Saturday, May 14, 2016

Panchos Mexican Restaurant and Cantina - Buford Hwy - Atlanta Georgia

You can find Pancho's Mexican Restaurant and Cantina at 2641 Buford Hwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30324 near the City of Brookhaven Municipal Courthouse and just east of the North Fork of Peachtree Creek. Parking is in the lot out front or to the business that close in the evenings (provided your visiting during the evening).



Pancho's is another one of those restaurants that's been around for a long, long time. I think the main reason I've visited in the past was to drink margaritas, specifically during the very busy Cinco de Mayo. Tonight I met several friends from my Buford Highway Restaurant Crawl group and we went to town, sampling many drinks, apps and dishes. Pancho's is your classic swag Tex-Mex and a bit old-school, with that Pace-style salsa, reddish rice and other food accessories we as Americans (or should I say USAans?) have come to think of as Mexican food. It's all very familiar but there are a few standouts.




 The exterior is lit-up with plenty of neon and features a a mustached Pancho in his sombrero at the top. Getting good, right? Their sign has in tall green letters "Home of the Monster Drink" and one of the beautiful things about this restaurant is that it can be seen (at least the back deck) from I85. And the deck is a great place to slurp down sour-mix and tequila goodness while watching the tremendous I85 backup during rush-hour. I think that more than anything makes this place worth visiting. Don't you love enjoying food and alcohol while others suffer in the misery of traffic? Almost makes life worth living, no?





The interior of the restaurant is a bit chopped up with a high-ceiling in the main dining room, the deck to the rear (as mentioned) and an expansive bar surrounded in arcs of stone. I've spent many nights at this bar racing my compatriots to the bottom of a margarita glass. And speaking of margaritas, this seems to be the drink of the evening - might as well buy a pitcher after tasting the first glass. For me I try the base margarita first (no "Texas" - "Top-shelf" etc) as I think you figure out if the mix is good or not before improving things with more liquor. If it's good you may not need that shot of Cointreau or Grand Marnier. The mix here is average to above average - not the swill you get at Twisted Taco but no where near the quality of Tacos and Tequilas.






 I've already mentioned the salsa - it's average to above average too - but for most people eating Tex-Mex it will do quite nicely. The chips were very good - fresh, crisp and not overly-oily. For dinner this evening I just went with the chicken soup and it was quite good. There were quite a few dishes ordered and served and I think the food above average here - the flour tortillas were large and filled, the guacamole quite good and some of the dishes feature fresh spinach and well melted queso. The standout was the Octopus dish with ears of corn - now that's something you don't see at your typical Tex-Mex!



We all had a great time (I think there were around 10-12 of us? Not sure as I got a buzz). The service was good with quick fill-ups however there was at some point an issue with the diet coke. Otherwise we all had a good time.

--- John

(also posted to Yelp)
Pancho's Cantina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato