Delicias Cafe–El Paso, TX

Delicias Café
865 N. Resler Dr.
El Paso, TX
(915) 231-9757
Delicias Cafe in El Paso

Delicias Cafe on North Resler

Restaurant Web Site: Delicias Cafe

The name Delicias not only refers to the “delights” that can be found on the menu, but also to Delicias, Chihuaha (pictures of which can be seen on the wall of the restaurant). I don’t really know of any special dishes that come from Delicias– this restaurant has the standard menu items found around El Paso. It is interesting, though, that they serve flour gorditas instead of the usual corn ones.

Delicias Café does not seem as if it is trying to win any “Best of the Border” awards for its Mexican food or to attract out of town tourists. Instead, it is a neighborhood restaurant with “comfort food” at cheap prices. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since one thing I like about Delicias is its ability to reproduce the same kind of experience that could be found by walking into any restaurant at random in Ciudad Juarez or other cities in the state of Chihuahua. One thing I have discovered about Chihuahua style restaurants is that enchiladas are usually the last thing I would want to order, being so different from El Paso and New Mexico style enchiladas they hardly seem like the same dish. Most other things, though, can be pretty good when prepared as they are south of the border.

My opinion about Delicias Café is that you have to order the right things to have a truly enjoyable experience. Much of the food seems greasy, and not very good. The few items that I think are particularly good, though, are about as good as any restaurant in El Paso. These, combined with the items I think are almost as good as other restaurants (caldo, chile verde, chile colorado, huevos rancheros, etc.), make Delicias a good neighborhood restaurant for times when I want a casual atmosphere.

Chicken Mole

Chicken mole

Chicken mole dinner

Probably the most impressive dish is the Chicken Mole Dinner. Some may be reluctant to try mole because it is made with chocolate, and this does not sound very much like typical Mexican food. I am fairly confident that many who feel this way have not tried some of the really good versions of the dish, and I agree that the inferior mole is not something I would want. Delicias makes one of the better versions, however, not only because of the sauce but also because of the chicken. Most mole dishes I have seen in El Paso have been the dark brown mole poblano style of the dish, so it is pretty easy to compare them in terms of which is the most flavorful. Carnitas Querétaro and Barrigas both have very good versions, with the one at Delicias Café being very comparable. I would not say that the dish at Delicias was better than the others, but I did like the shredded chicken that follows the traditional Mexican style (although I have also liked the ones at the other restaurants when they have served a chicken breast). The main advantage of Delicias Café is probably the more reasonable cost of the mole. It is hard to beat a deal like the one here.

Chicken Flautas
Chicken Flautas have also been one of the better items. These come with fresh guacamole and sour cream as well as white chicken meat. The chicken meat seemed to be better than average in quality. The liquefied guacamole was certainly not noteworthy by El Paso standards, and the shells were rather greasy, but they still tasted pretty good when everything came together along with the sour cream.

Chile Verde

Chile verde and flautas

Chile verde with a side order of flautas

Chile Verde was not nearly as spicy as the New Mexico versions, but it was a pretty typical Chihuahua style dish. Whole green chile chunks were mixed in with beef cubes and a mild sauce. While I thought it should have been spicier, the rich flavor went a long way to make up for it. The main disappointment with the dish was the gristly beef that was served. Those who have eaten more than their share of meals at budget restaurants in Mexico, though, as I have, will feel right at home with the type of meat that is served here.

Chile Colorado

Chile colorado

Chile colorado

Chile Colorado probably has better meat than the chile verde, but is made with pork. I enjoyed the flavor of the sauce, and I thought this was another good choice for a meal.

Other Items
The Enchilada dinner plates have been unremarkable. I am not sure whether I have tried the green enchiladas, but I was not very impressed with the red ones. I do not know how the newer Las Cruces branch of Delicias Café will compete against some of the best enchiladas found anywhere, but I think people in the City of the Crosses will be happy with some of the other things Delicias has to offer.

The Refried Beans are almost always very greasy. The Rice is a lot better except at those times when it seems to have been sitting around for too long.

Dinners come with a simple but good Salad, as is typical in El Paso Mexican restaurants. This one is much better than most, though, because of the dressing (it did not taste home made but it was very good).


