By The Old Town Crier
Del Ray’s Los Tios Grill
With Cinco de Mayo being celebrated in May, we thought it would be appropriate to feature one of our local Mexican themed eateries. While Los Tios isn’t a traditional Mexican restaurant, it features some of the most popular Tex-Mex and Salvadorean food in the area.
Los Tios has long been one of our favorite places for good margaritas and some of the freshest corn chips and salsa around. On top of that, the wait staff are some of the best so the service is spot on. We usually sit at the bar since you can be seated and served right away – the place normally has a line out the door for a table during the dinner hour and on weekends. This is a good sign that the place is worth the visit since it is a huge restaurant. There are two large dining rooms in addition to the bar that has high top seating as well as bar seating and sidewalk dining that takes up almost half of the block.
We love the décor. The color scheme and the multiple paintings on the walls and the various wall hangings all with a Mexican theme make you feel like you are actually in Mexico and points beyond. One of the best pieces of “décor” in the bar area is something that I call the “Tequila Tree”. I believe that it really is a replica of an Agave plant turned in to a tequila holder. Anyway, we think they are cool.
If you are a big fan of the margarita, this is the place for you. Margaritas come in two sizes and are offered both on the rocks and frozen. We named them “Grande” and “Rio Grande” and opt for the “regular” house Marg with whatever tequila they use but you have your choice of 21 – yes, 21 – brands. You can also have them in a variety of flavors – sangria, gold, grand gold, strawberry, blackberry, matrimonio, mango, and baja! You’ll have to ask what a couple of those entail! They also have a nice selection of Mexican beers and serve a great Mojito. Wine lovers have a couple of choices but if you are a serious wine drinker, you might want to jump on the margarita band wagon.
The menu is extensive and we won’t go in to everything that they offer since you can check it out in its entirety online. You will find your Mexican favorites and some additional Salvadorean specialties the likes of Carne Deshilada. The only drawback to the menu is that they don’t offer anything ala carte. I imagine that if you ask, you can get a combo of your choice that isn’t listed in the combos on the menu and pass on the sides. They are all about customer service.
Drinks and dinner are both started out with a complimentary basket of fresh house made corn chips and salsa fresca. They have a killer Chile con Queso and the house made Guacamole are great additions to the chips. Worth the splurge for sure. On this trip we had Tacos Los Tios off of the Platos Tipicos section of the menu and a combo of chicken and beef Fajitas. The Tacos Los Tios is offered with beef or chicken and with soft or hard corn tortillas. I always get the beef because I really like the marinade and go back and forth between the soft and hard tortillas. Accompanying this entrée are Mexican rice, refried beans, lettuce, Pico de Gallo, quacamole and sour cream. If you are a traditional taco fan, this is the order for you. The fajitas come in a bunch of combos on and above just chicken and beef. You have your choice of everything from shrimp to chorizo with bbq ribs in between. We opted for a chicken and beef combo. Bob was a little disappointed this time since the onions and peppers were a tad over-cooked and the beef a bit on the chewy side (this isn’t normally the case) but the flavors were still intact. They are served sizzling on a cast iron platter accompanied by fresh flour tortillas, refried beans, Mexican rice, Pico de Gallo, lettuce, quacamole and sour cream. The portions are good sized but not so overwhelming that you end up taking half of it home. We were so full we couldn’t even entertain the thought of dessert but they have a great selection. Traditional choices of fried ice cream, sopaipillas, tres leches, fried bananas with ice cream and flan as well as key lime pie and cheese cake. Next time we are saving room for the fried ice cream!
In addition to dinner, Los Tios offers lunch specials that are served from 11am to 3pm and Happy Hour runs Monday through Friday. If you are at a table the hours are 3-5pm and if you are at the bar, 4-7pm. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday 11am-2pm.
Los Tios is definitely a family restaurant so if you are looking for a more adult atmosphere, go there later in the evening or in the middle of the afternoon. It can get quite loud when the place is packed on a weekend night or on “Movie Night” in Del Ray.
In addition to the Del Ray store, they have another location on Van Dorn Street and one in Leesburg, VA (Dos Tequilas Grill).
Los Tios Grill
2615 Mount Vernon Avenue