Is it just me, or are there no really good, authentic Mexican restaurants in Sacramento? I’ve tried a few places but they all seem to be nothing short of an El Pollo Loco or a Chipotle. Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some Chipotle, but I shouldn’t feel like I’m on a quest for food my mom can make right at home. The problem is my mother lives nearly 200 miles away. (However, that still didn’t stop me from getting two dozen of her annual homemade Christmas tamales.)
But alas! The quest comes near a close. Could it be possible that I have found the needle in a haystack? The Holy Grail, NAY! The Holy Frijol-y of them all? Well, I can’t say it’s the place I’ve been searching for since moving to Sac, but it did strike a chord in my foodie heart. It’s a place called Carmelita’s Mexican Restaurant.
Keep your eyes open on the corner of Fair Oaks and Sunrise, because this place really is a hidden gem. As you walk through the double doors, you are welcomed with the Latin sounds of Celia Cruz and Tito Puente, salsa music’s biggest stars. The décor is reminiscent of a vacation hot spot in Cancun, Mexico. Metal artwork, tropical green plants and hanging ripe mangos take you off to a far way land.
Fresh corn tortilla chips, zesty chipotle salsa and fresh pico de gallo await you as you are seated at your table. I suggest trying Carmelita’s Top Shelf Margarita, served with Cazadores Tequila Anejo. It wasn’t impressive at first, but boy, don’t let it fool you.
I had the tacos with carne asada served with beans and rice, which were nowhere near the flavor of what a taco truck can offer, but were still very delicious. The menu was simple, reasonable, and for the most part, all looked very tasty. They even had flan! You don’t see that too often in bigger Mexican food restaurants.
The wait staff was nice and attentive and the bartender was generous. I would definitely suggest this place to anyone looking for good Mexican food, and will honestly eat there again. However, my quest will continue in finding the Holy Frijol-y in Sac.
Family owned since 1962, with two locations in the Sacramento area:
Carmelita’s Mexican Restaurant
4071 Howard St.
Fair Oaks, CA 95628
204 Riverside Ave.
Roseville, CA 95678