Huevos rancheros

Huevos rancheros

Delicias Café does a good portion of its business at breakfast. The large assortment of breakfast burritos and tacos are popular (pancakes and omelettes are also available). Huevos Rancheros are excellent by just about any standard, although better ones can be found in El Paso. The egg yolks had the right consistency and the green chiles came in large flavorful chunks. The greasy hash browns and flavorless tortilla detracted from the breakfast plate, though.

Huevos Delicias

Huevos Delicias

Huevos Delicias are a specialty of the restaurant, and presumably a specialty of Delicias, Mexico. There are two eggs over a quesadilla, topped with tomatillo and serrano green sauce. I thought serving them over a quesadilla was a very nice touch, and in this respect I liked them more than the huevos rancheros. The sauce was equally good, although probably not any better than the sauce on the huevos rancheros. I am sure that all the sauces served are fresh, but it was very noticeable with this particular sauce.

Other breakfast items were not quite as good as the eggs. I was pretty disappointed with the Pancakes.

The Horchata was thin and not the best in El Paso.

Closing Comments
While the dinners at Delicias Café have not been quite as good as at other El Paso restaurants, the breakfasts can compete with most other restaurants in the same price range. I definitely think the crowds are bigger at breakfast than at any other time, but it is really fairly busy just about any time I go. The service is good and the restaurant is good, but I am more particular about what I order here than at most Mexican restaurants.

Delicias’ web site highlights the tacos, fajitas, and steak (among other items), and these are likely among the restaurant’s best dishes (but ones that I have not tried).


Cuisine: Mexican Chihuahua
Cost: $
Hours: 7 am to 8 pm Daily
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Additional Locations: Las Cruces, Albuquerque, Dallas
Special Features: Serves breakfast

Most Recent Visit: Sep. 2, 2010
Number of Visits: 10+
Best Items: Chicken Mole, Chicken Flautas, Huevos Delicias


Mexican Food Details

Chile Index: chile 4
Cooking Oil: N/A


Special Ratings
star 5 Chicken Mole
star 5 Chicken Flautas
star 4 Chile Verde
star 4 Chile Colorado
star 4 Caldo de Res
star 4 Huevos Rancheros
star 5 Huevos Delicias
star 2 Pancakes
star 4 Rice
star 3 Beans
star 3 Chips
star 4 Salsa
star 3 Horchata

Cafe Mayapan–El Paso, TX

Café Mayapán
2000 Texas Ave.
El Paso, TX
(915) 217-1126
Cafe Mayapan

Cafe Mayapan

Restaurant Web Site: Cafe Mayapan

Café Mayapán is more than just a restaurant, it is part of a nonprofit organization that provides job training and neighborhood revitalization as well as being part of a complex of businesses located in an old warehouse. The idea of Café Mayapán was to employ some of the displaced workers from the old factory where the restaurant is now located. Next door is a mercado selling arts and crafts, with several community organizations housed elsewhere in the building.

Café Mayapán knows it is in a tough neighborhood to serve dinner, and is only open on Monday through Saturday at the lunch period. I do not think many customers come to Café Mayapán strictly out of sympathy for the cause it represents, rather they are coming for some of the highest quality Mexican food in El Paso. I have to admire them for not serving the same type of food that can be found at numerous restaurants throughout the city. El Paso style food has its merits with hot chiles and robust flavors, but it is not the only type of Mexican food that exists. The style of food served in the interior of Mexico is quite hard to find on the borderland, but it is the theme of Café Mayapán. I cannot identify a specific state in Mexico as the source for the recipes used, instead I think they probably represent the varied background of the women involved in La Mujer Obrera whose backgrounds are from various places in Mexico.

Cafe Mayapan's dining room

Cafe Mayapan’s large dining room has a stage for performances

The interior is quite spacious and probably could accommodate many more tables than are available, but room has been left for a stage where mariachis perform on Fridays and other groups may occasionally provide entertainment. The restaurant uses traditional wooden furniture with comfortable pads to make it easy to spend a leisurely meal. A counter is available for takeout, but regular diners can order at the table. Service is fast, as I found out when I have had limited time for lunch.

All customers are given complimentary Chips that offer the first sign of the quality and home made flavor found at Café Mayapán. These are thick and about as non-greasy as you can find.

