The decor of Los Chilaquiles includes hand-carved wooden tabletops featuring fruit or flowers, an aesthetic more well-known in the Southeast in places like South Carolina, Ibanez said. The backs of the booths are decorated with two caricature peppers below the Los Chilaquiles emblem. Ibanez said a friend drew the design and she had the booths carved in Guadalajara, Mexico.
On a wall in the dining room, there is a waterfall enclosed in glass panes with “Los Chilaquiles” frosted on one side.
“It’s really hard to open a restaurant,” Ibanez said. “The glass wall took forever.”
As for the menu, Ibanez hired a chef from Guadalajara. Menu items highlight dishes representing all regions of Mexico, as well as the owner’s love of shrimp. Four jumbo shrimp can be added to almost any dish for $3.95.
One dish servers recommend to customers is the carnitas de puerco ($9.95). Ibanez said hardly anyone in Austin serves carnitas, slow-cooked chunks of pork prepared in a large, wok-like pan because “that’s the way they cook them in Mexico,” she said. The dish is served with beans, rice and pico de gallo.
Ibanez grew up in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, but came to the U.S. when she was 15 years old. Her goal with her new restaurant is to serve traditional cuisine at a reasonable price.
It’s the reasonable prices, flavor of the food and service that has brought Donnie Cook, who lives west of Cedar Park, back to Los Chilaquiles four times since it opened.
“I love the mole enchiladas,” he said. “I like the flavor of it. It’s the real thing. Some other places, it’s kind of thinned out.”
Cook said the servers are always refilling drinks and checking back to see if he needs anything. He was even surprised to see one of his favorite servers from another Mexican restaurant working at Los Chilaquiles.
“I want to see it succeed,” Cook said.
Los Chilaquiles can seat 96 diners inside and about 20 on the patio. Ibanez recommends visiting on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday for a more relaxed atmosphere. She also offers catering for any event.