Thursday, May 7, 2009

Zapatas Mexican Restaurant (Cornelius)

The following review was first available earlier this week on the Lake Norman Social website at Be sure to check it out!

With Cinco de Mayo quickly approaching, I thought it’d be a good time to review Zapata’s Mexican Restaurant in Cornelius – just off of West Catawba Ave.

I recently visited during lunch, so the price listed below is a little lower than dinner, but not extraordinarily so. Once I entered, I was quickly taken to a booth next to a window. As I sat, the host asked me for my drink order. I told him a Coke. And he went go place the order.

About 30 seconds later my waitress appeared, also asking for my drink order. I let her know that I had just ordered a Coke a few seconds before. This was a constant theme during lunch; the staff were attentive and helpful -- and my glass of Coke was constantly topped-off!

The interior of the restaurant is nice. There is an interior pergola to the right, and in the center of the room you’ll find a working water fountain. The booths are comfy, and some of the tables have custom tile-work in the middle.

I ordered the lunch item Carnitas de Res. It’s described as, “Fajita-style! Tender strips of marinated beef grilled with green peppers and onions. Served with guacamole and sour cream.” It also came with re-fried beans, rice, and flour tortillas. So, it was a filling meal. However, it wasn’t quite what I had been hoping for.

The rice seemed stale and bland, while the re-fried beans were good though a little runny. But it was the “Carnitas” part that I found disappointing. The meat, onions, and peppers had been cooked in a sauce (I think it was tomato based) that was actually sweet. Not sugar sweet, but sweet from all of the sugars in the onions and the roasted red peppers.

Unfortunately, the standard flavors of oregano, cumin, and chili powder that I have come to expect in Mexican cooking simply weren’t there. And that threw me back a little. It tasted good – it just didn’t taste like Mexican food.

All in all, the food wasn’t noteworthy, but the service and atmosphere were good. I’ll probably try it again – in a while.

Atmosphere: 3/5
Food: 2/5
Service: 4/5
Total: 9/15
Price: $$ (food, soda, tax and tip were $12)
Kid Friendly: Yes. On Sunday, one child per adult eats free.

Restaurant Info:
19905 NC Hwy. 73
West Catawba Ave., Suite 102
Cornelius, NC 28031
p) 704-987-8890

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