Masters of Mexican (part 2)
Apr 28, 2016 11:34AM
● By Dia
Mi Dia From Scratch 1295 S. Main St., Grapevine
BEST VARIETY BEST ATMOSPHERE
Whether you’re contemplating the Queso Fundido or the Quesadillas Tex-Mex to start with, Mi Dia From Scratch is all about choice. More than a quarter of readers (27 percent) ranked the Grapevine hot spot as having the best menu variety, followed by Anamia’s Tex-Mex and Chuy’s
Mexican Restaurant. Our readers know a good thing when they see it; this upscale cantina is also Zagat-rated as one of Dallas’ Best Mexican Restaurants and also one of Dallas’ Best Outdoor Mexican Spots.
It’s not a wonder why. The food is as creative and authentic as it is good. “Our menu is aimed at showcasing the evolution of Mexican cuisine through its many historical influences,” says Gabriel DeLeon, chef and managing partner, “while incorporating the flavors of New Mexico in a way that has not been successful in this market before.”
DeLeon takes the “From Scratch” part of the name seriously. Almost everything is made in-house. The menu mixes Mexican dishes like Relleno Al Carbon and Pollo Agave with modern Santa Fe and Tex-Mex flavors such as New Mexican Guiso and Chimichangas. But of all the wide-ranging options, DeLeon says the Sea Bass Tacos are the most popular. Tender fish is grilled over pecan wood, tucked in a house-made flour tortilla, and topped with pickled cabbage, micro cilantro and a kicky chipotle remo ulade sauce.
When you need something to wash it all down, Mi Dia’s expertly crafted margaritas are not to be missed. Each one is made with hand-squeezed juices and 100-percent agave tequilas picked from the restaurant’s awe-inspiring tequila tower. Regulars particularly love Hell Freezes Over, a mouthwatering combination of freshly muddled cucumber, basil and lime topped off with New Mexico green hatch-infused Herradura silver tequila. DeLeon jokes, “Mambo who?”
It’s not just a massive menu that sets Mi Dia From Scratch apart; it’s also a beautiful environment. Nearly half (42 percent) of Southlake Style readers say the restaurant has the best atmosphere, followed by Chuy’s Mexican Restaurant and Mi Cocina. This isn’t a place to hunch over a bowl of tortilla chips unnoticed; this is a see-and-be-seen restaurant with an ambience that’s just as enticing as the menu.
Whether you shimmy into a comfortable upholstered booth inside or opt for a spot on the patio (which is equipped with an outdoor bar and fire pit), you won’t be disappointed. Mi Dia From Scratch has it all: fire, water, music, and, of course, fantastic Mexican cuisine. There’s a great energy here that just begs guests to stay a little longer and savor the food and the experience.
Anamia’s Tex-Mex 2980 E. Southlake Blvd.
BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANT OVERALL
With so many excellent choices in the area, we wondered who would stand out as the best Mexican restaurant overall. The top tamale? Anamia’s Tex-Mex with nearly a quarter of the vote. Chuy’s and Mi Dia From Scratch came in second and third place, respectively, as the local favorites.
Community members adore Anamia’s, and the restaurant adores them right back. “I love seeing my guests enjoy their time with us, and seeing them leave happy and satisfied,” says Owner Jay Ortiz. “It’s what makes me go to w ork every day.”
Serving guests with the highest quality food and the best possible experience has been a passion for Ortiz since he opened the first Anamia’s with his wife, Anna, in Coppell in 1994. What started as a small, hole-in-the-wall restaurant in a nearby town has expanded into a flourishing business with four locations around the Metroplex and more than 250 employees (many who have been around since the original opening).
“Anamia’s is not a chain or franchise,” Ortiz says. “We are family owned and operated, and we believe in treating guests like family.”
This family focus is even reflected in the menu—many items, like Jerry’s Chicken or the Gabriella plate, are named after family members, employees and longtime friends of the restaurant. Dishes range from Tex-Mex classics such as enchiladas and tacos to specialty surprises like Fajitas Picante, a sizzling plate of chicken or beef fajitas topped with crispy, fried onion strips, rice and guac.
As for the environment, Anamia’s is warm and inviting, from the friendly service to the restaurant décor. “We bring a comfortable but family-friendly vibe with the help of our designer and long-time friend, Andra at Keaton Designs,” says Oritz.
So will there be additional locations popping up in North Texas? You can bet your brisket tacos. “We’ve had wonderful success and growth,” says Ortiz. “We will be expanding, but first we are recognizing our infrastructure so that our growth will go smoothly.”
More locations just means more opportunities to enjoy the restaurant’s show-stopping guacamole. Nearly 40 percent of Southlake Style readers proclaimed Anamia’s has the area’s best guac, followed by Mi Dia From Scratch and Mi Chula’s. The guacamole is so outstanding that it’s nearly impossible to avoid devouring it along with an entire basket of tortilla chips.
The beloved dip (which is also pictured on Anamia’s gift cards) is a hand-mashed fiesta of large Haas avocados, tomatoes, onions, cilantro and the restaurant’s secret mix of spices. (When you have guac this good, you have to keep certain things under wra ps.)
It’s made tableside in a molcajete bowl, the traditional Mexican version of a mortar and pestle. “It’s about the show and it being prepared to [the guests’] order: mild, medium or spicy,” says Ortiz. “Our guests love that.”
Guests love the guac and a lot more at Anamia’s. Now that it’s declared as the best Mexican restaurant in our part of town, be prepared to wait for a table. Better go early—we sure are.
Readers’ Choice 2016: the Rankings
Here’s how the votes for best Mexican restaurant stacked up, according to Southlake Style readers.
Anamia’s Tex-Mex 24%
Chuy’s Mexican Restaurant 19%
Mi Dia From Scratch 18%
Mi Chula’s Good Mexican 15%
Mi Cocina 11%
Cristina’s Fine Mexican 7%
Torchy’s Tacos 3%
3% didn’t choose an overall favorite