CHECK OTHER REVIEWS FOR THIS PLACE:
El Mexicano: A Trip to Mexico and Back - Simply Awesome!
El Mexicano: Up in Faraya is Where Enjoyment is!
I'm back, back to Faraya to enjoy the real flavors of Mexico. Been here, done that and still can't forget the tasty food I enjoyed, prepared by Fernando and his lovely wife Edith. El Mexicano is your Mexican restaurant up on the Faraya roundabout.
Nestled up the mountains, I believe this restaurant is worth visiting. The food isn't like the Tex-Mex we call Mexican, but is full of the real flavors of Fernando's home town. Come here for real flavors of South America. Quesadillas, enchiladas, tacos and mouthwatering desserts.
As we sat, buckets of chips landed on the table served with homemade guacamole and tomato dips. Homemade crunchy chips with a boost of salt, crunchy and addictive bites enjoyed with this purée-like homemade guacamole that's smooth and strongly lemony. Diced tomatoes add a boost of color. I loved its consistency and taste combined. The hardest part is to force yourself to stop devouring the whole portion so you can enjoy the main course.
- The House Salad: A generous portion of avocado, cherry tomatoes, strips of crunchy tortillas, fresh greens, iceberg lettuce, oregano and radish. The salad comes with its signature cilantro sauce, which contains garlic, so I preferred to have it with lemon and olive oil which didn't change the experience. Tender avocados, crunchy chips, fresh lettuce, a nice start.
- Queso Fondido: A recommended order that's not to be missed. It's surely not for the faint hearted or the persons in a diet due to its rich content of yellow cheese and fat. A melting mix of cheese topped with a decorative portion of caramelized grilled onions. Mixed with chorizo, the cheese is richly flavored and aromatized by pieces of diced meat. Lightly spicy, the plate is to die for. Dig in your fork, spread the cheese on the soft tacos, roll it in a sandwich and enjoy.
- Arrachera con Camarones: Edith tells me that Fajitas don't exist in Mexico and that a Fajita is a piece of meat and not the sandwiches made famous by Tex-Mex cuisine. Their plate is the original version of what we know as fajitas. A watery red sauce in which float green peppers, diced cubes of meat and shrimp. On top are cubes of white cheese to add a touch of decoration and flavor as well. This is supposed to be eaten like a sandwich or simply with a fork, like I did. Flavorful and innovative, the tender meat, the well-cooked shrimp, the crunchy green peppers, the sour and lemony sauce, the spicy aftertaste... Two thumbs up.
- Pork Wrap: I love it to the extent that I think it's one of the finest sandwiches or wraps to have in Lebanon. The same dough they use for all their sandwiches filled with shredded pork meat, crunchy chips, lettuce and mustard. A hint of spiciness and surely lots of love. That's a yummy roll! A tender thin wrap, non chewy but well combined filled with a fine pork that's so tender alongside lettuce, thinly sliced tomatoes, radish and a homemade sauce that makes all the difference. Spicy, extremely spicy but not the way we know it. A spiciness that erupts in the middle of the experience before fading out in seconds before even swallowing; that's the jalapeños and mustard sauce.
- Chicken Enchilada: Last time I tried the fish enchilada, this beautiful yellow sauce in which bath two fish wraps. Today's plate was orange, as beautiful as the yellow one. A beautiful looking orange plate with two wraps bathing in sauce in the middle of the plate and each filled with tender chunks of chicken with white cheese. The bread is lightly crunchy. This sauce is made of roasted peppers.
- Meat Quesadillas: Amazing as is, without any sauce or sour cream. Four quarters of quesadillas filled with thinly cut meat. A super thin and crunchy quesadilla filled with green peppers and a tender meat embraced by the melted cheese. What makes it special is its flavorful spices and the grilled onions, which add a touch of sweetness. That's my favorite of the day.
Meeting the Mexicano team in Beirut every Thursday at Souk el Akel, I'm having the chance to remind myself of their awesome margaritas and great sandwiches. You surely can discover their creations form in Beirut but taking the road up to Faraya is surely a must. If you know what Mexican food is all about, think again and visit El Mexicano Faraya.