Zocalo 1801 Capitol Ave., midtown, (916) 441-0303. L-D daily, Sat-SunBr; $$.
Bearing the Spanish name for “central square,” this Mexican restaurant is situated within a repurposed 1930s car showroom and features a dynamite decor. Huge pots hold tall palms that reach up to the high ceiling, and giant windows provide an airy feeling. Patio dining is an option in nice weather. A margarita is a must—especially the gorgeous blackberry version—though many swear the corazon version is the best. Meals begin with a trio of dips with chips, and many dishes come with a side of black beans and cilantro rice. Choices include salads, burritos, tacos, enchiladas, and more--no one leaves hungry. The filling for the unusual tacos de cazuela--chorizo, onions, mushrooms and queso Menonita--is served in a casserole with housemade corn tortillas.
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image ©2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers