Mexican food is widely popular in the United States. Why? Maybe it’s the spiciness or the fact that cheese does make everything better. Either way, there is no shortage of great restaurants serving affordable and authentic Mexican cuisine here in Thurston County.

budd bay promotionsThe Mayan Mexican Restaurants, with three locations in Lacey, take pride in fresh food, excellent customer service, and a family-friendly atmosphere. The most popular menu items are Carne Asada, Borrego, and Arroz con Pollo. For something uniquely Mexican, try the Cocktail de Camarones. With lunch specials from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. there is an awesome deal at The Mayan seven days a week. Also, look for the Valpak coupons in your mailbox where The Mayan has coupons frequently.

Poco’s Tacos in Lacey features a large menu for a smaller place. With huge portions at unbelievable prices, it is a thrifty option for the truly hungry. In the morning or any time really, try the super yummy breakfast burrito. Other favorites include handmade tamales and chile rellenos. Find unique dishes such as the Tacos Dorados, the exclusive Cowboy and Seahawk Burritos with two kinds of meat, Asada Fries, and the California Burrito which features French fries, carne asada, avocado, cheese, and Mexican sour cream. And no one serves fish tacos as Paco’s Tacos does with homemade fish sauce.

El Sarape
El Sarape opened in 1978 and has remained family owned since the beginning. Photo courtesy: El Sarape

El Sarape Family Mexican Restaurants in Lacey, Olympia, and Tumwater serve homemade Mexican recipes with fresh and delicious ingredients in a sophisticated atmosphere. The beef is 100% certified Angus. Even the house margaritas are made with 100% agave tequila. Watch for an all-new vegan and vegetarian menu. El Sarape offers a military discount and a happy hour menu. Come in for Taco Tuesdays with tacos starting at just one dollar. Customer favorites include the famous street tacos, carne asada, and fajitas.

Don Juan’s Mexican Kitchen in Tenino offers specialty dishes like the famous Don Juan Tacos, Chile Verde, Chile Negro or Mole, all made from family recipes. Customers love the Tinga, with roasted tomato, chipotle, chorizo, onion, and shredded chicken served with refried beans, rice, and tortillas. Don Juan’s takes pride in their five different salsas – verde, jalapeño, orange, aji, habanero and ranchera. The Wet Burrito with the orange sauce made with chile de arbol is amazing. Unique to Don Juan’s is that they love educating customers and bring out samples of specialty dishes and hot sauces. Try a meal with a margarita made with organic lime juice, El Charro Tequila, and fresh fruit.

Taqueria La Esquinita Mexican Kitchen
Taqueria La Esquinita Mexican Kitchen is unique in serving a wide variety of seafood made using recipes from Mexican coastal regions that typically aren’t found in most other menus. Photo courtesy: Taqueria La Esquinita Mexican Kitchen

Taqueria La Esquinita Mexican Kitchen specializes in Mexican street food, and is passionate about the kinds of foods to eat with friends over light conversation and good drinks. With a dining room in Lacey and taco truck locations in south Thurston County, customers love the authentic tacos made with locally sourced ingredients and fresh topping options. The huge burritos are addictive and filling, or find traditional Mexican favorites such as tamales, tortas, mulitas, and sopes. The awesome lunch special features one entrée and one canned soda for $9.99 every day.

La Mansion Mexican Restaurant in Lacey specializes in seafood dishes but also features menu items with beef, pork, and chicken made with high-quality ingredients. On Taco Tuesdays, fill up for $5.99 with four tacos and a soda. Enjoy Camarones para Pelar (peel and eat shrimp) for $15 served with homemade red salsa. With weekly specials, there is always a deal at this unique restaurant with menu items not found elsewhere.

Peppers Mexican Restaurant in downtown Olympia offers handcrafted salsas and delicious Mexican food dishes. For lunch, try the Smothered Burrito or for dinner don’t miss the Crab Enchiladas. Find coupons good until April 30 in Community Values Magazine for $3 off delivery or take-out orders of $20 or more. For dine-in meals, find a coupon for buy one lunch or dinner entrée and two drinks and get the second entrée of equal or lesser value for 50% off.

Don Juan's Tenino Staff
Don Juan’s takes pride in preparing everything fresh to order. Every morning Head Chef and Owner Eva together with Anita, Lucila, and Laura prepare specialty dishes and hot sauces. Photo credit: Don Juan’s

At Puerto Vallarta Restaurant in Yelm, find delicious and affordable lunch and dinner options daily with drink specials in a festive atmosphere. The all-you-can-eat Taco Bar is available at lunch for $9.99. There are senior and low-calorie menu items and plenty of vegetarian options. All served with fresh tortillas. Try the Molcajete for one or two for dinner. Puerto Vallarta offers fun entertainment unlike any other restaurant around. Make it an affordable date night with fun events like paint nights, live comedy, and DJ night.

Ramirez Mexican Store in Tumwater offers the very best in Mexican cuisine, grocery, and non-food products. Their affordable menu features plenty of yummy options such as the Burrito Crunch or Ramirez Bowl. For a really thrifty meal, pick up the ingredients to make an authentic Mexican meal at home. Ramirez Mexican Store offers items like homemade tortillas made daily and even has meat like asada, el pastor, and carnitas. Grab some yummy Mexican pastries for dessert.

For a culinary experience in delicious Mexican food, you don’t have to go south of the border. Next time you’ve got a craving for Mexican cuisine, try one of these great restaurants. They all offer something that is affordable and unique.

Thrifty Thurston highlights inexpensive family fun in Thurston County. The weekly series focuses on family-friendly activities throughout our community. If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at submit@thurstontalk.com. For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater and the surrounding area, visit our complete events calendar.

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