The Bottom Line
- Good food, well-prepared
- Nice date place
- Great al fresco dining area
- More expensive than your neighborhood chain or burrito place
- Tablecloths are nice, but lose the glass tops
- El Zocalo is a phrase used to describe a main public square or meeting place.
- Expect crowds at El Zocalo during your typical peak weekend times.
- El Zocalo is open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Saturday. They are not open late.
- For al-fresco dining go out back. There's no view of a canal or city lights, but there's a cozy tree-filled courtyard.
- If you are in a rush, El Zocalo might not be the right choice.
- El Zocalo Mexican Grille is not a chain. It's a one-of-a-kind restaurant in downtown Chandler.
Guide Review - El Zocalo Mexican Grille
The decision about whether or not to make a Mexican restaurant a regular destination of mine often simply lies in their chips and salsas. El Zocalo scored very well on this test. The chips are thicker than I'd like, but the hot salsa (ask for it) not only had some burn but it had flavor! Not your typical tomatoey recipe, this one is made with extra dried chiles. Not the hottest I've had, but one of the tastiest.
During this visit we didn't order our typical array of selections. The appetizer offerings weren't extensive or appealing to us, so we went right to the main course. I couldn't decide between the Chicken Mole and the Fajitas. Since I have recently been having unpleasant fajita experiences around town, I decided to try it ($17) and hope for the best. I was relieved! The sizzling platter of not-overcooked fresh vegetables and strips of tender chicken and beef with a side of beans, rice, sour cream, home-made guacamole and tortillas was a winner. We wanted to order a traditional traditional favorite for our other meal. The Killer Chimichanga ($13), with rice and your choice of three types of beans, really wasn't bigger than we are used to being served, but the shredded chicken was superior.
The flan ($6) came in a pie-shaped slice. Tasty, creamy, more dense than is typical.
El Zocalo isn't the place where you'll find local Latinos out for their weekly family get-together. They will be down the block at Serrano's. It definitely struck me as more of a great date place, where a couple can sample from a long list of special Margaritas, eat good, freshly prepared Mexican food on tables with tablecloths and cloth napkins, with nice Mexican (not necessarily Mariachi-type) music in the background.