The fifth of May is here and you know what that means. We have an excuse to drink margaritas on a Wednesday! If you’re looking for a way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo today, why not drop by Barrington’s only Mexican restaurant for a some chips, salsa and a piping hot plate of your favorite Mexican food. The owner, Hector Vargas, moved here from Mexico 25 years ago and started sharpening his chef skills in the early 90’s.
Vargas makes a mean margarita and also serves a horchata lemonade ice tea to take the burn out of some his spicier recipes. They serve three salsa at La Mesa, two hot, one mild, and his baby shrimp taco recipe is a huge hit. Vargas’ shrimp tacos are inspired by the small shrimp charales tacos which are so popular near his home in Mexico. While I was waiting to talk with him, a friendly patron from Chicago told me he stops for the shrimp tacos whenever he’s passing through town. For an extra kick, regulars at the restaurant know to ask for a serving of his Mexican Giardiniera, a mix of pickled jalapenos, onions and carrots in a huge jar behind the bar. As I was leaving, it struck me that Hecor looks like he could be related to Antonio Banderas. Tell him that I said that and I bet you’ll make him blush ;).
La Mesa’s location on Northwest Highway just west of Route 59 is modest and unobtrusive. In other words, you have to know how to spot it or you might fly right by. They have a menu full of traditional Mexican dishes, but they also serve wraps, hamburgers and sandwiches. Plus, they offer a great selection of “Combination Platters,” a favorite for the fickle.
La Mesa is open for dine-in or carry-out from 10AM to 8:30PM Sunday through Thursday and from 10AM until 9:30 PM on Fridays and Saturdays.
Barrington, IL 60010