Something about Mexican food always seems perfect for family gatherings. In keeping with our Carolina Designs tradition of highlighting various Outer Banks restaurants, we thought a description of the best Mexican eateries from Corolla to Manteo was in order. Some of them are full-fledged Mexican, and some only resemble Mexican, but all of them come highly recommended. We will start with a personal favorite.
Bad Bean and Baja Grill
Two locations make this incredible restaurant available to all: Bad Bean in Corolla and Baja Grill in the Seagate North Shopping Center in Kill Devil Hills.
Owner and chef Rob Robertson is a classically trained chef who spent a lot of time in California honing his skills before migrating to the Outer Banks. As a consequence, this delicious Mexican food is on a whole different level.
Portions are enormous, and the manner in which Rob puts things together is truly unique. A personal favorite is the braised beef burrito, but the mahi mahi burrito is a close second. These dishes are just about impossible to finish in one sitting. The jicama slaw served on the side will completely change anyone’s perception of what slaw can be.
And to top it all off, they’ve got a great on-tap beer selection.
Going into their 20th year of business, it is obvious why La Fogata has been so successful-great service, reasonable prices and amazing food served fast.
This is classic Mexican food. They’re not trying to dress it up. The relaxed atmosphere is family friendly and truly a local’s favorite.
Top picks: the carnitas-fried pork tips with beans, rice and pico de gallo-and the mole poblano.
There are two locations north of Oregon Inlet. The original La Fogata is located on the Bypass a little north of the Kitty Hawk Post Office, and the Nags Head location just south of the Outer Banks Hospital.
The newest restaurant to enter the Mexican food scene on the Outer Banks, Plaza Azteca in Kill Devil Hills is a great place for families with a classic interior, large seating areas, reasonable prices and dishes to die for.
If you have any birthdays in your group, this is the place to go. The spirited staff will even send the birthday boy or girl home with a sombrero.
Ortega’z in Manteo has a menu that spans a much broader spectrum of foods, but their Mexican dishes are worth mentioning, because what they do, they do really well.
The restaurant was featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives in 2012. Owners and chefs Lisa and Marcelo Ortega have a wide range of restaurant experience behind them and a menu that reflects just that. At its heart are classic Mexican dishes-tacos, burritos and chimichangas-but it’s also a great place to get a great burger or Cuban sandwich.
Chili Peppers Coastal Grill
Owner Jim Douglas of Chili Peppers is incredibly innovative in the way that he thinks about food, and you can be certain there will always be something new and different on the menu. However, for the traditionalist who wants their Mexican food fix, his chimichanga is the dish we would recommend.
In addition to having a diverse and exciting menu, this restaurant is a great place to hang out at night. The full service bar always seems to be packed.