The Salsa was not memorable in terms of the local style made with New Mexico chiles. It was very good and fresh, though, being made with green chiles and a mix of spices commonly served in the interior of Mexico.

To me a sign of a good Mexican restaurant is that it serves good soup. At Café Mayapán the soups go beyond good, they are representative of the traditional soups found in central Mexico and are as much of an educational experience to borderland residents who are generally limited to caldo de res as they are taste treats. Several varieties are available and they make up a good part of the menu.

Caldo Tlalpeno

Caldo Tlalpeño

Soups are available in two sizes, with the smaller one meant to be an appetizer while waiting for the meal. I ordered the Caldo Tlalpeño that consisted of chicken, guacamole, vegetables, and a chipotle chile. There were no tortilla strips as in the typical tortilla soup, but otherwise this one was very similar. One of the notable features of it, though, was the fresh vegetables that were similar to the ones used in the border version of caldo de res, but the vegetables here were fresher and crisper, not tasting as if they had been cooked all morning. Caldo Tlalpeño is a dish from the Veracruz area, and because of migration patterns from Mexico usually finds its way to restaurants from Laredo north a lot more frequently than to El Paso and the western part of the United States. I have found chipotle chiles in other El Paso restaurants, but as far as I know Café Mayapán has the only caldo tlalpeño to be found in the area.

Sopa Azteca

Sopa Azteca

Sopa Azteca is made with tortilla chips and noodles, with the same spices included in the caldo tlalpeño. Missing are the vegetables, but it is good to have two versions of the same basic soup. The chipotle chile is definitely something not found in all El Paso versions of tortilla soup.

Caldo de fideo

Caldo de fideo

A soup that may be more familiar to borderland residents is Caldo de Fideo made with spaghetti-like noodles and a red colored broth. The one shown in the picture is a large bowl with several albondigas meatballs that have been a traditional border favorite, but are not served at a large number of restaurants because they seem to be hard to prepare correctly. To me it is hard to find any ground beef I really like but this was good. I am not sure if this dish represents cooking from the interior of Mexico or the border, but it shows that Café Mayapán has a little bit of everything.

Puebla Style Mole

Chicken breast in Puebla style mole

Pechuga de pollo en mole poblano

Pechuga de Pollo en Mole Poblano is a chicken breast served with a green mole poblano for one of the restaurant’s “lighter and healthier” dishes (other than the fact it has such a large piece of chicken it might be too much for lunch). This is the only green mole I have found in El Paso, but I believe Café Mayapán also offers the more familiar brown mole. I think this is a good dish with which to become initiated to Mexican mole. If it turns out the green mole is not your thing, there is enough chicken breast to make a good meal, and the mole can be scraped off. If you find the sauce as satisfying as I do, though, there is enough to cover every bite of chicken.


Agua de sandia

Freshly made watermelon drink

The restaurant serves several flavors of agua fresca drinks including Sandía, a drink made of watermelon juice with no pulp included. I think for the best example of these more unusual drinks I would suggest Flautas Tepalca in Canutillo, but the one I tried at Café Mayapán was very good. These drinks tend to be seasonal, with lemonade being something that can be made all year. To me it is not the flavor that matters as much as having a freshly made traditional drink to go along with an equally fresh and traditional meal.

The home made Tortillas were one of the best aspects of the meal and provided a flavor that cannot be found in pre-packaged tortillas.

Closing Comments
The real strength of Café Mayapán is the consistent quality as well as the menu that offers dishes not normally found in El Paso. The whole experience of having excellent soup, drink, chips, salsa, and tortillas confirmed to me that this is one of the best Mexican restaurants in El Paso. It is too bad the restaurant is only open for lunch (and closed Sunday), but I do think it is worthwhile trying to make it.

The food at Café Mayapán is not terribly spicy, being more representative of traditional Mexican food from the interior than the spicy chiles more common near the border. I am sure the food could be quite spicy if you order certain items.


