Lupita's obligatory chips and salsa come with flour-based chips instead of the usual cornmeal variety. It's this charming culinary touch that makes Lupita's a unique Mexican dining experience, despite its outdated interior. A round shield of Aztec tribal art hangs on a faded colored wall and across from the open bus station, a painting of the Virgin Mary stares down at diners.
But people don't come to the 19-year-old establishment to lounge in its gray booths or "be seen" gliding against the dented bronze handrails that run throughout the restaurant. Lupita's hooks customers with its solid menu of 30-plus typical Mexican delights ranging from $10-$16, including enchiladas de mole, lathered in a dark and rich homemade sauce, and bistec tampiquena, grilled steak in Lupita's signature sauce with a cheese enchilada and guacamole.
Lupita's also offers a handful of pricier yet mouthwatering specials that change weekly. Try the stuffed pork loin with chorizo, parsley and pine nuts in an adobo mandarin sauce or the sauteed sea scallops in a roasted red pepper sauce. You can't pass on papaya cheesecake, a banana caramel tart or any of the Chef's Choice desserts for only $3.50, and don't forget to sample Lupita's homemade sangria. To get the most out of Lupi, visit her for live music on most Fridays and Saturdays.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Kate Puhala