Ahh, Mexican food — it’s a favorite for so many people. Luckily for us in the Antelope Valley, we have quite a few choices: from small taco stands to big, beautiful restaurants, which is the case for Medrano’s Mexican Restaurant. 

With restaurants in Palmdale, Lancaster, Quartz Hill and now, Santa Clarita, it’s nice to know that Medrano’s is locally owned and operated by the Medrano family.

My companion and I were at the mall doing a little shopping and since it was time to eat, we drove across the parking lot to Medrano’s. The dinner for two for $30, including a jumbo flaming margarita coupon, brought us in and the ambience, service, experience and delicious food will have us going back. As we walked inside, we were greeted by a smiling host who seated us right away. 

Chips, bean dip and salsa were brought to the table.  It’s not very often you see bean dip offered with the traditional chips and salsa. We thoroughly enjoyed the trio as they had a really great flavor with just the right amount of heat and kick at the end. From the first bite, you could tell these chips were freshly made (hot out of the oven) with just the right amount of salt and crunch. 

We ordered the two jumbo flaming margaritas — one blended and one on the rocks. We couldn’t believe our eyes when they were brought to the table on fire. It was a really pretty sight and everyone in the room was admiring our drinks.

We started off with the guacamole dip from the botanas (appetizers). I’m a fan of lime and avocado. Limes and avocados go hand in hand. Not only do their flavors marry so beautifully — the lime enhances the buttery, rich nature of the avocado, but it also helps keep the pulp green and fresh. It was a very typical Mexican appetizer, but definitely not the typical flavor. It was, as they say, muy bueno.

The dinner for two coupon special (Palmdale location only) consists of two entrees from combinations #1 through #12 (taco, enchilada, burrito, tamale, chile relleno) plus choice of soup or salad, rice and beans. My companion ordered the combination #3 — shredded chicken burrito. It was chock full of delicious, seasoned chicken, covered in cheese and topped with a zesty enchilada sauce. 

The burrito was so big that a knife and fork were in order. He cut off a big chunk for me to taste. Oh my gosh, not only was the presentation beautiful, the flavor was absolutely amazing. He chose the chicken tortilla soup. It had tender, sautéed chicken combined with bold seasonings, chiles, vegetables and corn tortillas, that was hearty and  satisfying.

I ordered the #9 — a shredded beef taco and chile relleno. Once again, the presentation was just as beautiful as it was delicious. I asked to have the taco put on a separate plate, as I didn’t want to have any of the chile relleno interfering with the crunchiness of my taco. 

I chose the salad with Thousand Island dressing, which, as you know, is my favorite. At Mexican restaurants, I typically save  a little and use it on my beans for added flavor. From the meat to the lettuce, to the cheese, this taco was exploding with a wonderful combination of delicious flavors, textures and spices. I enjoyed using the extra cheese and lettuce with a little salsa, to scoop onto my chips. 

Now for the big, thick, overflowing with melted cheese, chile relleno. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of eating a chile relleno, here is the best description of my dish. It’s a slightly spicy Anaheim chile stuffed with Mexican cheese, breaded in a flour-egg mixture and fried to a golden brown, then covered in more cheese and a rich, savory red sauce. It was over the top fabulous and I do mean fabulous. Each bite had a mixture of delicious flavors and just melted in my mouth.  I ate it so fast that before I knew it, it was gone. It was my favorite of the evening. 

We definitely were full from all that food we had just consumed, however, I like to end my meal on a sweet note, so we looked over all the different dessert options. There were nine, to be exact and the choices included deep fried ice cream, cheesecake, carrot cake, chocolate mousse cake, Mexican flan, apple, banana or strawberry chimichangas and sopapillas. We chose the strawberry chimichanga, which is a deep fried tortilla with lots of strawberry filling, cinnamon, mounds of whipped cream and chocolate swirled all over the top. This had the most amazing flavor and was almost too beautiful to eat.

Medrano’s Mexican Restaurant offers catering service for all different occasions and group parties. Plus, party trays to go.

A full bar is featured in all locations with happy hour, entertainment and karaoke (call for the weekly schedule). Medrano’s in Palmdale and Lancaster offers a beautiful Sunday brunch buffet. The address for the Palmdale location on the Antelope Valley Mall Restaurant Row is 1173 W. Rancho Vista Blvd., 661-224-1143; the Lancaster location is at 44276 10th St. West, 661-948-4247; the Quartz Hill location is at 5037 West Ave N, 661-718-1305 and the newest location is at 19319 Soledad Canyon Road, Santa Clarita, 661-367-4945. View the menu and all other info. on the website at www.medranosmexicanfood.com. And as they say on their sign as you enter the restaurant, bienvenidos or welcome.

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