Maria Bonita offered a splendid, authentic meal in a modern setting. The flat screens on the walls and mounted between tables, as well as the glass walls and trendy serving containers contrasted the very original meals. To get there we had to enter the previous restaurant (Coyote-Creek?) to occupy that premises’ name into the GPS so I am not sure how long this Maria Bonita has been there.
I first ordered a queso dish, not realizing that it would be a block of cheese large enough for a party of four to six people. Before this appetizer arrived the complimentary chips were served with a green salsa, a red salsa with an ancho chili hint as opposed to the peppery spice usually associated with Mexican restaurant salsas, and some pickled carrots and onions. Each of these three chip toppings/dips was served in its own glass cup and the chips were almost like naan, which made me think of a more traditional preparation method.
For two people the chips and supplements were perfect portions, and aside from the queso, the two entrees we enjoyed were also appropriately sized to fill without stuffing. The balance of the flavors and portions showed careful planning and execution of the menu. The tacos were filled with carne guisada instead of the Tex-Mex ground beef or fajita meat, and the toppings were cucumber and a pico de gallo instead of the lettuce. A lactose intolerant person would be quite comfortable with that meal. The Spanish rice was seasoned to pair with the very natural tasting beans. I enjoyed a burrito with fajita beef and it too was delightful.
I would certainly see this as a great spot for watching sports on the many televisions, but the class and sophistication of the servers and food would certainly endear one to a date. Overall the cost of about $40 was more expensive than the typical local dining spot, but the cleanliness of the facility and staff etiquette certainly implied a higher end clientele.
There is seating on an outdoor covered patio, and two bar seating areas. At the front, there are many trinkets, candies, and art pieces from Mexico for sale. This restaurant is very good and if I lived in town, this would probably provide a great weekend treat. It is conveniently located near some great hotel and shopping options off of a major street. The first inclination, and my appearance warrants it, was for our waiter to speak Spanish…as was the case at nearly every place we visited… but after my initial responses in broken Spanish (I understand, but have difficulty speaking it) we were attended to by three wait staff: one handled drinks, one brought the food, and the third came by to verify everything using spoken English. I can see where people used to the cheddar cheese and sirloin of prepackaged Southwestern food might be disappointed in the somewhat sparse meal, but it’s definitely an experience akin to sushi where the natural flavors are highlighted and ingredients are not added simply to boost the number of spices that can be claimed.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.