You don’t need a Mexican background to love guacamole, carne asada, and margaritas. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo, a holiday commemorating a victorious Mexican battle, this Saturday at one of these Jersey Bites-recommended restaurants:
Las Lomas Fresh Mexican Grille at Landis Marketplace will host a Cinco de Mayo festival Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. featuring food, music, and dancing. (631 East Landis Ave., Vineland, 856-238-4445)
For an extensive selection of authentic Mexican cuisine, try Fiesta Mexicana. The restaurant’s diner-like menu offers salsa verde, guacamole, pico de gallo, and more. It’s on the way to and from southern shore points for those traveling Route 206 to the Atlantic City Expressway. To top it off, Fiesta Mexicana offers free WiFi. (327 12th St., Hammonton, 609-704-1611, www.fiestamexicana-nj.com)
For a hole-in-the-wall vibe and authentic Mexican cuisine, try La Batalla. (83 North Washington Ave., Bergenfield, 201-385-0303)
Another Bergen County hotspot is Pancho’s Burritos. (214 Main St., New Milford, 201-225-2554, www.panchosburritos.net)
Living up to its name, the Mexican Food Factory is always packed — especially for Cinco de Mayo celebrations. (601 Route 70 West, Marlton, 856-983-9222)
At the Mexican-influenced Tortilla Press Cantina, don’t miss the Nachos Lydia, an appetizer of crispy tostadas topped with beans, cheese, guacamole, and more. The Achiote Fish Tacos are another favorite. (7716 Maple Ave., Merchantville, 856-356-2050, www.tortillapresscantina.com)
The Tortilla Press is the Cantina’s BYOB counterpart. (703 Haddon Ave., Collingswood, 856-869-3345, www.thetortillapress.com)
At Los Amigos, try the crab and shrimp enchiladas. In the summer, check out the restaurant’s Farm to Fork menu. (461 Route 73 N, West Berlin, 856-767-5216, www.losamigosrest.com) The restaurant also has an Atlantic City location.
CAPE MAY COUNTY
El Portal offers make your own margaritas (BYOB) and, on Wednesdays, a live mariachi band that strolls the restaurant taking requests. (3704 Bayshore Rd., North Cape May, 609-886-1169)
If burritos are your bag, don’t miss Big Wave Burrito. (1400 Texas Ave., Cape May, 609-898-8646)
Senorita’s Mexican Grill serves up a festive atmosphere every day of the week. (285 Glenwood Ave., Bloomfield, 973-743-0099, www.senoritasmexicangrill.com) The restaurant also has a Clark location.
Try Taqueria for authentic, BYOB Mexican food. (236 Grove St., 201-333-3220)
For a traditional Mexican feast, including mango margaritas, visit Baja. (117 Montgomery St., Jersey City, 201-915-0062, www.bajamexicancuisine.com) The restaurant also has a Hoboken location.
When most of the clientele doesn’t speak English, that’s a clue you’re in an true Mexican haunt. That’s the atmosphere at La Tapatia. Beef lovers shouldn’t miss the bistec alambre topped with peppers, onions, and melted cheese and served with fresh corn tortillas, rice, refried beans, and guacamole. Mangoes are peeled to order for the restaurant’s mango margarita. (707 Main St., Asbury Park, 732-776-7826)
Langosta Lounge, another Asbury Park destination, has been gearing up for Cinco de Mayo all week. With sunny weather expected
tomorrow, their beach front location will be the perfect spot for margaritas and more. Be sure to try their Langosta-rita, fresh lime, Organic Agave Nectar and Blanco Tequila with a splash of Ruby Red Grapefruit. (1000 Ocean Avenue at 2nd Avenue, Asbury Park. 732-455-3275)
Relatively new to the Mexican scene, La Estacion serves up chunky guacamole, fish tacos, and crispy tostadas. (94 Elm St., Morristown, 973-538-1111)
Christina Hernandez Sherwood‘s culinary goal is the perfect pasta dish — and she tracks her kitchen exploits on the Italian food blog, Spaghetti & Meatballs. When she’s not elbow-deep in fresh pasta dough, Christina enjoys the restaurant scene in her Collingswood neighborhood. As a full-time freelance writer, Christina’s work has appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, New Jersey Monthly, SmartPlanet, and many other publications. She’s also a college journalism instructor. Christina tweets as @tinahernandez.