Andreviews: El Limon

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Para chuparse los dedos: El Limon’s steak tacos with corn taco shells, fresh onions, cilantro and lime transport diners to Mexico. The restaurant has nine locations in the Philly area alone.

By Andrew Bucko, Co-T/E-Life Editor

El Limon’s warm, pastel walls complement its tropical Mexican roots quite nicely. Combined with massive windows that let in plenty of sunlight, the restaurant is casual and welcoming. Floral papel picado hang throughout, adding even more pops of color. Tables and silverware are simple, yet functional. But enough about the furniture. The food is what draws you in.

El Limon’s enchiladas are masterful. The tortilla shell, which wraps either a meat or cheese and beans, are soft and melt in your mouth. The chicken inside has a slight kick but remains flavorful without burning off any taste buds. Smothered in queso fresco and cheese, the toppings are a bit overwhelming, but they could easily be ordered on the side if preferred.

But its most famous dish, the steak tacos, are worth every penny and every stain on that old t-shirt that you’ll surely acquire from devouring them. They come on either a flour or corn shell, but the corn is more authentic (and delicious.) The steak is succulent and juicy, which can be difficult to find in any diced, grilled meat. If you opt for the traditional tacos, the onions, cilantro and lime complement steak (or any other meat offered) perfectly. But for a mere 25 cents, you can upgrade to the tacos supreme, which throw in pico de gallo, lettuce and cheese. ¡Valor, por favor!

Beyond food, El Limon offers a wide variety of drinks. One of my all-time favorites is Jarritos, which is soda that is flavored like tropical fruit. Common place at most Mexican restaurants, Jarritos are always a wise choice for anyone that wants to branch out. However, Mexico is known for its horchata, a rice milk beverage with cinnamon, vanilla, and plenty of sugar that tastes quite close to a liquid snickerdoodle. El Limon’s horchata doesn’t quite do the drink justice, however. In the several times that I’ve had them from El Limon, they’ve been a gamble. Unfortunately, they can come out a little grainy, with small bits of rice still at the bottom of the drink.

El Limon’s nine locations around the Philly area speak volumes for its success as a restaurant.But does the food compare to all the hype this Mexican restaurant receives? In short, yes. El Limon stands out from the pack of Mexican restaurants not completely because of food, but because of the vibes that it serves up as well. Their recipe for success? A closely-knit staff, playful décor, and authentic energy that all make El Limon Paoli worth a visit.