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Midtown’s El Adobe Café is a longtime favorite

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All Mexican restaurants are created equal.

There’s a lie that couldn’t be further from the truth. But yet, it seems to be something I hear now and again.

Countless Mexican restaurants throughout Reno are proof of this statement’s falsity, including El Adobe Café, a locals’ favorite in Reno’s Midtown, and one I only learned about recently thanks to the impressive number of foodies I claim in my inner circle.

Located just a touch off of South Virginia Street, the Arroyo Street establishment rarely has a wait, yet everyone who has lived in Reno for a long time has not only heard of it, but likely has a story or two to tell.

el-adobe-chips-and-salsa
If you can’t handle the heat, be sure to order a side of guacamole to go with your chips at El Adobe Café in Reno, Nev. Image: Bob Conrad / This Is Reno

A lot of the menu does cover your basics—burritos, tacos, enchiladas, etc. Everything comes out smothered in sauce and melted cheese (unless otherwise requested) with generous helpings of rice and beans. The street tacos are just what you’d expect, with quality ingredients and plenty of meat piled into those little tortillas.

The happy hour may be the establishment’s biggest draw. Available 4-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, house margaritas will run you just $8 while you can grub on chicken and beef tacos, two for $4.95. Beers ($4-6), cheese nachos and quesadillas ($7.95 each) are also available at discounted prices during this little window of time each weekday.

If you’re interested in going off the happy hour menu, there’s not an item I can recommend more than the birria taco. Served face up, street-style and loaded with cilantro, onion and juicy, tender birria, just a couple of these bad boys and you’ll be full. However, it’s also small enough that you could add it on to any other menu item, especially if you skipped the rice and beans.

There’s a birria soup on the menu, as well, which I’ve yet to try, but if the birria taco is any indication of its quality, I’d feel justified recommending it to a friend. And it rounds out a list of warm Mexican soups perfect for the winter season in Reno, including menudo, pork posole, chile Colorado/verde and albondigas. 

Like any establishment of its kind, a gorgeous basket of warm tortilla chips and a side of red salsa will be dropped before you order. My only note here is that the chips are delicious and the salsa is spicy (even if anyone insists it is not). If you’re not one who can take the heat, do everyone a favor and order a side of guacamole to dip into instead. 

Beyond the food, the atmosphere is warm and inviting. It feels like your small-town restaurant even just a hop, skip and a jump from bustling Midtown. And on a cold and dreary day, it’s hard to find an activity more romantic than a couple of Cadillac margaritas shared at a private booth where you feel a little bit invisible amongst the masses (but in the best way possible—the service is top notch, we swear!).

el-adobe

Details

55 West Arroyo, Reno, Nev. 89509
775-327-4422
Monday – Friday 11 a.m. to ???
Saturday – Sunday 10 a.m. to ???

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Nora Tarte
Nora Tarte
Nora Heston Tarte is a long-time Reno resident living on the southside of town. In addition to food, her hobbies include wine, hiking, yoga and travel. She is also the managing editor of a regional, lifestyle publication and freelances for other publications most frequently in the travel space. Nora received her bachelor's in Journalism from California State University, Sacramento before graduating from University of Nebraska, Lincoln with a master’s in Professional Journalism. You can follow her travel adventures, and local exploits, on her Instagram account @wanderlust_n_wine.

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