green chile in a way that is not experienced by ordering either red or green enchiladas by themselves. The sour cream enchilada actually has green chile, thus the plate comes with two green enchiladas and one red, but the sour cream spills over onto a portion of the red enchilada for a mix of flavors.

For enchiladas without sour cream I prefer the Red Enchiladas that are not as spicy as I would normally prefer, but I am not always ready for something blazing hot as it is served in some restaurants.

Green Enchiladas are puréed and are so mild that I frankly prefer them on the Tri-Colored Plate with sour cream (they do have a good flavor once the sour cream is added). Both types of enchiladas come with onions, and I have learned over the years to ask for them to be omitted (the ones used at Avila's are quite strong).

Rice and beans are served with most meals, and are usually fairly good. The Refried Beans are the only dish at the restaurant made with lard, and I prefer the Whole Beans that will be substituted on request.

I have heard good reports about the Mexican Chicken Salad, but I have not tried it.

The Chicken Mole has very little flavor, but at least it is enjoyable. One tip if you are looking for mole: Carnitas Queretaro is only a couple of blocks away.

Chiles Rellenos are a big disappointment, but I do not know any place close to Avila's that is any better.

Sopaipillas come with every meal
Sopaipillas come with every meal

The Sopaipillas (plain or with cinammon) are probably the main draw for this restaurant. While it is the custom of many New Mexico restaurants to serve sopaipillas with the meal to act as a neutralizer to the hot chile, the red and green chiles served at Avila's are milder than would be commonly experienced farther north. Thus it is probably best that Avila's provide sopaipillas for dessert-- I think they are some of the most enjoyable in the city.

While the food at Avila's, cooked in vegetable oil, is more "healthy" than at a lot of El Paso restaurants, I often times think it could use some more flavor. At Avila's, though, I usually get enjoyment out of ordering a variety of items, such as are served on the Tri-Color Enchilada Plate (a combination dinner is also good).

Avila's does not serve agua fresca drinks or other items that are more characteristic of south of the border restaurants. This restaurant is strictly El Paso style Mexican food, and is one of the more popular places in town for it to be experienced.



Cuisine: Mexican El Paso
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Cooking Oil: Vegetable
Smoking: No Smoking
Special Features: Free Sopaipillas

Chile Index:

Most Recent Visit
May 10, 2007

Number of Visits: 10+

Best Items
Red Enchiladas, Tri-Color Enchilada Plate, Tortilla Soup, Salsa

Special Ratings
Red Enchiladas:
Green Enchiladas:
Chiles Rellenos:
Chicken Mole:
Chile con Queso: