El Paso, TX
In my opinion La Familia is one of those neighborhood restaurants in El Paso that is a real gem. The food gives you a true taste of Chihuahua style cooking but the quality is far above average that I think would be found for similar restaurants in Ciudad Juarez. The price, though, is very comparable to what I think would be found south of the border.
Alameda and other thoroughfares south of Interstate 10 are lined with neighborhood restaurants where the common denominator seems to be that they serve food that the local population can afford. Some restaurants are able to fix better meals on a budget than others, but La Familia does a better job than most. I have not yet tried a large sample of food here, but I and several friends have been impressed with our meals so far.
The daily dinner specials come with a meat item, soup, and dessert. I believe the meat choices change daily but customers always have more than one choice. There is also a choice between the large dinner which includes a large bowl of caldo, and the small dinner with the small Caldo shown in this photo. This is a traditional Mexican style soup, and the one served here is one of the best. Even though I got the “chico” version they filled it with as many vegetables and as much meat as would fit and/or spill over the top. The meat reminded me more of roast beef than the typical caldo meat.
Chile Rojo is a very good dish when it is done right, as it is here. This is a good quality pork meat with a red sauce that has just the right amount of heat (it is very flavorful but will not blow smoke out of your ears as many cartoons characterize spicy food).
A side note on the chile rojo is that Jane and Michael Stern featured chile con carne in their book “500 Things to Eat Before It’s Too Late.” I’m not sure if they meant the really bad “too late” or the fact that we should eat the real food before it turns into factory grown meat or government enforced vegetarian or meat substitute menus. Nevertheless, they said Little Diner in Canutillo had the best chile con carne in the Southwest. Although there is some ambiguity between traditional chile con carne made with beef and the Mexican style chile rojo with is typically made with pork, I would put La Familia’s version up against the best any day (and I do think it is better than the chile rojo at Little Diner that the Sterns call chile con carne).
The chile rojo was so good I asked if I could have a sample of the beef based Chile Verde, and they were kind enough to oblige. This was spicier than the red chile and also had a very good flavor, so I would be good ordering either one of these dishes.
The cake that came with the chile rojo meal was delicious, not too sweet, and tasted home made (and was free with the meal).
La Familia is open for breakfast and has a separate breakfast menu.
Prices are very reasonable, the food is very good, and I think you get a true taste of Mexico (or at least the borderland version of Mexican food).
To me the dinner with the small caldo had just the right amount of food. For those who would not agree, though, it will not break the bank to get the large soup (you also have the option of getting the soup as your meal). The soup here is really competitive with the best I have found in the city, especially if you are looking for one with fresh vegetables and less fat from the meat.
Cuisine: Mexican Chihuahua
Hours: Open Daily for Breakfast & Lunch
Smoking: No smoking
Most Recent Visit: Jan. 30, 2023
Number of Visits: 1
Best Items: Chile Rojo, Chile Verde, Caldo