by Stefanie Powers
Mexican food is probably the hands-down favorite of diners in SWLA, next to our Cajun delights. New restaurants continue to open to keep up with the tastes of the locals who can’t seem to get enough. With Cinco de Mayo on the horizon, let’s look at some of the most popular eateries in town—old and new.
Casa Manana Tex-Mex
A perennial favorite, Casa has been in business since 1976 and has been the go-to place for birthdays, graduations, retirements—you name it! The restaurant is spacious and can accommodate large parties. Casa is known for their yummy frozen margaritas and traditional Tex-Mex food. They also do catering.
2510 Ryan St., Lake Charles
Cancun Mexican Restaurant
Cancun is another old favorite. They’ve been operating for 28 years and have a loyal following. There are lots of options on their lunch menu. Their fish and shrimp fajitas are delicious, along with their margaritas! Give their fajita-style taco salad a try—and you’ll be back for more.
4001 Ryan St., Lake Charles.
Patrón Mexican Grill
Patrón is a new restaurant in the old location of the original Tapatio’s on Gerstner, which shut down after the hurricanes. They’ve kept the same inviting ethnic décor and have an extensive menu. Along with the usual, there are lots of unique steak and seafood dishes to choose from. Molcajete has both—along with cactus!
2624 Gerstner Memorial Dr.,
Lake Charles (337) 475-9022
Tia Juanita’s Fish Camp
Tia Juanita’s originated in Beaumont; the second location opened next door to Luna’s in 2015 and has held its own with consistently good dishes and drink specials. They call their food “Cajun-Mexican Fusion.” Along with Mexican cuisine, there’s gumbo, boudin and shrimp quesadillas, and boudin enchiladas. Don’t miss their Sunday brunch from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
725 Ryan St., Lake Charles
La Rumba, Sulphur and Moss Bluff
La Rumba is a Louisiana chain with great specials: on Mondays, enjoy $1.99 margaritas with your $1.99 ground beef and shredded chicken tacos. Kids 12 and under eat free on Tuesday with a purchase of an adult entrée. Wednesday is Fajita Night,
draft beer is two for one on Thursdays and get ready to sing karaoke on Saturday. Lenten specials include seared salmon and scallop fettucine.
1804 Ruth St., Sulphur (337) 287-4846
173 Old Hwy 171, Moss Bluff
Taco Mel Taqueria, Lake Charles and Sulphur
Taco Mel is a no-frills establishment with locations in South Lake Charles and Sulphur. Here, you can build your own tacos with a tasty assortment of fresh toppings and sauces to choose from. Get creative! Their family taco packs feed four to six people. You can also get quesadillas. Check them out!
2740 C Country Club Rd., Lake Charles (337) 602-6482
2237 Maplewood Dr., Sulphur
Laguna’s Mexican Grill and Cantina
Laguna’s spacious outside eating area is where you want to be. Family Night is Tuesday; kids eat free when an adult orders an entrée (two kids per adult, dine-in only). On Wednesdays, enjoy two-for-one house margaritas, and Happy Hour is Monday-Friday from 4:00-7:00 p.m. At present, they have some tasty Lenten specials, including grilled redfish and salmon, redfish tacos and tuna fajitas.
1201 Lakeshore Dr., Lake Charles (337) 429-5755.
Queen of Tacos Food Truck, Moss Bluff
Mexican street tacos, quesadillas, and more! Check out their FB page regularly to find out their specials and their hours for the day (lunch, dinner, or both). You can call in orders ahead of time so you don’t have to wait, and you can also order from them on Waitr. The Queen has a loyal following and everyone loves the Birria Trio!
627 Sam Houston Jones Parkway, Moss Bluff, (337) 304-3526
Rosita’s, Sulphur and Lake Charles
Rosita’s Mexican Restaurant in Sulphur has been serving their authentic Mexican food since 2007. Try their Caldo de Res,
a hearty bone-in beef and vegetable stew, or their chicharrone plate of spicy pork chunks topped with fresh avocado slices. They are now open for breakfast, starting at 5:00 a.m., Monday through Friday (Sulphur location only). As a bonus, be sure to check out their frozen treats, with over 20 flavors of ice cream and slush that range from the standard chocolate and vanilla to the exotic tamarind, guava and mamey fruit. Their second location, Rosita’s 2, is in Lake Charles.
Rosita’s, 2401 E. Napoleon Dr., Sulphur (337) 533-9077
Rosita’s 2, 3669 5th Ave., Lake Charles (337) 419-1833