There are many fantastic restaurants in El Paso that serve great Tex-Mex food, but perhaps surprisingly there’s one that stands out above them all. Set right besides Mexico and just a bridge away from Ciudad Juarez food in El Paso has always been influenced by the cuisine on the other side of the border, with tortillas, frijoles and everything that is considered staple food in Mexico part of the city’s diet. However if you’re only here for a short stay you’ll probably want to eat at the best restaurant of them all, and for once the choice is quite easy.
When seen from outside L&J’s is non-appealing and looks like any other low end place in town. Good news is that things are not always what they appear to be.
Known as “the old place by the graveyard” (referring to historical Concordia Cemetery) L&J Cafe has been running since 1927 and has had a very close relationship with El Paso’s citizens. During its early years it was located in the outskirts of town (not now) and has been run by the same family for more than eight decades. Its friendly atmosphere (sure, the concealed bootlegging and slot machines helped in its beginning) and home made food made it a total success from day one.
Expect good food, a great vibe…and a queue as well. L&J Cafe is always full with all sorts of people, adding a lot of character to an already tasty meal.
If there was something I did not expect it was a queue. We were told that the waiting time was about 20 minutes, but fortunately only about ten had gone by before we were called in. I was surprised to see how packed the place was, but at the same time I could also see that patrons were not only enjoying the food but their time there while drinking and chatting at the bar.
Green enchiladas with beans (not fried), rice and salad was my choice. A good sized portion and lots of flavor!
The menu is fairly priced with most dishes in the 8-14 USD range, portions are generous, food is served rather quickly and best of all my taste buds went wild with the flavor. I found the staff to be very polite and had an excellent meal in a place I would have probably walked by has I been on my own. Speaking of which, the restaurant is not conveniently located so you’ll need a cab or a car to get here despite only being about 7 minutes or less from downtown (visit their website for more info ).
If it’s Tex Mex food you’re after L&J Cafe is a restaurant you should not miss when in El Paso, but if you’re in the mood of something else make your way to Cafe Central . This restaurant is conveniently located smack in the middle of downtown and I found it to be the only one that was open late into the night. They have all sorts of food, again fairly priced, free wi-fi and played great live blues music. I had a fantastic burger with fries and managed to work online while enjoying my time there- check it out too!
Do you like Tex-Mex food? Which is your favorite dish? These are my choices for the best restaurants in El Paso, but do you know of any others you want to recommend? Share your thoughts in the comments section below, and this post too if you liked it!
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My meal at L&J Cafe was compd by El Paso Visitors Bureau during my visit, but I was not asked to write this article or give a favorable review. I really did like both places and hope you do too!
Category: Americas, Destinations, United States
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