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Nopalito Restaurant

310 S. Mesquite St.
Las Cruces, NM
(575) 524-0003

Nopalito is one of the classic Las Cruces restaurants that have been around for as long as I can remember. The thing that always sticks in my mind is the Salsa made out of green chile chunks and warmed rather than cooled or served at room temperature, as is done with the typical salsa. It is like chile con queso but without the cheese. It may not be the spiciest salsa or my favorite, but it is certainly memorable.

Another unusual feature of Nopalito is that while other restaurants seem to have raised their prices over the years, some almost to Santa Fe levels, Nopalito is still a great bargain. Portions are the same as other places, and the quality is good, but it is just cheaper than most places.

The menu here lists "Specials of the House" including chiles rellenos and gorditas, but these are not the items I find to be the best. The Chiles Rellenos are made with Hatch chiles, and are topped with the same green chile used on the green enchiladas (both are excellent). It is the egg batter, though, that I don't like very much. I still recommend it, but if you have a chance you should go to Chope's in La Mesa for the best rellenos in the valley.

The Gorditas have a crust that I don't think is very exciting, and I get even less excited about the ground beef. Again I think some places in El Paso have better ones.

Red Enchiladas are excellent, but there are better ones at other restaurants. The Green Enchiladas are better than most places in the city, but not as good as at Chope's.

The rice is also one of my favorites, although it might be a little heavy on the garlic.

I think Nopalito has good food, it is just that there are other places in the area that are spicier, have better chile flavor, and are more representative of New Mexican style food.

Vegetable oil is used for cooking except in the refried beans (they have lard); even so the beans are very good.



Cuisine: Mexican New Mexican
Cost: $
Hours: Closed Wed.
Additional Location: 2605 Missouri Ave.
Cooking Oil: Vegetable
Smoking: No Smoking

Chile Index:

Most Recent Visit
Apr. 30, 2005

Number of Visits: 10+

Best Items
Red Enchiladas, Green Enchiladas, Salsa

Special Ratings
Red Enchiladas:
Green Enchiladas:
Chiles Rellenos: