I had a long day & it was time to board the brown line during rush hour. Clearly, I was excited. After I squeezed myself into the car I found myself between a woman incessantly talking on the phone and a man with no sense of personal space. I can do this, I told myself, just zone out for a bit and I’ll be there in no time. To be fair, I lasted a few stops before an abrupt break sent me flying down the aisle. Naturally, I decided it was time for a drink. I got off at the next stop which happened to be Belmont. I walked a couple blocks checking out my options until I came across a large neon sign stating “Home of the Killer Margaritas”. There might as well been a halo around it because it felt like a sign from heaven.
I walked in and was immediately seated in a comfortable, warmly lit table. Before I could take off my coat a server dropped warm chips and salsa on the table. At this point, I’m feeling pretty good about my decision. My waitress approached me with a menu and without a glance I inform her that I’d like a margarita, and I wouldn’t mind if it were stronger than usual. “What flavor?” she asked. I gave her a blank stare thinking umm MARGARITA FLAVOR, until she flipped the menu over to show me a variety of fruity options. There were flavors varying from passion fruit to tamarindo, frozen or rocks, Midori or Grand Marnier. The best part? The size options are Large, Mega, or Pitcher. This place clearly knows the way to my heart.
I ordered a mega lime margarita on the rocks, with salt. I sat back and took in my surroundings. This place isn’t huge, but it’s not tremendously small either. The neon-lit bar is surprisingly cute and the walls are painted with kitschy Mexican-themed artwork. The atmosphere is casual which was perfect for my worn out drop in. By the time I was done scanning the menu, my fishbowl of margarita was delivered. A welcoming combination of excitement and relief overcame me. I order the grilled tilapia taco entree and dove into my drink. Don’t get me wrong, it is sweet, but it’s strong. I’m surely convinced they use a mix instead of actual lime juice, but for the price, I’m more than satisfied.
Before the meal my server delivered a complimentary cup of soup. The soup isn’t their claim to fame, so I’ll forgive them for the liquefied spaghetti they served. Luckily the chips & salsa are bottomless so those held me over quite nicely. My meal came out and I was pleasantly surprised. People may complain that Cesar’s isn’t an “authentic” Mexican restaurant, and I don’t disagree, nonetheless the food is delicious. The tacos were generously stuffed with tilapia and the sides were hefty portions.
If your appetite is massive, this is the place to go.
Overall, I would recommend Cesar’s for a happy hour joint, a casual date, or a good chat with a friend. After all, it sure beats riding the El at 5pm!
Albany Park, Chicago
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