Cuisine: Mexican Interior
Cost: $$
Hours: 11 am to 3 pm Mon-Fri (breakfast & lunch on Sat.)
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking

Most Recent Visit: May 28, 2008
Number of Visits: 2
Best Items: Caldo Tlalpeño, Pechuga, Sandía Drink


Mexican Food Details

Chile Index: chile 4
Cooking Oil: N/A


Special Ratings
star 5 Caldo Tlalpeño
star 5 Caldo de Fideo
star 5 Sopa Azteca
star 5 Pechuga de Pollo
star 5 Chips
star 5 Salsa
star 5 Sandia Drink

Carnitas Queretaro–El Paso, TX

Carnitas Querétaro
7410 Remcon Cir.
El Paso, TX
(915) 584-9906
The old location

The old location at 6516 N. Mesa

Carnitas Querétaro has multiple locations in El Paso, and each one is packed with extended families and groups of friends who come for “Mexican comfort food” that is filling and served as it would be found in a typical restaurant in Mexico. The emphasis at CQ is on meat– there are probably more types of Mexican meat dishes served here than at any other restaurant in El Paso, including lamb barbacoa, buche, and other specialties not usually found in the more Americanized Mexican restaurants.

Most of the meat items served are familiar to people, such as steaks, tacos, and burritos. It is definitely not necessary to “take a chance” on something new if you already have a favorite dish you would like to try.

The more adventurous dishes here have not been my favorites, but I suppose they may be to many people. The Lamb Barbacoa had a more “gamey” taste at Carnitas Querétaro than I remembered from eating it in Austin many years ago, but this may be the way it is supposed to be. I am probably not a very good judge of such things.

I think Carnitas Querétaro is better known for its specialties than some of the more generic Mexican food that is served at just about every restaurant. I would not say the cheese enchiladas, chiles rellenos, or combination plates are as good as the ones served at many other restaurants in El Paso. I would also pretty much forget about finding any exceptional vegetarian food here, since almost all the standout items I have tried have been meat items. The exception would be “Lent specials” served on Fridays before Easter.


Chicken mole

Chicken mole dinner with melon (canteloupe) drink

Chicken Mole was once considered a rather exotic dish in El Paso, but is now found in most restaurants. Few do it as well, though, as Carnitas Querétaro. The mole has a more subtle flavor than at other places, and I would judge it to be one of the premier representations of this dish in El Paso. Although some first time eaters are apprehensive about the dish because one of its base ingredients is chocolate, the mole at Carnitas Querétaro is made from such a rich mixture of flavors the chocolate is not as readily discernible as in other versions.

The Chicken Mole Dinner is served with grilled chicken breast meat, in CQ’s apparent attempt to serve a more upscale version of this entrée as is being done at Barrigas, Sombras del Pasado, and other restaurants. I wish they would stick with the more traditional shredded chicken that is served on occasion, although I cannot figure out any pattern as to when the shredded chicken is used as opposed to a chicken breast. To me the breast meat usually tastes dry, and the shredded chicken has a better flavor.Despite the variablility in the way the chicken mole dinner is made, it is always one of my top two or three favorite dishes at CQ (at least the variability indicates that each one is individually prepared by whatever chef is on duty at the time).

I think the mole dinner always goes better with a flour tortilla (they provide a corn tortilla unless you ask for the flour one). Certain drinks seem to go best as well, with my preference being the cantaloupe drink (melón).

The Mole Burrito is made with shredded chicken for the more traditional style of mole. The burrito is wrapped in the same flour tortilla that comes on the side with the dinner, and might be a preferred alternative to the larger dinner portion. It has all the flavors of the mole dinner, but in a different form.



Enmoladas are another form of a mole dinner, and are popular as a Lent meal (when no meat is eaten). “Enchiladas” are tortillas with chile and “Enmoladas” substitute mole for the chile as the topping. The menu offers either cheese or chicken inside, but personally I think if I want chicken the mole burritos are probably better. The enmoladas with cheese offer a good opportunity for a delicious non-meat meal (although some would argue the cheese does not really make this vegetarian).

Carnitas (pork) is the signature dish of this restaurant, with the recipe originating in Querétaro (the rest of the menu is Chihuahua style). I ordered some tortas with carnitas meat and found it to be somewhat dry with a disappointing flavor. I am not an expert on this dish, though, so I cannot say whether the ones here are really representative of the way they are made in Mexico. I just know that other people swear by the carnitas here.



