Our first trip to a local place was Phil Sandoval’s, a Mexican restaurant begun by the first employee of Rosie’s Mexican Cantina, another local restaurant. We have eaten at Phil’s many times and are never disappointed. What better way to kick-off the Chain of Foods than to visit a local favorite?
Phil’s has lots of delicious options, but my choice is the chile relleno. It’s a huge pepper stuffed with ground beef, raisins, almonds, and it is covered in a delicious sauce. The batter is never soggy but is always crisp and soft at the same time. Yum! My husband loves their enchiladas, so he sampled a cheese enchilada, a chicken enchilada, and a chicken tamale. Phil’s uses a chihuahua cheese for their enchiladas that is unbelievably tasty in a smooth and tangy way. Best of all, the enchiladas are smothered in toppings from queso to red sauce and onions. The tamales are also unbelievable…I never liked them until I tried these.
If we come into Phil’s starving, we always leave stuffed, even if we share a plate, which I recommend. With all the thin and crispy house-made tortilla chips, sweet and smoky salsa, and free ice cream, Phil’s is around $25 for two when sharing.
What Melanie isn’t telling you is that Phil’s occupies the old location of Rosie’s Mexican Cantina, arguably the most popular (and perhaps overrated, although we think it’s delicious) restaurant in town. When Phil’s first moved into the old Rosie’s location, I thought to myself “Who are these people? You don’t compete with Rosie’s unless you’re stupid.” Of course, I was the fool, not realizing the place was awfully tasty and was a younger brother of Rosie’s.
We’ve been there a ton of times, and it’s always good. Occasionally, we get a waiter or waitress who’s slightly less than stellar, but we generally get tremendous service. Particularly worth mentioning is the waiter who offers handshakes to the customers. At first, it was a little weird (with our American standoffishness fully in tow), but it’s a really nice gesture and is befitting of such a good waiter. I’ve grown to look forward to it.
As Melanie said, the food is excellent. During this particular trip, I ate the enchiladas and found them tasty, as usual. It’s hard to choose a favorite enchilada at Phil’s, but if I could eat there just once more, I’d probably choose the cheese enchiladas, which are loaded with cheese and well-seasoned.
A few suggestions for those new to Phil’s:
- If you’ve been to Rosie’s, Phil’s will feel familiar, maybe too familiar. Give it a chance before writing it off as a rip-off. Phil can hold his own, and Rosie can hold hers, and we can all be happy and full of Tex-Mex treats.
- The fish tacos are ridiculous. Swing by at lunch and try one.
- Look for the waiter with the awesome mustache. You’ll know him when you see him.