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A Glimpse of Guadalajara

Botanas’ Inviting Fare and Furnishings

Jan. 22, 2013
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Botanas looks deceptively small upon entering, but the rambling space contains a number of dining rooms plus a large outdoor patio. Some of the rooms in this popular Mexican restaurant are quite elaborate. The front one has jungle murals with toucans and a jaguar. Decorative clouds are attached to the ceiling and there are hints of Mayan ruins in the wall paintings.

The complimentary tortilla chips are served warm and fresh, accompanied by a tomato-based salsa with a dash of hot pepper. The bill of fare numbers the usual cast of tacos, enchiladas, tamales and a few seafood items including a shrimp soup. Several items stand out, however, on this Guadalajara-inspired menu. One is the enchiladas en mole verde ($13.95) filled with a shredded chicken. The mole verde is subtle and more complex than salsa verde, featuring cilantro, nuts, spinach and spices. Even the basic pork plate lunch ($10.95) has merits with pieces of meat that manage to remain juicy. The tacos al pastor ($10.75) is made from pieces of lean pork in a chili marinade, topped with chopped cilantro, onion and wedges of avocado. This is what a taco al pastor should look like.

Red snapper ($14.95) is prepared two ways: al mojo de ajo or ala diabla. The latter is a fairly mild diabla with sweet red and green peppers, onions and a red color from tomato. There is some chili pepper but not a lot. Still, this is a flavorful entrée served with fried potatoes or rice. The snapper itself is a filet—not a whole fish as served at several local Mexican restaurants—boneless and easy to eat. Most items include the usual refried beans, yellowish rice and a simple salad.

There is a nice front bar decorated with the full Mayan treatment. It stocks a decent selection of Mexican beers (Bohemia is always a favorite) and tequila. Margaritas come in lime juice or fruity varieties with choices like strawberry, banana, peach and watermelon. They are priced according to the grade of tequila used, topping out at $30 per pitcher. The inexpensive lunch specials ($8.95-$9.95) include a cup of black-bean or enchilada soup with a cheesy flavor and tortilla strips. Cheesecake, flan and fried ice cream are available for dessert.

The servers are all experienced, making for a pleasant dining experience even when the place is busy, which it often is. There are local Mexican menus with more breadth and focus, but Botanas knows exactly what the crowds want.



816 S. 5th St.

(414) 672-3755


Not handicap accessible


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