Pozole tapatio

Pozole Tapatio, or hominy served with pork chunks and red chile, is one of the most flavorful versions of the dish I have tried. The yellow hominy might be an acquired taste for some, but mixed with the red chile and meat it offers another great opportunity to venture out from the mundane menu found at most restaurants. Several soups are on the menu but so far this is one of the best I have found.

The pozole comes with tortillas on the side, limes for flavoring, and cabbage to put into the soup if you desire. With all the side dishes that are served, I find the large bowl to be enough for a meal. I also think it is a big reason I enjoy the pozole here so much.

Aztec soup

Aztec soup

Aztec Soup is Carnitas Queretaro’s version of tortilla soup, with crispy tortillas that have been made soft by floating in the soup. The white meat chicken and avocado were good, and I liked the Mexican style cheese even better. I thought the best feature, though, was the flavor of the broth. This was not quite the best version of tortilla soup I have ever eaten, but it was close.

Chile Relleno
The Chile Relleno has a flavorful chile that is very hot because of leaving the seeds inside, a good cheese, and a ranchero sauce that covers it with large chunks of tomato and chiles (chiles on top of another chile!). It may be a little more greasy than other versions though.




Flautas have the same high quality as most of the other dishes, with the customary guacamole and sour cream (or at least this is customary in the more authentic Mexican restaurants). The chicken version comes with meat that is tender and flavorful. The guacamole that covers the flauta is puréed, but customers can also request the more chunky variety on the side as in the photo.


Green enchiladas

Green enchiladas suizas

Green Enchiladas are puréed and more flavorful than the norm for El Paso, but are even better when turned into Enchiladas Suizas (served with white meat chicken inside and sour cream on top). The green chile seems to be a rather spicy Mexican variety, and is similar to the type I have eaten in Sanborn’s and other restaurants in Mexico. It has a more sour taste than the typical New Mexico green chile, most likely because of the other ingredients mixed in. As a chile lover I still think the New Mexico version is best, but the one here is a “must try” for the mixture of flavors that that make these special enchiladas (despite the name, I doubt if they can be found in Switzerland– actually the dish originated at Sanborn’s and was so named because of the Swiss’ love for dairy products).

I do not care for the Red Enchiladas as much, but they go well on combination plates such as the chicken tampiquena.

Chicken Tampiquena

Chicken tampiquena

Chicken tampiquena

Chicken Tampiqueña in El Paso restaurants refers to grilled chicken with green chiles on top, accompanied by a red enchilada (and usually rice and beans). Restaurants usually give a price break ordering it this way as opposed to ordering chicken and an enchilada separately, so I usually find this dish to be a good choice.

Rice and Beans
Rice and beans are above average, but I do not care much for the chips and salsa (the Pico de Gallo is better than the regular salsa).

One of the best features of Carnitas Querétaro is the variety of Aguas Frescas that are served. While many restaurants in El Paso can compete for the best food, serving these authentic Mexican drinks plays a large part in the overall experience, and surprisingly few restaurants do it as well as Carnitas Querétaro.

Horchata is the traditional drink with lent specials (at least it is traditional with me), and the one here has a good cinnamon flavor.

Melón (canteloupe) is usually my favorite of the aguas frescas, and while it has traditionally been available only during the harvest season in the Pecos Valley or in California, I believe the availability of the fruit now lasts a large part of the year.

The Lemonade at CQ rivals the other drinks for quality and enjoyment.

The aguas frescas are almost like a wine in that patrons can pair their meals with the proper drink just as they would at a fine dining restaurant. Personally I get just about as much enjoyment out of the drinks at Carnitas Querétaro as I would with a fine wine.

Lent Specials
On Fridays during Lent Carnitas Querétaro serves Comida de Cuaresma (Lent Dinner) specials that are among my favorite Mexican food experiences. Lent specials are provided for the faithful who wish to go without meat at least one day a week in favor of a fish or vegetarian meal. The restaurant says on the menu “It’s time to be good,” but I think it is also time to enjoy some delicious meals.


Lent menu next to capirotada dessert

Two types of soup are offered in the specials, but my favorite is Lentejas, or lentil soup.

Lentil soup on the Lent menu

Lentil soup served during Lent

This soup is wonderful in its simplicity, with whole lentils, a few spices, and a dark broth. Served with Horchata, a rice drink with cinnamon, this is the start to a classic El Paso style Lent meal. Corn or flour tortillas are usually served with the meal, but I like to request that corn tortillas be served with the soup.

