At the suggestion of a friend, I thought I would review a La Nopalera. While La Nopalera is a staple Mexican restaurant in Jacksonville, be warned, they are like snowflakes. Each one is so different that you might question if they are even the same chain. More review after the video:
8206 Philips Hwy
Jacksonville, FL. 32256
Location: In the shopping center with Scan Design and Woody’s BBQ on the corner of Philips Hwy & Baymeadows.
Food:The giant white thing in the video covered in a white cheese sauce is what my wife orders every time, the California Burrito (this isn’t served at every La Nopalera). We both noticed that this thing has gotten bigger and bigger every time we come here. It is a traditional burrito, she had chicken as the protein. She likes this particular burrito because it has lettuce on the inside to give it a texture/crunch to it. My only concern with that is, of course you can’t eat this whole thing in one sitting so you will be bringing it home and microwaved lettuce is just sad. Who wants sad lettuce? Not me. My wife thought it was overly salted this time but usually it is perfect. I went with the fajita quesadilla and you can see from the picture that is huge too! Is this a typical serving size when it comes to Mexican food? I have been to South America but not Mexico so I’m not sure. Where was I…oh yeah, the fajita. It was a mix of steak, chicken, green peppers, onions, tomatoes (not on mine, you will never see me eat tomatoes, sorry) and of course, cheese. It doesn’t come pre-cut so it’s all up to you to cut it, I wouldn’t attempt to pick it up and eat it whole. While the meat and veggies were tasty, I though the cheese was kind of nasty. It tasted like very low end cheese. Don’t skimp on the cheese folks! Lots of flavor can be had with it. I think I will skip this on my next trip and just opt for the straight fajitas. I do like food that I get to assemble and modify sizes on my own. It makes me feel important. And finally, the chips and salsa was good. Oh and their frozen margaritas were pretty good. It was 2 for 1 so me and the wife each had one, very tasty.
Extra Info: We walked in on a Saturday night and while it was very busy, there was no wait. We got seated in a booth almost immediately. The decor is typical of most Mexican restaurants in Jacksonville but I did notice that the booths are starting to show some wear and tear. My wife’s seat had rips in it. Time for an update! One other thing to note, while the chips and salsa are usually being set on the table the minute you sit down, not this time. We had our drinks from the bar before the chips even made an appearance. Not a big deal but I’m just used to chips arriving quickly. No biggie. Along those lines, our service was pretty poor as well (not typical here). It appeared our waitress was also working the bar so we rarely saw her. Luckily I had good company so the time between service was passed quickly. And the last thing I wanted to bring up: this is one of the two La Nopalera that had some legal issues with the Department of Labor and their wait and cook staff. Apparently they weren’t paying overtime to their employees and now have to pay back over $500,000 plus a $350,000 penalty. That’s a lot of margarita upsells! The press release from the DoL can be read here: Press Release
For other Mexican restaurant reviews, check out: