From the pineapple agua fresca to the piping-hot molcajetes and tangy, fresh-made salsas, El Mexicano's new owners have made it their mission to offer Atlantans the genuine article.We thought about keeping it a secret. Horchata, tomatillo salsa, micheladas and molcajetes: all hidden in an inconspicuous restaurant on a busy stretch of Moreland. Yup, El Mexicano is the kind of spot any intrepid hidden-gem hunter would want to hoard for him- or herself—but we're so enamored with this joint's real-deal Mexican grub, we can't help but spill the beans (refried or not). Fresh off a brand-new facelift, with new owners at the wheel and a completely revamped menu, this little blink-and-you'll-miss-it spot is covertly serving up some of the most authentic, delicious Mexican food we've been able to scrounge up on this side of town. And by "Mexican," we don't mean crunchy ground beef tacos slathered in nuclear-orange cheddar cheese. That would be Tex-Mex, and that is not how these folks roll. (In fact, you won't even find one shred of aforementioned orange cheese here—it's all Cotija white queso, the way it's actually done in Mexico.)
Chef Octavio Aguirre took the reins at El Mexicano just a couple months ago, and in the short time he's been running the show, he's done more shaking up than Patrick Swayze at the Double Deuce. After spending nearly his whole life in the kitchen, Chef Aguirre is passionately giving ATL a taste of his Jaliscan heritage, with a splash of SoCal inspiration to boot (which explains why this seemingly unassuming little joint serves molcajete bowls filled to the brim with things like spicy shrimp, whole fried tilapia and crab claws). From the pineapple agua fresca to the piping-hot molcajetes and tangy, fresh-made salsas, the folks behind El Mexicano have made it their mission to offer Atlantans the genuine article. And you know, we don't think we'll miss that yellow cheese one bit.
Carnitas Plate, $10.99
Chile Rellenos, $9.50
Enchiladas Trio, $9.95
Molcajete El Mexicano, $12.99
Molcajete de Mariscos, $16.99
Mixed Grill Fajitas, $13.99
Sunday - Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday & Saturday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.