The main dinners are offered by themselves or as a package deal with soup and dessert (drinks are extra). Fish or shrimp is available, and there are three toppings offered for each one. I was surprised to discover that fish and shrimp are only available at Carnitas Querétaro during Lent, and are not on the regular menu. Perhaps this helps explain why the quality of the fish is consistently high.

Pescado veracruzano

Pescado veracruzano served for Lent

One of the styles served is Pescado Veracruzano, or Veracruz style fish with a tomato sauce and green olives. The flavor of the fish is mild, and this helps to highlight the delicious sauce with green olives, chiles, and spices. I probably enjoy the Mashed Potatoes as much as anything on the plate, with a home made (not from instant potatoes) taste.

Diabla fish

Diabla fish

The Diabla Style Fish Fillet is also very good, but do not order this unless you like extremely spicy food. This has not been on the Lent menu every year, but it may be rotated back to the menu at some point.

Order the Al Mojo de Ajo fish or shrimp if you like an overwhelming garlic flavor (actually I do not, but Carnitas Querétaro does cook this style of fish the traditional way for those who do like it).

It is also possible to order a vegetarian meal, and of course enchiladas are always available from the menu. A special sauce, though, is available on the Lent menu in the Green Chipotle Enchiladas (shrimp chipotle enchiladas are also available). Normally the enchiladas at Carnitas Querétaro are not quite as remarkable as at other restaurants, but the chipotle sauce is not only very good but also largely unavailable anywhere else (or at least I have not seen it anywhere).

Capirotada dessert tops it off, a kind of drunken bread pudding with raisins and the little sugar balls on top that are sometimes used on cupcakes.

There are several Lent specials I enjoy in El Paso, but the one at Carnitas Querétaro is one of the best in terms of food quality (good fish, soup, and dessert). It is also one of the most filling and most expensive, which to me is probably its biggest drawback. Items are offered a la carte, though, if your appetite is not as large. A traditionalist, though, probably has to “have it all” for a complete Lent experience.

Other Locations
Carnitas Querétaro currently has four locations, but I would advise checking on line because the locations change from time to time. The former restaurant at 6516 N. Mesa St. is where the photos in this review were taken, but it has now moved a few blocks west to 7410 Remcon Circle.

I have also been to the east side restaurant, which has the same menu as the west side locations.

The I-10 location

Carnitas Queretaro on Interstate 10 (9077 Gateway West)

The address of the east side restaurant is 9077 Gateway West (shown in the above photo), and is located on the I-10 frontage road. There is now a second east side restaurant at 1451 N. Zaragoza Rd.

Another location at 4001 N. Mesa St. is located near the UTEP campus.

Closing Comment
Carnitas Querétaro has such a large selection of items it is probably inevitable that there are some I do not care for very much. This has caused me to lower the rating a bit from what I would probably otherwise give it. This review, though, highlights many of my favorite dishes at the restaurant, and these are among the best I have found anywhere. The rating is an attempt to be objective about how the restaurant compares to others, but I feel passionately about some of the dishes, and they would definitely fall in the high “five star” category.


Cuisine: Mexican Chihuahua
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking

Most Recent Visit: Mar. 5, 2010
Number of Visits: 10+
Best Items: Chicken Mole, Green Chicken Enchiladas, Chicken Tampiqueña, Pozole, Aztec Soup, Lent Specials, Aguas Frescas


Mexican Food Details

Chile Index: chile 4
Cooking Oil: N/A


Special Ratings
star 5 Chicken Mole
star 4 Green Enchiladas (cheese)
star 5 Green Enchiladas (Suizas)
star 3 Red Enchiladas
star 4 Enmoladas
star 5 Chicken Tampiqueña
star 4 Chiles Rellenos
star 2 Lamb Barbacoa
star 5 Pico de Gallo
star 5 Pozole Tapatio
star 5 Aztec Soup
star 5 Lemonade
star 5 Melón
star 5 Horchata


Lent Specials
star 5 (Five Stars)
Pescado Veracruzano
Green Chipotle Enchiladas
Mashed Potatoes
star 4 (Four Stars)
Pescado al Mojo de Ajo