I must have driven past Rojo Cocina Mexicana & Cantina in Roswell hundreds of times over the last few years, without ever going in. Located in a busy Publix shopping center and home to a roster of rotating restaurants over the years, it’s easy to overlook. Recently, I finally gave them a try—first for drinks (they serve a solid skinny margarita) and then for lunch a few times. The verdict: this neighborhood hidden gem deserves a spot on your rotation. Here are four reasons you should give them a try, too.
The chips and salsa—simple but stellar
As someone whose “favorite food” is chips and salsa, I can be picky when it comes to this Mexican restaurant staple. But at Rojo, they do them just right. A free basket of chips and a small bowl of salsa greets you just after you’re seated. The chips are hot, light and crisp without being too greasy, while the salsa is extremely fresh and bright with just enough spicy kick. It’s dangerously easy to devour the entire basket before you’ve even placed your order. They’ll keep them coming if you want, but be sure to save room for the rest of your meal.
Classic dishes and some new ideas
The expansive menu offering at Rojo spans the classics—think tacos, burritos, fajitas and enchiladas. If you’re keeping it old school, start with a queso fundido that gets a smoky touch from roasted poblano and chorizo, then order up a heaping plate of nachos supreme, a hefty Rojo burrito, spicy buffalo chicken tacos or a grilled chicken chimichanga. Not so ravenous? The quesadilla con queso with chicken makes for a lighter but still satisfying option for lunch, as does the enchiladas verdes with a light, tangy salsa verde. You can also try one of the “bowl” options for a healthier twist—think of them as deconstructed burritos. And if you still don’t know what to get, the fish tacos with chipotle sauce are always popular (the Baja version comes with fish lightly battered and a crunchy slaw). If you manage to save room to settle your sweet fix, make it churros or the chocolate chimichanga.
Large bar and extensive drink menu
If you’re stopping by for a drink, a large, spacious bar offers plenty of seating at the center of the restaurant. The full bar serves up everything from margaritas and mojitos to wine, beer, bourbon and more. Like any good Mexican restaurant, Rojo pours a plethora of tequilas—Patron, 1800, Don Julio, Milagro and Jimador Silver, to name a few. It’s hard to go wrong with the skinny margarita or a classic mojito—and I’m always a sucker for a Corona with lime, especially while noshing on chips and salsa.
Festive, family-friendly atmosphere
The interior of Rojo is welcoming and festively decorated with red walls, warm lighting and eclectic Mexican artwork. Several TVs throughout allow you to catch your team in action. The casual restaurant makes it easy to bring your kids along for a meal (think lunch on a weekend) with several options on the kids’ menu and servers who don’t give you the stink eye when your little one pulverizes the chips into a million little crunchy shards below the table—don’t worry, we left him a good tip.
885 Woodstock Road, Roswell, 770-820-0111, rojococinamexicana.com
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