Los Cuates - Dinner Under $20 in North Raleigh

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The first phrase I ever learned in beginner’s Spanish class was “muchacho, tengo hambre!” Boy, I’m hungry! That phrase comes to mind every time I enter Los Cuates Mexican Restaurant. Halfway through the burrito, my mouth wants more, but my stomach warns “no más no más!”

The routine at Los Cuates is to place your order from the menu board above the counter and then grab a table. If it’s your first visit and there’s a line, you might want to grab a printed menu and sit down and study it for a few minutes. Unlike Taco Bell, which to my knowledge still doesn’t serve lengua burrito (beef tongue) the menu is fairly extensive.

Drinks are self-serve except for beer and the Mexican juices and Jarritos which are bottled and served from a beverage cooler behind the counter. After the waitress brings you a basket of tortilla chips, stroll on over to the small serving buffet for some salsa. They’re all quite fiery, but they’re so good I just keep dipping my chips and burning my tongue.

My absolute favorite dish is the fish taco; the crispy fish is generously portioned and pretty much overwhelms the tortilla. Think of the tortilla as an edible napkin. Shredded cabbage and a sprinkling of pico de gallo top the masterpiece.

Eat one carne asada burrito and you won’t have to dine again for two days. The burritos are tightly rolled so they’re easy to eat. Stuffed with grilled steak, guacamole and salsa, they’re the real deal.

Los Cuates is right around the corner so it’s a favorite lunch spot for my husband and me, but you can dine there any time of day. Breakfast is served all day and feature dishes such as huevos rancheros, steak rancheros and chorizo special burritos filled with Mexican sausage, potatoes and eggs - $3.89.

There are twenty two different combination plates; all are under eight dollars except for the shrimp which is $8.98. Fajitas are also priced reasonably. Menudo, pozole and caldo de camaron (shrimp soup) are served on Saturdays and Sundays.

Take my advice and visit Los Cuates, pronto! I guarantee you’ll tell me “gracias” afterwards.

(Susan Ely)

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