On a recent trip to Fort Belvoir, I had the opportunity to try some of the local fare, and I ate at El Paso Mexican restaurant more than once (I won’t tell you how many times). My husband grew up in El Paso (Fort Bliss really), so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try a restaurant named for the town. El Paso Mexican Restaurant is just a short drive from the base at 8746 Cooper Road in Alexandria. It’s not too far from the Hampton Inn on Richmond Highway. The restaurant in Alexandria is one of four locations. The other three locations are in Fairfax, Springfield, and Woodbridge.
I can always tell if a Mexican restaurant is going to be a good restaurant by the quality of the Margaritas. A good Margarita has just the right mix of Cointreau and Tequila. It’s not watered down nor is it saturated with a lemon lime mixer. These were just right and were perfect for washing down the tasty chips and salsa (not that I drank too many). I tried the Con Queso dip on another night, and it too is a good side to serve with a Margarita. I have a friend who says he can tell if a Mexican restaurant is a good restaurant by the quality of the cheese enchiladas. Hmm. Taste testing Margaritas seems like a better choice.
The restaurant is adorned in what you’d expect to see in a Mexican restaurant. It’s colorful and decorative in old cantina style with colorful walls, tile floors, decorative chairs and wall tiles. There’s a bar, and plenty of tables and booths. The restaurant offers military discounts and is kid friendly. (I can’t remember, but I think kids eat free on Tuesdays.) The staff is warm and friendly and attentive. The atmosphere is comfortable and inviting.
The food is authentic Mexican and is prepared fresh daily. The menu offers many of the traditional dishes that you’d expect to find at a Mexican restaurant and then some. There are a number of steak and seafood dishes, lunch specials, and vegetarian dishes. I tried the Tacos Mexicano on one visit and the Steak El Paso on another visit. The quality of the food was quite good, and the quantity was more than enough for one person (I had to ask for a take out containers on more than one occasion). Check out the complete menu here.
Besides taste testing Margaritas, I always try the sopapilla. I have high expectations for sopapilla, and I find that I’m often disappointed. While I found the choco flan to be delicious, the sopapilla were over cooked and a bit rubbery. I might order them again, just to compare experiences, or perhaps to find them likeable.
Prices are more than reasonable for the quantity and quality of the food at El Paso’s. Seems like a good place to go after work with friends for a round of drinks and a few appetizers. It’s certainly an affordable family restaurant.
El Paso’s is well worth the visit. If you’re ever in the Fort Belvoir area, give El Paso’s a try. I bet you’ll find yourself there on more than one occasion. You can check them out on the web here.