Fun Mexican restaurant in Maryland: La Tolteca

La Tolteca in Aberdeen, Maryland

Maryland’s La Tolteca bridges that middle ground in restaurants between fast casual and fine dining. Doesn’t feel better to eat at a place that doesn’t seem like a half notch above eating in the car? People these days — especially in the Baltimore metro region — demand value, quality and ambiance. Also, Baltimore area folks like a restaurant that doesn’t demand that we get all fussy and dressed up when we eat.

La Tolteca, serving Mexican food, has several restaurants in Harford County, has grown to Baltimore County and now to Baltimore City. City and country folks are bound to appreciate the modest prices, but with lots of flair for the whole family. They have location s convenient to travelers: right off highways, many near hotels.

Bright and cheery, there’s a separate bar area where you can catch the game. The hand-painted chairs and other fixtures show colorful Mexican icons and scenes. The various locations have mostly the same menus, but each have a couple of different items; it’s said that each place is run by a different family member.

It’s the little touches and the decision to make everything from scratch that makes all the difference here. House-made hot tortillas are brought to the table, complimentary.

If you love fresh guacamole the way I do, definitely order it as an appetizer! A server comes with a cart, taking fresh avocados and mixing in your choice of several condiments. A very generous portion is served in a cast-iron, primitive Aztec-looking crock.

Street truck food has been all the rage this year . . . but have you seen Maryland’s streets on the news? Feet and feet of impassable snow! It’s plenty cold, too. Stay comfy and cozy at La Tolteca with their street tacos and nachos.

Lots of people pass up soup in restaurants as perhaps being a tad old-fashioned, but that’s really too bad! Especially this time of year, it’s so warming and satisfying. If you have a cold, it might be good for what ails ya! Their homemade Mexican chicken soup is a meal unto itself. It has a rich broth, good seasoning, huge hunks of chicken and a nutty textured rice.

Their chili rellenos are different from others you may have had: they aren’t battered and fried. Instead, there are several spicy jalapenos baked with lots of cheese and tomato sauce. You really get the vegetal flavor in this dish.

La Tolteca is open for both lunch and dinner.

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