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“Very good food, service is hit-or-miss”

El Palenque Mexican Restaurant
Ranked #46 of 516 Restaurants in Spring
Cuisines: Mexican
Restaurant details
Houston, Texas
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Very good food, service is hit-or-miss”
Reviewed July 13, 2012

We go here pretty frequently. It is conveniently located and is very popular with locals.
If you come on a busy night, you might be waiting for 15 mins or longer for a table.

The food is always delicious, and they have a large menu. Drinks are big and cold. Prices are very reasonable.

Unfortunately, the service can be good or bad. Sometimes we go there and have no problems, but other times we have to wait long periods of time. Usually this occurs at the beginning or the end of the meal, like waiting for drinks or waiting for the check. We've found that once you get the food order in, it goes pretty quickly.

When things are lagging, we've found its best to just flag down another waiter/waitress and ask them for what you need. It gets the job done and usually that is embarrassing enough for the original server to pay much closer attention to you for the rest of the night.

I've noticed this pattern at other restaurants sometimes, especially where there are a bunch of tables in a big room, and a couple dozen waitstaff hanging around at all times.
The talkative, more socializing waiters will spend the whole time doing just that, socializing. Sometimes with you, but often with other waiters or hostesses. So when your drink gets empty, they can be too busy carrying on a conversation elsewhere to notice for a while.
I'd rather have the quiet guys that run back and forth to the kitchen without saying much. They're attentive and genuine, and I try to reward them with better tips when I can.

If you go here on a weekend or busy night, you'll see what I mean.

Overall El Palenque has good food, a lively atmosphere, and good value, but don't come here if you're uptight or in a hurry.

  • Visited July 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Nickh2500
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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105 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
1 review
“Police escort needed”
Reviewed June 16, 2012

Be ready to be ignored and be assaulted. Waited a while with chips and a tea and coke. Took a while to get water. Kitchen was busy with a big table of more than 12, So tacos and enchiladas were placed on slow order. When meal was served with warning of hot plate, tea and water were left empty. Waiter walked off and counted his money while we were left dry. Most places refresh drinks and chips. Not here for me. Wait staff terribly slow and not helpful. Waiter gave my daughter the tab. I reviewed the service with her and wanted her to recognize terrible service and reflect on it. While we talked about it waiter returned to collect money. I told him no. We we reflecting on his bad service and were not ready. I told him about the bad service partially descibed above, when he grabbed me by my shoulder. Where is assault on the menu? I immediately asked for the manger not once, but three times. The waiter snarled at me. The manager did drag his feet an show up after other wait staff showed. He was attacking and never apologetic about the waiter grabbing me. He was dismissive presenting it as a humorous ploy by his staff. It was neither invited or pleasant. The waiter was a joke and the manager was an idiot. Follow up with corporate was a run around when asked for a district manager. Hire a police escort.

  • Visited June 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank sickof
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Spring, Texas
Level 5 Contributor
91 reviews
71 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Good Tex-Mex”
Reviewed May 11, 2012

I've eaten at El Palenque a couple times. The restaurant is decorated in bright colors with roosters all over the place. The staff are dressed in traditional mexican dresses. Service is prompt and friendly.

Chips and salsa are good. The salsa they serve is warm and is well seasoned with onions, cilantro, tomatoes and peppers. I had the beef fajitas and my wife had the spinach enciladas. You get a huge portion of food here for a reasonable price. The fajitas were pretty good. Well seasoned and not tough or stringy like some. You get a lot of meat and onions with this selection. I had enough left over for lunch the next day. The spinach enchiladas were good also with mushrooms and cream sauce.

The charro beans they serve are not very good. The rice they serve with the meals are good though. I usually don't like mexican rice, but here the rice is good. We also had the nachos palenque which were pretty good. Standard nachos with fajita meat on top. I like this place because it is cheaper than most, portions are huge, staff is friendly and it is close to home.

  • Visited May 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Big_Dave75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Great Mexican dining”
Reviewed April 14, 2012

Always clean and fresh, great little secret. Nice lunch menu, tacos el carbon where excelant today!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Traveling-duos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
100 reviews
66 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“Pretty good Mex - Tex...”
Reviewed March 17, 2012

Great service, Good food with a more Mexican flavor than the normal Texican stuff we get locally.

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
Thank Greg G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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