I’ve become something of a Mexican food snob. I definitely have my favorite restaurants, and favorite foods at those restaurants. My ultimate first choice was the old Chuy Arzola’s in Dogtown in St. Louis–I loved everything I ever tried there, and I had some major guacamole salad cravings thanks to them when I was pregnant with Turkey. To be fair, we haven’t tried out their new location, but in the absence of my original favorite Mexican restaurant in the area, I have a new preference, and we had the chance to eat there last month–El Maguey.
El Maguey is something of a chain here in St. Louis, although we haven’t quite figured out how they’re all related. The menus are similar at all the locations we’ve been to, (at least three of them), if not the same, and the decor is also similar. But we do have a favorite El Maguey, (located on Manchester Road in Ballwin), both because of the ambience, which even for an El Maguey is especially colorful and festively decorated, and because kids eat free there on Tuesdays.
The food is excellent. My personal favorite is the chimichanga; Ryan really likes the burritos. I’ve also had the tamales and the taquitos–also delicious. And the guacamole, which is always my standard for judging a Mexican restaurant, has just the right amount of spice–some places really overdo it, and some are too bland, but El Maguey has a great recipe.
One of my favorite things about the decor is that even though it’s a Mexican place, there are several nods to St. Louis in the design.
One of the children’s favorite things about going to this particular El Maguey, (they’re not choosy about location based on food–as long as there are chips and salsa, they’re good!), is the fountain out front. They love watching it, and always want to throw coins in it.
It’s kind of a drive to get to any El Maguey location, so we don’t get there often. Usually, we end up eating at my next favorite, (and much more local), restaurant, Margaritas. But it’s always a treat to have a chance to eat dinner, (or lunch), at El Maguey!