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The Tap is the quintessential dive bar and restaurant, with cheap food, drinks and a loud jukebox, it doesn't get any more authentic than this. The place is filled with locals and regulars but the bartender treats even new customers like family. The interior transports guests to what seems like 1994, but most come in for the low prices. Expect a mixed crowd, from business folk to hipsters and tourists.
El Jacalito is a great Mexican restaurant located in the downtown area of El Paso. If you're looking for diner style food that's cheap and delicious, this is the place to be. They serve breakfast and lunch and the menu includes soups, tacos, tortillas, steak and much more. The Tlalpeño soup and chips with salsa are recommended and if you can't decide what to get, just call for a Mexican platter that has a little of everything. The flavors are perfectly combined and have a kick that only Mexican food can give. The restaurant staff is professional and prompt and the service is definitely as good as the food.
L&J Cafe is considered one of the best Mexican food restaurants on the northern side of the border. Around since the 1920s, its throwback retro sign lets visitors know what's in store for them inside, which is simple, unpretentious Mexican food. They are known for their green chile enchiladas and it has been run by the same family for over three generations, so you know the recipes are authentic. Other items on the menu include tacos, burritos, salads, tortas (sandwiches) and specialties like the Chicken Tampiqueña. If you try the enchiladas and like the salsa atop them, don't forget to ask your server for a can of the stuff in green or red.
This local Mexican/American fast-food joint with several locations in the El Paso area is known for its three flautas (rolled tacos) draped in cheddar cheese and drenched in a semi-spicy tomato sauce. Chicos is not in the least pretentious, in fact every menu item is meant to be less than gourmet and calorie-laden, however that's part of the fun. Another unorthodox menu item is their round hot-dog served on a hamburger bun and the crinkle-cut fries are definitely better than most fast-food places.
Kiki's Mexican Restaurant is a no-frills, typical Southwest spot that serves massive portions of mediocre Tex-Mex at great prices. Inside, the decor is a bit dated, however the staff usually makes up for the anachronistic ambiance with their staid charm. Nonetheless, the prices are perfect for groups, try the Crab Enchiladas, the Fajitas or the Machaca (shredded beef) plates, they are big enough for two or three. At Kiki's most people can eat a tremendous amount of food without breaking the bank and since the place is quite small, it tends to fill up pretty quick during lunch and dinner.
This quasi famous cantina located near the border of New Mexico is most famous for its association with Marty Robbins, the country singer known for his song 'El Paso' in which he mentions it. Upon first glance it doesn't appear to be much, however the food and cold beer inside make up for it. So sit back, listen to the Marty Robbins song at least once, sip your Lone Star and enjoy.
This restaurant is located several miles from downtown, but it's extremely convenient if you're staying near the El Paso Airport. The original location was in nearby Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, but in 1981 the family-owned business decided to move over the border to its present spot. The menu has typical Mexican dishes like guacamole, quesadillas, tacos, tostadas and a few specialty plates like Cochinita Pibil (roasted pork made with achiote and citrus) or the Chicken Mole Poblano. The prices are amazingly low for the amount of food and service is always prompt, overall a nice place to stretch your cash.