Budget Beat

Lunch Under $10 at Mangos Mexican Café in Mesa

We remember going to Mangos a lot about a decade ago. We remember really liking it. But since then, we haven't really heard much about the little family-run Mexican joint in downtown Mesa.

About 400 burritos later in life, we decided to stop in to our old favorite AZ-Mex joint to see if it was still as yummy as we remembered. The brightly linened tables on the patio were just like we remembered and the muraled walls and ceiling hadn't changed a bit. But we were hungry (as always), not just there to check out the scenery.

See Also: - Lunch under $10 at Tacos Atoyac - Torta Cubana Clash: La Tolteca vs. Los Reyes de la Torta - Best Az-mex Restaurant 2001: Mangos Mexican Cafe

The first two things we remembered about Mangos' menu was the horchata and the chips and salsa. Apparently, our standards for horchata have gotten higher in the past decade because we did not remember that it came from a soda machine. Not a good start and not worth over $2.

We did like the housemade chips and salsa still, which come complimentary with your meal. The chips are thick -- the kind that crunch so much you just want to pile nacho toppings on them.

For our main course, we got a pollo asado torta for $7. The seasoned chicken, fresh avocado, and tomato slices and spicy pickled jalapeños and onions were a delicious filling. However, the super-soft bolillo couldn't take the heat and quickly fell apart in our hands. Mangos wasn't quite what we remembered, but it's still a decent place to drop by if you're hungry in downtown Mesa.

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Heather Hoch is a music, food, and arts writer based in Tucson. She enjoys soup, scotch, Electric Light Orchestra, and walking her dog, Frodo.
Contact: Heather Hoch