Esparza's Tex Mex Cafe

★★★☆☆
  • 2725 Se Ankeny St

    Portland, OR 97214

    Map & Directions
  • 503-234-7909

About Esparza's Tex Mex Cafe

Hours
Fri-Sat: 11:30am-10pm, 11:30am-10:30pm, Sun: 11:30am-9:30pm, 11:30am-10pm, Mon-Thu: 11:30am-9:30pm

Food

Food
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.

The fried chicken in here is ridiculously amazing, I mean I have never seen anything and tasted anything like it before, the spices are just running wild.

3
★★★★★

The fried chicken in here is ridiculously amazing, I mean I have never seen anything and tasted anything like it before, the spices are just running wild.

.

Disappointing. This place used to be great. No more. Just bland with a dispirited staff. Don't bother.

3
★★★★★

Disappointing. This place used to be great. No more. Just bland with a dispirited staff. Don't bother.

.

LOL! Not surprising at all. Esparza's in Texas (Grapevine, TX, under new management and back to it's glory day's) and apparently Portland are known for their over-inflated ego's and not their consistency. It would behoove both Joe and

3
★★★★★

LOL! Not surprising at all. Esparza's in Texas (Grapevine, TX, under new management and back to it's glory day's) and apparently Portland are known for their over-inflated ego's and not their consistency. It would behoove both Joe and

.

Can't beat tex-mex. Never get tired of this place.

3
★★★★★

Can't beat tex-mex. Never get tired of this place.

.

As usual, reviews of the service were pretty poor but when I stopped in, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. The decor, on the other hand, is very playful and it's a step out of the status quo. Put some cash in the jukebox for a complete

3
★★★★★

As usual, reviews of the service were pretty poor but when I stopped in, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. The decor, on the other hand, is very playful and it's a step out of the status quo. Put some cash in the jukebox for a complete

.

We used to love Esparza's so we were headed there today for my birthday. My son hadn't been so he looked at the reviews online. Wow! That did not sound right and we almost didn't go. Am I glad we did! Maybe they did start to slip for

3
★★★★★

We used to love Esparza's so we were headed there today for my birthday. My son hadn't been so he looked at the reviews online. Wow! That did not sound right and we almost didn't go. Am I glad we did! Maybe they did start to slip for

.

This used to be my favorite Mexican restaurant-but not any more. The food has dropped to "adequate" but nothing more. Service is atrocious. "Guys" starts every statement from what passes for staff. I wonder how these people survive as

3
★★★★★

This used to be my favorite Mexican restaurant-but not any more. The food has dropped to "adequate" but nothing more. Service is atrocious. "Guys" starts every statement from what passes for staff. I wonder how these people survive as

.

I used to eat at Esparza's all the time, but I moved away from Portland. I visited recently and was sadly disappointed. The service was marginal, but the food itself was terrible. Bland, over priced and some of the dishes (the chicken tostada in particular) was inedible (the chicken was over cooked and dry).

I do not know what has happened to this place, but it really not anything what I remembered. I doubt I will ever go back and will not recommend it.

1
★☆☆☆☆

I used to eat at Esparza's all the time, but I moved away from Portland. I visited recently and was sadly disappointed. The service was marginal, but the food itself was terrible. Bland, over priced and some of the dishes (the chicken tostada in particular) was inedible (the chicken was over cooked and dry).

I do not know what has happened to this place, but it really not anything what I remembered. I doubt I will ever go back and will not recommend it.

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.

It was aweful! Horrible service, disgusting food, their idea of cleaning silverwear is wiping it on their shirts. It left me wondering why i was sick later that night, food poisoning or disgust with this redneck-brother-humping restaurant.

3
★★★★★

It was aweful! Horrible service, disgusting food, their idea of cleaning silverwear is wiping it on their shirts. It left me wondering why i was sick later that night, food poisoning or disgust with this redneck-brother-humping restaurant.

.

Stopped going there after putting down $160 cash for 3 couples, waiter brought us change for $140 and stonewalled the complaint. Not a nice ending to an otherwise good evening. One more example of a captured audience and complacent management.
Otherwise, great meeting place, great crowd at the bar, good drinks, maybe just close the kitchen and serve poo-poos. OR start serving good food again, like when first opened.

0
★☆☆☆☆

Stopped going there after putting down $160 cash for 3 couples, waiter brought us change for $140 and stonewalled the complaint. Not a nice ending to an otherwise good evening. One more example of a captured audience and complacent management.
Otherwise, great meeting place, great crowd at the bar, good drinks, maybe just close the kitchen and serve poo-poos. OR start serving good food again, like when first opened.

Pros: Good chips and Margaritas, good crowd

Cons: Service and food mediocre (bland) owner care anymore?

.

