Holy Guacamole! Mexican Restaurants Around Town

There are many great Mexican restaurants around metro Atlanta, and we find that cuisine to be especially popular with kids (say cheese!). We visited two this month:

Rosa Mexicano

245 18th St. NW, Atlanta
Sun. and Mon., 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.;
Tues.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri. and Sat., 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m

“Look at this place, its huge!” were the first words out of my young friends’ mouths when we walked in to Atlantic Station’s Rosa Mexicano. We sat inside where we admired the festive and fun atmosphere. The Amate Gods (metal sculptures of the gods of tomatoes, avocados, pomegranates and corn) are incorporated into the restaurants’s décor, and we challenged each other to find them – it’s a built-in scavenger hunt!
What’s on the menu: The menu is diverse with a variety of spicy and non-spicy items as well as traditional items with a twist. With beef, pork, chicken, vegetable and seafood entrées, there is something to please everyone in the family. Entrées range $14-$29. The restaurant uses foods from local farms and artisans, and gluten-free selections are available.
Why parents will like it: The atmosphere is sophisticated but not too fancy for the kids. The carne asada ($24.75) was a table favorite, and we had plenty of leftovers to bring home after we ate our fill. This would be an ideal spot for a family special occasion; let the staff know if you’re celebrating a birthday to get a free treat!
Why kids will like it: They get to cook! Young diners can “rock the guac” right at the table, using a molcajete (Mexican mortar and pestle) to smash together cilantro, onions and chiles, and then gently add in cubed avocado and diced tomatoes. Every kid who participates gets an apron to take home proclaiming their guacamole skills. Guacamole is served for 2-3 people ($14) or for 4-6 people ($26) and there is no extra charge to make it yourself. The children’s tacos and quesadillas come with sweet potato fries and vegetables, and most children’s meals are $8.50. Crayons are offered to entertain little ones.                – Jordan Lisvosky

Red Pepper Taquería

2149 Briarcliff Rd. NE, Atlanta
Daily, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

Red Pepper Taquería, near the corner of Lavista and Briarcliff (there is another location in Buckhead), delivers a dining experience that parents can enjoy as much as their kids.
What’s on the menu: Familiar Tex-Mex fare like quesadillas, enchiladas and tacos, are here, but with a creative twist. Our 8-year-old son loved the decadent queso dip ($5.95) and zesty salsa trio ($4.25), while my husband proclaimed the cilantro-packed guacamole ($6.95 – served mild, medium or hot) to be “the best in Atlanta.” Southern-inspired tacos such as the Trucha Libre (blackened Georgia trout with a chipotle remoulade, $3.79) or the BBQ Chicken (topped with poblano slaw, grilled corn and BBQ salsa, $3.59) shouldn’t be missed.
Why parents will like it: The food is fresh and mostly organic/local, with many healthy options. The restaurant has a friendly, high-energy vibe and outdoor patio seating. Large flat-screen TVs are placed around the dining area. The bar serves hand-crafted margaritas, plus signature cocktails, wine, beer and flavor-infused tequila shots. The free Loyalty Card has great rewards for members, such as birthday meal discounts.
Why kids will like it: The children’s menu – with kid-sized tacos, burritos, quesadillas and fajitas (all items $5.50, including beverage) – will please even fussy eaters. The dessert options, including the churros ($4.25) served with hazelnut chocolate sauce and the chocolate abuelita ($4.75), a warm cake served with vanilla ice cream and a berry sauce were the perfect size to split between our family of three. The kids’ menu comes with a paper luchador mask to decorate!   – Karen Robbins

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