Old Town Fort Collins’ Zquila a newly added hot-spot

020113_ZequilaBy Greg Mees

It’s rare to find a restaurant where, with every single bite, your taste buds want bust out into the Mexican Hat Dance.

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The recent grand opening of Zquila Mexican Restaurant in Old Town is the place to head if your mouth is in the mood for a fiesta. Zequila has two locations, with the other being on Harmony Road just east of Timberline Road.

From the get-go, I had a feeling I was about to have a good time. We were seated quickly, with chips and salsa not far behind.

I looked down at the marinara-looking salsa and thought, “Oh here we go. This is one of those places.” However, with the first bite, my tongue was caught off guard. It had one helluva kick, but wasn’t so spicy that it ruined the flavor that you want with good salsa.

After that first bite I needed some relief. Lucky thing margaritas were already on their way. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: I’m a huge marg fan. And a River down the road has some competition Grande. I ordered the Pink Cadillac per recommendation of the server and after it, or any of the nearly two-dozen margs on the menu, you definitely don’t want to be driving any colored car. It was not as sweet as Colleen’s, but had a subtle citrus and fruity flavor from the Gran Marnier and cranberry juice.

Not only was deciding on a drink difficult, but picking what to eat proved challenging too. I settled on the chicken enchiladas asadas. I was surprised by the portion of food, but also by the fact that the chicken wasn’t shredded. The enchiladas were packed tight with chunks of plump chicken that cooked perfectly and smothered in a green chile.

It only takes one time to ruin feelings on a restaurant , but at the same time it only takes one time to know that it will soon be on your list of favorites. I have always had strong feelings toward Mexican restaurants and said that you can always tell a good place by their chips, salsa and rice. And Zquila has them all.

So if you’re craving Mexican food and haven’t checked out this new addition to the Old Town scene, it’s a relaxed atmosphere to grab a bite, big or small, and a drink with a group of friends.

By Colleen McSweeney

Food doesn’t need to do much to win over my heart. A couple sweet nothings whispered by a McDouble, and I’m smitten. But like Greg, I do appreciate the beauty of a quality meal, and if I had an unlimited budget, I’d indulge in the breadth of Fort Collins restaurants every night.

However, like most people reading this (not you, Oprah), my budget is far from unlimited. In fact, it’s McDonald’s-Dollar-Menu-limited. So if I’m going to spend more than $1.06 on a meal, I would hope that the food is worth it. After my first meal there, I’d say the food at Zquila — and most definitely the margaritas — are indeed worth the splurge.

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Most entrees on the menu averaged around $11, but if Greg’s enchiladas were any indication, the portions at Zquila are pretty affectionate. I just happened to have eaten like eating was replacing breathing earlier that day, so I just ordered avocados rellenos from the tapas menu.

Even though it’s pretty tricky to mess up the majestic combination of a creamy avocado stuffed with spicy grilled shrimp, crisp bacon and melted jack cheese, Zquila, well, yes — they didn’t mess it up. The appetizer sized portion was muy delicioso and I think Whitney Houston is singing about a similar dish in “I Will Always Love You.”

Now, if food isn’t really your thing, or if margaritas are just really, really your thing, I would come to Zquila just for those beautiful tequila cocktails. Seriously. Wow. Olé. I ordered the house Zquila Margarita on the rocks, and it was just the right amount of sweet and fresh-lime tart. After just one, I temporarily thought I was Shakira. And that, of course, is when I know a margarita is done right.