Review by Bonnie
Okay, so once a year we all head to our local Mexican restaurant to celebrate Cinco de Mayo by enjoying chips, salsa and margaritas. It’s our ritual as Salem finally begins to experience spring, sunshine and warm breezes. And I will admit Cinco de Mayo is one of the best reasons to enjoy the wonderful food from our neighbor to the south…and one of the best places to partake of those chips, salsa, margaritas and a wide array of culinary treats is La Margarita Express.
A sister restaurant to the original La Margarita Restaurant, Express runs under the oh-so-capable management of Yanira Munoz and Ito Herrera. The name should not confuse you…this wonderful establishment is a full service restaurant. The huge menu offers a wide choice of meal options and prices…one can eat for under $5 or one can have a completely satisfying steak, chicken or seafood meal for under $12.00. It is the wide variety of both food and price options that remains one of the most appealing aspects of La Margarita Express. Offering both traditional Mexican and Salvadoran food, diners can enjoy meals at Express for weeks on end and never order the same thing twice.
Dining at La Margarita Express is truly a pleasure—upon entering customers are quickly greeted and shown to comfortable tables and booths. Before one can even begin to peruse the comprehensive menu, crisp chips and delicious salsas arrive, along with a friendly request as to the choice of beverage. Both Yanira and Ito take great pride in the customer service they provide… returning customers are quickly recognized and greeted as friends…new customers are made to feel immediately welcome and at home.
And as to the food…tacos, enchiladas, burritos, carne asada, wonderful Salvadoran dishes (I personally recommend the camarones entomatados and the tamales and the pollo and the pupusas and…well, everything). With dishes freshly prepared and providing very satisfying portions, customers can expect to leave Express extremely pleased with the food, the service and the cost. My young grandson assures me that “Ito’s burritos are the best in the world”—take that to the bank! In addition, Ito and Yanira offer a wide variety of beverages, both adult and for the younger crowd. With several kinds of margaritas available, customers are sure to find a favorite—I favor the Tres Sauza and my husband is a big fan of the Cazuela, a delicious fruity concoction. If, once you’ve finished your meal and think a little special coffee-something would be nice, ask Yanira to prepare her “café de Yanira” a wonderful rich coffee laced with a combination of liquors only Yanira knows. It’s absolutely delicious and can serve as dessert and after-dinner coffee.
But here’s my personal advice…visit La Margarita Express on Cinco de Mayo—absolutely. But return on your birthday, your sister’s graduation, your nephew’s baptism, your wedding anniversary…in other words, any day is a great time to enjoy this special restaurant tucked into the Equitable Building (across from the bus mall downtown). And if you happen to celebrate Cinco de Mayo there, you might want to wish Ito a happy birthday! Yes, he’ll be working on his birthday, ensuring that your celebration is as rewarding as possible.
La Margarita Express is open seven days a week for both lunch and dinner. Special occasion celebrations are cheerfully accommodated. For large parties, feel free to call ahead for reservations: 503-371-7960.
La Margarita Express
515 Chemeketa St NE
Salem, OR 97301
515 Chemeketa St NE
Salem, OR 97301