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“pretty good” 4 of 5 stars
Review of El Mexicano Mexican Grill

El Mexicano Mexican Grill
911 S Beeline Hwy, Payson, AZ
928-474-4422
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Ranked #35 of 64 Restaurants in Payson
Price range: $5 - $15
Cuisines: Mexican
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups
Dining options: Reservations
Description: Bright and Happy atmosphere! Goos service and food fair prices and friendly staff. catering available. group events. family friendly
Phoenix, Arizona
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“pretty good”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2013

had the camarons a la plancha, pretty tasty dish. i saw several items that were new on the menu and was told they just changed their menu and added/took away several things. the service was good. some things are a bit pricey but there are plenty of choices if you are on a budget like myself. being in the industry I can understand that there are several things wrong here but the overall experience was not bad. a business can only be as good as the person leading it so if management ever takes time to read these reviews, I suggest it's time to take charge!!

  • Visited July 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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60 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Phoenix, Arizona
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Excellent & Authentic Mexican Food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2013

We stopped at El Mexicano, on our way up the rim, for a camping trip. I am quite picky about Mexican food and wasn't impressed with the last Payson restaurant we tried (El Rancho). The salsa at El Mexicano was awesome & obviously homemade. My boyfriend had enchiladas and I had the Pollo Ala Crema....Both were superb. They also make very good rice & beans. My only concern was that the restaurant feels a little bit dirty. It's obviously old, but I think a good deep cleaning would help a lot. The server was really nice and attentive, but didn't know the menu and he had worked there for a year. Maybe some additional training and a tasting session for the staff? Servers should ALWAYS be able to answer menu questions and make recommendations.....It's good to know that the staff will eat where they work. We will probably return, next time we're in Payson. The food is great.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix AZ
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
“There may be better choices in Payson for Mexican cuisine”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2013

We were in Payson on a Tuesday evening in July and decided to give this place a try despite the fact that the latest incarnation of this eatery has been receiving mixed reviews. We were greeted promptly and given a choice of booth or table seating. The decor featured the expected Mexican colors and props and recorded south-of-the border style music was being played at just the right volume- not too loud for conversation.

Our server took our drink order and returned with a small bowl of chips and small bowl of house salsa. OK, but nothing special. I ordered a bottled beer and my wife ordered a glass of chardonnay. The menu featured a number of dinners in the $10 - $15 range together with the usual Mexican a la carte items. We both ordered a chicken chimichanga priced at $8.95.

When the food arrived, the portions looked very large. However, upon closer inspection, it was clear that the the rice, lettuce and other fillers took up most of the platter. The actual chimichanga was quite small. My was a little overcooked and dried out. In addition, there was very little actual chicken inside, in fact, less chicken than I have ever seen in a chimi. Based solely on this particular dinner, if this restaurant were competing in a major market like Phoenix, it would be out of business in no time.

We ordered a second round of drinks. Moments later the server returned with this rather strange response: "We only had one glass of chardonnay left. I don't know anything about wine. Would you like to order something else?"

We finished our dinners and waited for the check. And waited. And waited. There were only a handful of tables occupied and at least two servers. Finally, another server cleared our plates. Finally, our original server dropped off our check. I mentioned to her that we were waiting a long time for our check. She had no response and just walked away.

As we left the restaurant, a young girl (hostess or server) was manning the hostess stand at the door. We said goodbye to her. She just stared at us with a blank expression and said nothing.

El Mexicano Mexican Grill appears to be one of those independent restaurants where the owner and/or manager doesn't have his/her act together regarding the basics of staff training, menu quality, etc. Maybe some of the other menu items would have been a better choice. Maybe there was an explanation for our server's erratic behavior.

The restaurant probably deserves an average rating. However, based on the quality of my dinner, I have to rate it as poor. Would we give this place another try? Maybe. More likely, we'll try other Mexican restaurants in town before we go back.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Payson
Top Contributor
108 reviews 108 reviews
64 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
108 helpful votes 108 helpful votes
“Excellent Mexican food, better margarita.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2013

I suppose every small town has, from time to time, serious labor problems. El Mexicano is not the exception. Our last visit, however, was excellent. I had a taco and enchilada - excellent. My wife had 2 fish tacos - excellent. The real reason we go here, however, is the excellent margaritas and even better salsa. As we make our own salsa from our own vegetable garden we have become very discriminating (read picky). The salsa served at El Mexicano is fresh and obviously home made! The best I have tasted in years (outside of my own - of course). The chips aren't too thin and actually have flavoring! Honest. Now, how rare is that? So after devouring a basket of (free) wonderful chips and excellent salsa - combined with a GREAT margarita the mood has been set. My taco was done the old fashioned way - in a pan - not pre-formed. Crisp, but not TOO crisp. My wife's fish tacos were also excellent. My enchilada was NOT buried in cheese but presented itself as a real enchilada! Amazing. The service was excellent and we had a very experienced male waiter.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liberal, Kansas
1 review
“We would eat here again,”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2013

Clean location, very friendly staff, fast & good food. We would eat here again and recommend it to friends or family.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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