Sunday, July 13, 2008

Los Portales

There's a lot of water between Florida and Mexico so the population of both Mexican people and restaurants in Jacksonville is less than what you would find as you venture closer to the border. One pleasant side effect of the limited variety is that the overall quality of the few local establishments is typically better.

Los Portales is very close to my work and I had been meaning to stop by for quite some time but I'm usually rather weary of Mexican restaurants and find myself subconsciously avoiding them. Mexican cuisine relies heavily on some ingredients I absolutely love: tomatoes, jalapenos, beans, peppers, onions, and avocados. It's the overabundant use of oils and fried things that turn me off in the end and force me to minimize my trips to Mexican restaurants.

pollo mexicana

We were actually driving past Los Portales one day we decided on a whim to give it a try. After a few moments and a few inches of tire tread we entered the almost empty restaurant (weekends are slow for the businesses in that vicinity) and were shown to our seats. In accordance with the customs of the Mexican restaurant, we were given tortilla chips and salsa to keep us occupied until our food arrived. To my delight, the salsa was fresh, made at the restaurant, and pleasantly spicy so I proceeded to shovel it into my mouth using the same chip over and over again as a progressively deteriorating spoon.

Our food didn't take long to arrive and was subject to an immediate attack. We were well into mauling it before I remembered that I ought to take a couple pieces of photographic evidence to document the experience. I didn't eat much of the enchilada but the few bites I had were rather delicious. My "pollo mexicana" was absolutely fabulous. Perfectly sauteed chicken smothered in tomatoes, onions, jalapenos; fairly lean and very flavorful; a bit of a departure from what is typically associated with Mexican cuisine.


As one may concur from the photographs, we were wholly satisfied with the quality of the food. The small bill also elicited a couple chuckles and was duly padded to show appreciation for the fast and courteous service. This is not a Mexican restaurant I'd be inclined to avoid in the future.

Los Portales
4100 Belfort Rd
Jacksonville, FL 32216

Los Portales on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Breezy Beach Wear said...

Love the review! My husband and I are big fans of Los Portales as well and were pleasantly surprised with the food and prices. It is the closest thing to California Mexican I have found since moving to the Sunshine State!