During a busy workweek, it’s imperative to get out of the office for an hour or so to grab a bite to eat. This week, I lunched with my favorite work friend, Evie. We ran down the block to El Azteca, a mexican restaurant in midtown Atlanta. Although mexican food gets a bad wrap in Atlanta, the gnarly grub at El Azteca is consistently cheesy, fatty, and filling. It’s by no means great food (and many will argue it’s not even good food), but you do always get free chips and salsa.
The [free] chips and salsa come to the table right away. Hot from fryer and sprinkled with some salt, “it’s good” (says Evie). Personally, I like the non-chunky salsa for the nice amount of heat and the dressing-like consistency. The chips are a cunning distraction from the gaudy decor and the image-filled, Americanized menu.
the drinks are huge and refilled constantly
Evie got the lunch special: a chicken chimichanga with a guacamole salad (ensalada) and a side of [mexican] rice. (what makes it mexican rice, I have yet to find out.)
I'm the special one today!
The deep fried burrito was satisfying to Evie. Here is her review – “The pico de gallo was fresh, however the sour cream became warm and melty from the hot plate. Oh, and you can see the surplus of sour cream they give out in my empty plate picture below.” (Thanks Evie!)
job well done
In preparation for Thanksgiving weekend, I tried to stay healthy (which is quite a feat at El Azteca):
Other than the not-very-red-or-ripe tomatoes, the salad was pretty great. The lettuce was crisp, the avocado both firm and creamy, and the shrimp was seasoned well and sauteed to a T.
salsa was my dressing (you can see the extra drippings)
As far as El Azteca goes, it’s all about expectations. I had the lowest of the low expectations, and thus, I was pleasantly surprised.
My advice — come here for a quick mid-week meal with an empty stomach and your lowest expectations. Or, don’t eat the Mexican food and create your own salad.
Update: I was just told by a different work friend (Lauren) that her chicken tacos tasted like Campbell’s chicken noodle soup = FAIL. Quote, “it was even liquid-y and gross”
1784 Peachtree Street
Atlanta, Georgia 30309