The location and inside was great. Nice area.
The smoked lamb tacos with mole were fantastic. Rice and beans were good too. Skip the guacamole. It looked more like whipped avacados and expensive. The service was good and we had a great dinner.

2
★★★★☆

The location and inside was great. Nice area.
The smoked lamb tacos with mole were fantastic. Rice and beans were good too. Skip the guacamole. It looked more like whipped avacados and expensive. The service was good and we had a great dinner.

Pros: The whole inside of the place was cool

Cons: The prices were a bit high for tex-mex

.

My husband and I drive from Hillsboro to enjoy the great food at Esparza

2
★★★★★

My husband and I drive from Hillsboro to enjoy the great food at Esparza

Pros: Awesome Boar Nachos

Cons: too far away to drink too many Margaritas

.

Best Mole-try the "Dirty Bird".Great service!

2
★★★★★

Best Mole-try the "Dirty Bird".Great service!

.

Great TexMex food. Great service. Great atmosphere. Moving in next week!

2
★★★★★

Great TexMex food. Great service. Great atmosphere. Moving in next week!

Pros: Great food at a great price

Cons: Too small

.

Not hungry? Want to throw away $6.95 plus tip? Enjoy a lunch special at Esparza's! You'll leave hungry and annoyed.

0
★☆☆☆☆

Not hungry? Want to throw away $6.95 plus tip? Enjoy a lunch special at Esparza's! You'll leave hungry and annoyed.

.

what ever failures may arise on occasion should be forgiven regarding this delightful place. The food is REAL. enjoy.

2
★★★★★

what ever failures may arise on occasion should be forgiven regarding this delightful place. The food is REAL. enjoy.

Pros: Salsa

.

First of all, the service here was very slow. It took quite some time for the server to even get us two menus. He was friendly enough, but seemed to spend a lot of time chit chatting the ears off of the other customers who were sitting outside with us. After perusing the menu, the roughly $10 minimum price on each meal gave us the idea that the food would be well worth the price...not so much. While the margarita my boyfriend ordered was tasty, I can't say so much about the meal. When our meals finally arrived, they were, for lack of a better word, blah. The rice and beans were exceptionally bland, and my tostadas were covered mostly with shredded lettuce and a very minimal (hardly existent) spread of cheese underneath. My boyfriend's meal, which was even pricier than mine and included actual meat, was just as bland! In the end, we were disappointed by the $30 bill after having eaten something I could have ordered for $3.50 from a cafeteria. Good, but not good enough.

1
★★☆☆☆

First of all, the service here was very slow. It took quite some time for the server to even get us two menus. He was friendly enough, but seemed to spend a lot of time chit chatting the ears off of the other customers who were sitting outside with us. After perusing the menu, the roughly $10 minimum price on each meal gave us the idea that the food would be well worth the price...not so much. While the margarita my boyfriend ordered was tasty, I can't say so much about the meal. When our meals finally arrived, they were, for lack of a better word, blah. The rice and beans were exceptionally bland, and my tostadas were covered mostly with shredded lettuce and a very minimal (hardly existent) spread of cheese underneath. My boyfriend's meal, which was even pricier than mine and included actual meat, was just as bland! In the end, we were disappointed by the $30 bill after having eaten something I could have ordered for $3.50 from a cafeteria. Good, but not good enough.

Pros: Tasty margaritas

Cons: Slow service and bland food

.

I had lunch at Esparza's on 5/19/09. I ordered the boar nachos and a Negra Modelo, and enjoyed the complimentary chips & salsa.

The boar nachos were very tasty, and the house guacamole was some of the best I've had in PDX. The house salsa was flavorful, and the chips were first-rate.

Service was quick, friendly, and attentive.

First time visitors be warned---if you're looking for vegetarian or vegan options, go somewhere else, for Pete's sake. This is Tex-Mex, not friggin' Olive Garden. The offerings can be pretty spicy, too, so if you like bland, Taco Hell is your friend.

Overall, I enjoyed a decent light lunch with pleasant service for not too much money. I'll be back again.

2
★★★★☆

I had lunch at Esparza's on 5/19/09. I ordered the boar nachos and a Negra Modelo, and enjoyed the complimentary chips & salsa.

The boar nachos were very tasty, and the house guacamole was some of the best I've had in PDX. The house salsa was flavorful, and the chips were first-rate.

Service was quick, friendly, and attentive.

First time visitors be warned---if you're looking for vegetarian or vegan options, go somewhere else, for Pete's sake. This is Tex-Mex, not friggin' Olive Garden. The offerings can be pretty spicy, too, so if you like bland, Taco Hell is your friend.

Overall, I enjoyed a decent light lunch with pleasant service for not too much money. I'll be back again.

