Situated in an old strip mall on Dacoma Street, Tia Maria’s is one of those restaurants that would be easy to miss if you didn’t already know it was there.
Luckily for the Mexican restaurant located just west of U.S. 290, it’s also one with a loyal fan base that spreads the word to newcomers in the neighborhood.
Even though I’ve long known about the spot and have visited many times over the years, I’ve had plenty of people recommend the place.
The narrow entry cuts out into different entries into dining rooms on opposite sides of the restaurant. The dim lighting, wooden featuring and murals give the space an old-school cantina vibe.
During my most recent visit, chips, salsa and glasses of water were set at the table moments after I sat down.
The salsa was heavy on the tomato, so I opted to order a small guacamole for the chips as well.
The guacamole was placed on a bed of shredded lettuce with two slices of tomato on top. It was a simple guacamole with which you can’t really go wrong, but I didn’t enjoy the bed of lettuce underneath because it seemed to just be in the way.
The menu has a variety of options — all for a price that doesn’t even hurt a little to pay — but I narrowed my choice down to the flautas.
Three rolled-up-and-fried corn tortillas filled with beef laid on the plate with a side of guacamole, rice and refried beans. The crunch of the corn tortilla on the flauta told me it was perfectly deep fried. Inside, the beef proved to be tender.
I topped the flauta with my sides, making for an even better experience. One thing that stuck out to me about the rice is that I could actually taste the tomato bullion, which I often don’t in Mexican rice served at restaurants.
One of my other go-to choices at Tia Maria’s are the chicken fajitas, which I would recommend as well because of the juicy chicken.
Tia Maria’s could be described as a low-key Mexican restaurant that diners can rely on for a simply good meal.
Address: 4618 Dacoma St.
Hours: 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Monday–Thursday, 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m. Friday–Saturday, 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Sunday
Healthy options: No
Star of the show: Beef flautas