Everyone has a handful of go-to restaurants they count on for consistently delicious dining experiences. Felipe’s makes the cut for most every food lover I know. Why? Because Felipe’s delivers a lot of bang for the buck: it’s always satisfying. They pay attention to the details which include serving locally made Mawi tortillas; they make everything from scratch in small batches throughout the day; and they also serve Mexican Coke made with cane sugar in bottles.
Ordering at Felipe’s is the most challenging part, simply because there are just so many enticing options. Appetizers include freshly prepared tortilla chips served with a choice of salsa fresca with chopped tomatoes, onions, jalapeño peppers, garlic, lime and cilantro; delicious guacamole; or zesty queso topping. The pork tamale is made with corn masa and mildly seasoned pork topped with crema and pico de gallo. I like to kick it up a notch with a variety of hot sauces and condiments from their impressive selection of over 20 options, including everything from limes, to pickled peppers, marinated onions, herbs, and sauces. The tortilla soup at Felipe’s is a hearty, satisfying presentation of coarsely chopped vegetables, shredded chicken, in a deeply flavorful broth garnished with rice, crispy tortilla strips, avocado, and grated Cotija cheese from the mountains of the Michoacán region of Mexico. Crispy tostadas are another option topped with refried black or pinto beans, various meat preparations, steak, shrimp, or fish. My favorite is the flautas—rolled tortillas stuffed with either chicken or pork, crispy fried, then topped with Mexican crema, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo and shredded Cotija.
The entree selection at Felipe’s is an interactive experience. The basics are obvious whether you order a burrito or one of the taco variations, but from then on you should engage with the congenial staff that will help you navigate the dizzying array of enhancements. The basic options begin with grilled chicken in a mild citrus marinade. The chicken tinga breast is served shredded and simmered in a spicy tomato, onion, and chipotle pepper sauce. Next up is the classic al pastor made with slow-cooked pork, pineapple and a cinnamon/guajillo marinade. The hand-chopped carnitas pork is simply outstanding, slow-cooked, and incredibly savory. Then, there’s the classic chorizo Mexican pork sausage flavored with smoky pepper. Char-grilled steak, a medley of grilled vegetables, fried local shrimp, and grilled fish round out the options. Black beans, pinto beans, and refried versions of both are also served as toppings or sides with rice. Along with those options, fresh corn, a mixture of chopped onions with lime and cilantro, guacamole, sour cream, queso, and pico de gallo are also available. Items are available individually or in various combinations.
Desserts at Felipe’s consist of three options: an excellent flan, a great brownie, and the irresistible churros dusted with cinnamon sugar, which are ridiculously good.
Beverage options are a big deal at Felipe’s, beginning with a variety of aguas frescas, Jarritos sodas, Abita root beer, and Mexican Coke. But, the real fun happens at the adjacent Tiki Tolteka, their full service bar. Classics such as the Trader Vic’s specialty mai tai, Hurricane, Singapore sling, and frozen margaritas are made from scratch and presented with flair, including the over-the-top Scorpion Bowl. Tiki Tolteka makes many of its own specialty liquors, syrups, tinctures, and even has special flavored ice available. Besides honing in on rum and tequila drinks, they also carry mezcal, pisco, and cachaca. Signature specialty drinks such as the Jungle Bird made with Campari, rum, pineapple, and lime, and Doctor Funk with rum, Herbsaint, and fresh-squeezed citrus serve to elevate the festive atmosphere. I’ve always left Felipe’s sated and satisfied with the food, service, libations, and the pleasant vibe. Over the years, I’ve dined there dozens of times and it has become one of my favorite dining destinations.
Felipe’s has expanded to locations in Mid-City, and Uptown on Claiborne Avenue, all smart choices during carnival season, when dining becomes tricky. Locations have also expanded to Florida, Maryland, and Massachusetts.
301 N. Peters Street (504) 267-4406, Mon-Sun: 11 a.m. until 12 a.m.; 6215 S. Miro Street (504) 309–2776, Sun-Tues: 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Wed-Sat: 11 a.m. until 11 p.m.; 411-1 N. Carrollton Avenue (504) 408-2626, Sun–Thur: 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. Fri and Sat: 11 a.m. until 12 a.m.