The Cavalier Daily
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Livin' la vida Guadalajara

A new restaurant with a familiar name has opened its doors on Fontaine Ave. Guadalajara, famous among students for its affordable food and endless supply of chips and salsa, debuted its new branch about two weeks ago.

But now that there are three Guadalajaras to choose from, one on Route 29 and one on the Downtown Mall, students may have to ask the question--which one do I want to eat at?

Well, as it turns out, it depends on what you're looking for.

The new Guadalajara offers quite a different atmosphere than the other branches. With a mint green décor, it almost could pass for an intimate Italian café. But the airbrushed paintings, one with what looks like a Mexican prince holding a princess in his arms, show that the restaurant hasn't lost the taste for its Mexican heritage.

The new restaurant seats many less people--there are about 10 tables--but offers a more open environment, without booths.

Despite the changed atmosphere, Guadalajara Manager Rayax Rammon said the new branch offers the same menu as the other two restaurants.

"This is a little place," Rammon said. "Just the location's different."

Just as the menu is the same, your servers may look familiar as well--some have worked at the other branches. The service seemed friendly and the basket of chips was never left empty.

But you can expect to wait longer for your main dish. On Route 29, the service can be scarily fast. Minutes after you order, your meal arrives hot.

The Fontaine and Downtown Mall branches are slower, but if you like consuming mass quantities of chips, that's not necessarily a problem.

I ordered the same thing I've ordered at both of the older restaurants--the #15 combination beef enchilada, burrito and chicken tamale. The filling and tortillas tasted similar to the other restaurants, but the sauce on top--a creamy red sauce--was more like soup, and tasted watered down. It detracted from the usual quality you expect at the popular chain.

Guadalajara offers a large menu of Mexican fare: Tacos, enchiladas, flautas, fajitas, burritos, quesadillas and steaks served in a variety of ways. Most meals are about $6 or $7. Appetizers range from $1 to about $3. Combination meals, mostly in the $6 range, are cut 10 percent with a Cavalier Advantage Card, which are free at the University Bookstore.

As for the Fontaine branch's salsa, it seems to be very similar; better than the Downtown Mall branch's salsa, but perhaps not as good as the Route 29 branch, which gives equal time to all ingredients, not just the overpowering cilantro.

The Fontaine Guadalajara may offer a welcome lunch break (on Mondays lunch is $3.25 for certain selections), especially for students who live in the Crossroads or neighboring houses and apartments.

The new Guadalajara also offers a change of scene, but once you've seen the changes, you may find yourself returning to the chain's most popular branch on Route 29.


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