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Mexican 

From a quick burrito during your lunch break to a sit-down full-course dinner, here's what the Inland Northwest has to offer when it comes to Mexican food

click to enlarge Cow tongue tacos from Tacos Tumbras. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Cow tongue tacos from Tacos Tumbras.

Aracelia's Restaurant II Grandma Aracelia and her sons and grandkids have updated the interior and added more American dishes (like burgers and steaks in the lounge), but they still serve up home-style Mexican specialties. You'll feel like family in this comfortable, casual atmosphere. 7905 E. Trent Ave., Spokane Valley • 924-4304

Atilano's Mexican Food Atilano's has gone through a couple of changes since its January 2009 opening, but they still serve damn good California-style burritos for damn cheap prices. Their recently updated menu, which includes the Washington burrito (stuffed with grilled chicken, potatoes, cheese, guacamole and sour cream) is a nice complement to their original California burrito (steak, potatoes, cheese and salsa). They're open until 3 am on Fridays and Saturdays at the downtown location, making them close to heaven at the end of a long night of drinking. 725 W. Third Ave. • 838-7677 | 12210 N. Division St. • 466-2847 | 3624 E. Sprague Ave. • 534-7677 | 218 E. Appleway Ave., Coeur d'Alene • 667-7677 • atilanos.com

Azteca Mexican Restaurant Featuring family-style Mexican food in a vibrant, colorful setting, Azteca is a well-known regional franchise that can be found all over the state. They have an expansive dinner menu that includes everything from fajitas to seafood, as well as a kids menu to keep the little ones happy. Check out the cantina from 3 to 6 pm and 8:30 to close for $4.50 margaritas and pints of domestic beers for only $2.50. 9377 N. Newport Hwy. • 465-9101 | 245 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. • 465-0350 | 14700 E. Indiana Ave., #1080, Spokane Valley • 228-9661 • aztecamex.com

Borracho Tacos & Tequileria  This new mexican restaurant has a menu full of the regular burritos, chimichangas, and tostadas, so you'll never leave you hungry. Beware; salsa costs extra. So make sure you hit up their happy hour for a discounted margarita or their very popular Taco Tuesdays, where you can scarf down some street tacos for only a buck (regularly $2). 211 N. Division St. • 822-7789 • borrachospokane.com

El Ixtapa  Formerly Baja Mexican Restaurant, it's now El Ixtapa, but it still serves up enchiladas, burritos and tacos and other Mexican classics. 116 S. Lefevre St. • Medical Lake, Wash. • 299-2875

El Que They might be known for their extensive options in terms of alcoholic beverages (check out their list of tequilas!), but they also have some good Mexican dishes. The menu is small, but you can find appetizers, a lot of taco options and even some tamales. Hit these folks up for a drink and a taco. 141 S. Cannon St. • 624-5412 • wedonthaveone.com/el-que

Fiesta Mexicana Family-owned and family-friendly, Fiesta Mexicana is frequently packed, but don't let the full parking lot scare you off. You never wait long here. Service is fast and attentive and the food is everything you'd expect from inland Tex-Mex, but with better-than-expected offerings of fish and vegetarian options. If you want to eat dinner amidst a hive of activity with bottomless chips and salsa, this is your joint. 1227 S. Grand Blvd. • 455-7117 • orderfiesta.com

Gerardo's Authentic Mexican Food Open late, Gerardo's is guaranteed to satisfy your midnight hunger cravings. With an extensive list of options, it gets a little overwhelming deciding what to order. If you need some help, try one of their California burritos, which will last you anywhere from one to three meals for the modest price of $4.50. 2706 N. Monroe St. • 340-9905 • facebook.com/gerardosauthenticmexicanfood

Joel's With some of the region's best burritos, Joel's (which started as a taco truck) serves delicious and varied San Diego-style burritos, wrapped tight in paper, full of juice and flavor. The staff is super-friendly, they make good horchata, and they've got a front patio that's perfect in the summer for watching people cruise by on their bikes. 229 Church St., Sandpoint, Idaho • 208-265-8991

Neato Burrito Not to stereotype places or anything, but Spokane's hip folk know that Neato Burrito, tucked off First Avenue across from The Davenport, is where it's at, and by that we mean more than just seriously amazing burritos. "The food is fresh, hot, local, healthy, cheap and yummy," says Inlander reader Kate Robbins. "So are the staff and ambiance," Robbins adds. She also loves Neato for the variety of cool culture-y things happening there, from local art on the walls to poetry slams, pub science nights and regular live music. 827 W. First Ave. • 847-1234

Palenque This mini-chain of local Mexican restaurants has managed to bookend Spokane with a location to the west in Cheney and another in Liberty Lake. The affordably priced yet classy eatery serves up a traditional take on Mexican fare while also not skimping on creativity. If you're in Cheney, the newer location, opened in April 2012, features a menu complete with your typical tacos and burritos, as well as mole and innovative versions of enchiladas. 1102 N. Liberty Lake Rd., Liberty Lake • 928-3112 • orderpalenquefood.com

Rancho Chico A moment after entering this colorful spot, you'll invariably be greeted at the door with a "Hola, amigo!" It's worth going just for the original margarita. Their rice, authentic and flavorful, tastes even better to the sound of mariachi music. You can also buy their hot salsa to take home. 9205 N. Division St. • 467-0022 | 2023 W. Northwest Blvd. • 327-2723 • mexicanrestaurantinspokane.com

Rancho Viejo  If you're craving Mexican food, but want something more than a burrito or taco, Rancho Viejo is for you. They offer up a variety of sopas, or soups, such as sopa de albondigas, made from beef or pork meatballs with seasonal vegetables in a clear broth. They also offer taco salads and Mexican flan for dessert. 3209 E. 57th Ave. • 448-3834 | 14201 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley • 927-8428 | 170 S. Grand Ave., Pullman, Wash. • 332-4301 | 882 N. Government Way, Hayden, Idaho • 208-762-3310 • rancho-viejo.net

Rincon Tapatio Rincon Tapatio is at the top of the family-owned Mexican-restaurant ladder, especially if you're one of those people who differentiate between a taquito and flauta. We appreciate the menu's variety (extended categories include "eggs," "vegetarian" and "American"), the presentation of entrées (on hubcap-sized platters), and the overhead sombrero lamps. 1212 N. Hamilton St. • 473-9583 | 3207 N. Market St. • 483-2967

Slick Rock Burrito A staple in the local burrito scene since 1996, Slick Rock serves eight specialty burritos and does custom builds at its hip but modest store. For all you daredevils out there, Slick Rock serves ghost pepper chili salsa. That's right, salsa made with the world's third-hottest pepper. Just be sure to have a glass of milk nearby. 2926 S. Grand Blvd. • 747-6041 • slickrockburrito.com

Tacos El Sol  Located at First and Washington, Tacos El Sol is a quick walk from most offices downtown. Don't miss it; it's a bright yellow truck. But don't let that deceive you. The menu is diverse and delicious. You can walk over for some tacos, sopes, burritos or enchiladas; choose from beef, chicken or pork. 401 W. Sprague Ave.• 216-2554 • facebook.com/tacoselsol

Tacos Tumbras Most of the the recipes at this thriving downtown taco shop are from owner Carlos Zuniga, Jr.'s family. He recommends the fish taco, which is made with fresh tilapia, cilantro, onion, cabbage and special sauce. The torta, a Mexican sandwich, is packed with meat, lettuce, tomato, beans and sour cream on toasted Mexican bread — a soft, semi-sweet bread that melts in your mouth. 1235 W. Second Ave. • 456-8226


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