Welcome to another edition of Boomtown Eats with Philip and Jared. The guys did not venture very far this week nor did they venture to a restaurant that many in El Dorado and the surrounding area aren’t aware of and haven’t frequented often.
We had a hankering for some southern dishes. And when we say southern, we mean deep deep south. You may have guessed it by now, we chose one of the local favorite Mexican restaurants with a few locations throughout southern Arkansas and that restaurant is Antigua’s Grill.
Both Jared and Philip have visited Antiguas several times before and thought maybe some of you would enjoy a review of some their favorite dishes and maybe encourage you to try something out of the ordinary, rather than their delicious tacos and quesadillas.
Antigua’s Grill is owned and operated by Michel Sanchez. Antiguas moved locations in El Dorado from the old Econo Lodge hotel on Junction City Road to its new location at 2422 N. West Ave. in November 2014. Antigua’s in El Dorado has a sister restaurant in Magnolia that opened in May 2010, which is also owned by Michel.
As a family operated restaurant it is easy to see why so many people love visiting Antigua’s for lunch or dinner any day of the week. Most recently, Antigua’s has updated their inside bar and patio. The newly renovated patio opened just a few short weeks ago. Both Michel and his father renovated the patio adding another wonderful atmospheric scene in which one can enjoy some wonderful Mexican food.
A quick note before we begin with which dishes they guys chose this week. Jared is proud of the Arkansas heritage he claims. So he would be remiss if he did not share a bit of knowledge about one of his favorite appetizers to eat at most Mexican restaurants.
Once again you may have guessed what it is. That’s right, it’s White Queso Dip and chips. It is a little known fact that many contest, but we as Arkansans have to cling to whatever claims to fame we can muster up. The usual thicker soup-like consistency of white queso dip is claimed to have originated from a man in North Little Rock by the name of Blackie Donnely who started the famous chain of restaurants called Mexico Chiquito in 1935. Since 1935, Donnely has opened several more restaurants in Central Arkansas and their queso dip is world famous.
But on to the dishes!
This time Jared chose the California Burrito. A local special burrito that is sure to not disappoint. The California Burrito is a hefty portioned burrito that is stuffed with your choice of steak, chicken or ground beef. Jared went all out and chose the steak, cooked medium well. Also, the dish comes with a side of rice and beans. The California burrito was stuffed with hearty pieces of ribeye steak, sour cream, pico de gallo, guacamole and lettuce. This burrito is the combination of all the quintessential side dishes for a typical Mexican entree mixed in one flour tortilla covered with delicious white queso.
From the first bite to the last, Jared couldn’t help but continue to enjoy its luscious flavor and inviting taste until sadly it was gone. The pico de gallo mixed throughout the burrito gives it a little spicy kick, but not too overpowering for most people as the sour cream and guacamole gives it a bit of easement. The steak was cooked to perfection and flavored just enough to make nearly anyone want for more. The rice and beans were delicious as well. Jared is a frequent patron of Antigua’s and the rice and beans are always a side dish he orders, even if it is not included in the dish.
Antigua’s has been and continues to be a great place to look for plant-based options. Philip ordered the “Enchiladas Alejandra,” an off-menu special so named for a loyal patron who first ordered the dish several months ago. It features two vegetable enchiladas, stuffed with sauteed onions and bell peppers and drenched in salsa verde, a green salsa that it is only mildly spicy and features tangy notes of lime and tomatillo. Tender slices of avocado are arranged on top of the enchiladas for added flavor and texture, and the dish is served with a side of the quintessential rice and beans.
Other plant-based options include the “Nachos Felipe” - nacho chips smothered in refried beans, rice, salsa and grilled mushrooms if desired, without queso - and vegetable tacos which are filled with rice, beans, grilled vegetables and salsa, also without cheese or meat.
Antigua’s is, without a doubt, one of the most familiar, comfortable and consistent local dining experiences in El Dorado. A local favorite for many, the team at Antigua’s have repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to help, accommodate and provide a quality and delicious meal for everyone.
But don’t take our word for it - visit Antigua’s and see for yourself - and we’ll be back next month with more mouth-watering servings from the local dining scene!
Philip Shackelford and Jared Smith have been eating for their entire lives. Questions or suggestions can be sent to email@example.com.