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El Mariachi

Certificate of Excellence
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5825 Merle Hay Rd, Johnston, IA 50131-1218
(515) 276-3887
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Closed now
All hours
Sun 11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Mon - Sat 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
More Info
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59 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveler rating
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Time of year
Showing 59: English reviews
Lebanon, United States
Level Contributor
89 reviews
64 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

For good, quick, authentic Mexican food this is the place to go. We have been coming to this restaurant for years and have never been disappointed. Prices are reasonable and the service is quick and friendly.

Thank Deborah M
Northfield, Minnesota
Level Contributor
91 reviews
76 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

We were visiting family in Des Moines and El Mariachi was recommended as "their favorite Mexican restaurant" so we went. It is a fairly large space and very busy and quite noisy, even on a Wednesday evening. Conversation was difficult. Seating and service were prompt. The service was, in a sense, too prompt for almost before the menus had reached... More 

Thank Doug H
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
19 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2016

I hope there are better Mexican restaurants in Des Moines. This place was okay, but nothing special. Service was okay, but nothing special. Prices were good. A pretty good value, actually. Staff may have been worn out with all the state fair visitors.

Thank Mark M
Johnston, Iowa
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2016

This is our favorite Mexican restaurant in Johnston. The food is good and the service is fast and friendly.

Thank Gina C
Johnston, Iowa
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2016

Good and fast food with friendly service. Cheese dip is wonderful. From grilled shrimp to fajitas to chips and salsa to margaritas - you can't go wrong. Generous portions. This is our go to place for all occasions.

Thank Judy1191
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
185 reviews
143 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2016

Located on Merle Hey Road. Easily accessible. Loads of free parking, although the parking under the shade trees are at a premium. Has outdoor seating if the weather is to your suiting. Entrances are on the sides of the building not facing Merle Hey Road. There is a small bar area with TV set, and large dining area, with tables... More 

Thank RetiredMilitary
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Level Contributor
20 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2016

An overall great experience. When we are in the Des Moines area, this restaurant is a must. Never disappointed.

Thank 50613
Johnston, Iowa
Level Contributor
39 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2016 via mobile

Authentic family-owned Mexican restaurant. They make their own salsa and chips. Tasty house margaritas. Excellent burritos & enchiladas.

Thank jmw0313
Level Contributor
28 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2016

A nice neighborhood Mexican restaurant with good service. Consistent Mexican comfort food, but definitely not "real" Mexican fare. Far better than any chain joint, and you will get the usual long list of menu choices. Family friendly and sees lots of little league and soccer groups during the seasons. Does get busy most of the time but table turnover is... More 

Thank 114bruceb
Ankeny, Iowa
Level Contributor
58 reviews
47 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2016 via mobile

Last night 12 of us went to El Mariachi to celebrate two birthdays. The mgmt was great but wish we had a better waiter. He didn't refill drinks unless asked nor wouldn't take orders by family so when it came time to pay it took forever at the register. We had 3 picky eaters and each order was either messed... More 

Thank mhelmick2016

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Restaurant Details

Rating summary
  • Food
    4.5 of 5 stars
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
    4 of 5 stars
Lunch, Dinner
Restaurant features
Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Serves Alcohol, Television, Wheelchair Accessible
Good for
Large groups, Families with children, Dining on a budget
Open Hours
11:00 am - 9:00 pm
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Location and Contact Information
  • Address: 5825 Merle Hay Rd, Johnston, IA 50131-1218
  • Location: United States  >  Iowa (IA)  >  Johnston
  • Phone Number: (515) 276-3887

Questions & Answers

Questions? Get answers from El Mariachi staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do you have gluten-free options?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Do you allow dogs on the outdoor patio?