Just a short ride north from downtown Rehoboth on Coastal Highway is La Tonalteca, the self-proclaimed authentic Mexican restaurant. This is the place to go for inexpensive south of the border food. I'm delighted to report that the menu contains an entire “Vegetarian” section with eight combinations of burritos, enchiladas, fajitas and more.
I love Mexican food. There have been times and places in my life when Mexican restaurants were my best option for dining out – so I've become fond of my rice and beans. And VERY picky about them as well. If this column were just about rice and beans, I would opt for La Tonalteca's over any of the pricier restaurants. The rice is very flavorful and moist – I often get it as a side if it's not included with my entree. And the beans here are very good. Good consistency (no one likes them too runny) and they taste great. I've always found that when a restaurant pays attention to the side dishes, then the main events are really superb. And indeed that is the case here. (As a side note, Mexican restaurants frequently use lard to flavor their beans as well as many other dishes, but I've been told this is not the case here and that the vegetarian items are truly vegetarian.)
Don't just stick with the Vegetarian section. Venture out! Order #53, The Whole Quesadilla, which is listed as an appetizer. (Everything is by the numbers here.) It has a bean and cheese filling served with guacamole, sour cream and lettuce and large enough to be your entree for just $5.99. Such a deal. Another fun thing to do is order a variety of sides – I'm a big fan of the chalupa: a flat, crisp corn shell with beans, lettuce and cheese on top. And of course, a side of rice (did I mention I love the rice?), or a cheese enchilada, or a chile relleno (mild pepper stuffed with cheese). The Huevos Rancheros (ranch style eggs) is also a tasty alternative.
Margaritas are a must (get the Gold margarita – yum!) but leave room for dessert. Besides the Flan (Mexican style custard) and the Sopapilla (crispy tortilla pieces with butter, honey and cinnamon), I love the Churros (sometimes referred to as a Spanish donut, but I think they're much better). Churros are often sold on the street in cities with large Latino populations (like where I lived in Washington, D.C.) and a great way to end the meal. La Tonalteca is at 4578 Highway One in Rehoboth, in the Midway center between Delaware Distilling Company and the Candy Kitchen. 644-3994