Cielito Lindo offers economical alternative

If you are looking for a change from Chartwells food and don’t want to go far for something great, Cielito Lindo is within walking distance of campus, the prices are low and the food is good.

The walls are painted orange with patches of faux-exposed brick, with sombreros, crescent moons and sun décor.  A separate bar area with a couple of televisions, tables and booths and hanging terra-cotta flower pots that serve as hanging lamps above the tables, with vines for cords complete the look.

The lunch buffet is only $6.99 and includes a plethora of choices, including white cheese sauce and guacamole.  When other restaurants more than $2 for a side of guacamole at other restaurants, this is a deal in itself. In addition to the awesome dips, they have fajitas, hard tacos, soft tacos, tostadas, quesadillas and taquitos with various topping and sides, all for your personalization on the buffet.

Not only is the lunch buffet pretty awesome, their regular menu offers some extra special items as well.

They offer fajitas, as do other Mexican restaurants, but they add a little break from the norm with Hawaiian fajitas. These come with beef strips, chicken, shrimp and pineapple. The restaurant also offers strips of beef, chicken and shrimp with chorizo in their Mexicanas Fajitas.  None of the fajitas are priced more than $15.

The entrees are anywhere from $5.99 to $20. You can order a dish called “A Little Of Everything,” which comes with one taco, one enchilada, one chalupa, one chile relleno, one tamale and rice and beans. This is a huge dish that comes with two heaping plates of food and with the complimentary chips and salsa will definitely left me stuffed and with extra to take home.

The complimentary chips and salsa are average of what you get at most Mexican restaurants. As soon as I was seated, the waiter brought some over for me to enjoy while I scanned the menu.  The salsa isn’t too thin, like some, and the cilantro was noticeable, but not overpowering.  The spice was extremely mild, and I didn’t detect any hotness at all.

I ordered the Yolandas on the specialty entrees section. It comes with three chicken enchiladas smothered in guacamole and brown sauce. It also comes with a side of rice.  The brown sauce had a hint of nutmeg which was surprising and welcome with the meatiness of the chicken. They top the whole thing with shredded white cheese which is stringy and gooey when hot and the perfect touch.   The guacamole was my favorite part, because it was chunky and had tomatoes in it.  The combination of ingredients were balanced and no one flavor overcame the other.

If you would like to check out Cielito Lindo, it’s open seven days a week and is very close to campus, so even if you live on campus and don’t have a car, it is easily accessible.  The address is 2222 S.W. Washburn Ave.