Pros: Boar nachos!

Cons: None

.

The server was great. Fast, kept the water, sodas and cocktails full... The menu is not friendly for the vegetarians(beans with lard and rice with what I am guessing with chicken broth)... the waiter worked with me making some fine quesadillas.. The salsa was good as well as the chips... A great place for meat eaters.

1
★★★☆☆

The server was great. Fast, kept the water, sodas and cocktails full... The menu is not friendly for the vegetarians(beans with lard and rice with what I am guessing with chicken broth)... the waiter worked with me making some fine quesadillas.. The salsa was good as well as the chips... A great place for meat eaters.

.

I went to this place to meet a friend that lives in the hood. Waited at the bar for him bar while I had a tequilla and chips & salsa, which were killer. Bartender was cool and filled me in on the place. Place has got its own style that for sure, I enjoyed the puppet show above the bar. Friend got there and we sat and had Boar nachos, pretty damn good. Our bald headed server was just kind of rude though, but I will say the service was very prompt and quick. Had Chicken enchiladas with pepers and onion, I didn't care for the chicken at all, dry and chewy. Friend had something off of the special board that was pretty damn good.

1
★★★☆☆

I went to this place to meet a friend that lives in the hood. Waited at the bar for him bar while I had a tequilla and chips & salsa, which were killer. Bartender was cool and filled me in on the place. Place has got its own style that for sure, I enjoyed the puppet show above the bar. Friend got there and we sat and had Boar nachos, pretty damn good. Our bald headed server was just kind of rude though, but I will say the service was very prompt and quick. Had Chicken enchiladas with pepers and onion, I didn't care for the chicken at all, dry and chewy. Friend had something off of the special board that was pretty damn good.

Pros: chips & salsa

.

I had been meaning to try Esparza's for a long time, since I live in the neighborhood. I heard rumor they made a great breakfast burrito, so on Valentine's day, my friend and I decided to try give them a shot. The service was friendly and relatively fast, so no complaints there. I don't like taxidermy very much, so the numerous small animals hanging from the walls were a little unappetizing. some people are into that super cluttered look, so I don't take points off from that either.

However, other than a couple items in the appetizer section, anything on the menu will cost you $10 minimum. Therefore, I expected better quality than an Ole Ole, for example, that I go to down the street. Not so. I ordered the Tumbleweed (chicken enchilada with rice and beans). The sides were bland and had zero spices. The enchilada sauce was much too strong, and it overpowered the rest of the meal. It tasted alright at the time, but both my dish and the mexican sausage and eggs my friend ordered were very rich, and neither of us felt very good for the rest of the day.

In fact, that evening my stomach started feeling really tight and uncomfortable, and the following day I figured out I contracted a food illness from the doctor. I am unable to write the dreaded "F___d P_____ing" phrase here, but that's exactly what it was. It's been three days, and I am still in the thick of feeling horrible, missing two days of work.

Eat here at your own risk.

0
★☆☆☆☆

I had been meaning to try Esparza's for a long time, since I live in the neighborhood. I heard rumor they made a great breakfast burrito, so on Valentine's day, my friend and I decided to try give them a shot. The service was friendly and relatively fast, so no complaints there. I don't like taxidermy very much, so the numerous small animals hanging from the walls were a little unappetizing. some people are into that super cluttered look, so I don't take points off from that either.

However, other than a couple items in the appetizer section, anything on the menu will cost you $10 minimum. Therefore, I expected better quality than an Ole Ole, for example, that I go to down the street. Not so. I ordered the Tumbleweed (chicken enchilada with rice and beans). The sides were bland and had zero spices. The enchilada sauce was much too strong, and it overpowered the rest of the meal. It tasted alright at the time, but both my dish and the mexican sausage and eggs my friend ordered were very rich, and neither of us felt very good for the rest of the day.

In fact, that evening my stomach started feeling really tight and uncomfortable, and the following day I figured out I contracted a food illness from the doctor. I am unable to write the dreaded "F___d P_____ing" phrase here, but that's exactly what it was. It's been three days, and I am still in the thick of feeling horrible, missing two days of work.

Eat here at your own risk.

Pros: Location, Service

Cons: Pricey

.

I went to this place for lunch with my husband, who goes once a week or so because it's close to his job. We both ordered the Tex Mex pork burrito, his came with beans and I got the rice. The chips are thicker than most places which was kinda nice, they're very crunchy, but also very greasy. The salsa that came with the chips was great. The two servers who helped us were very friendly. Our daughter really liked looking at all of the stuffed animals on the wall and the marionettes over the bar. The burritos seemed more like enchiladas to me, covered with sauce and melted cheese, but whatever. There was a good amount of meat in the burrito and it had a good flavor, spicy but not too spicy. The beans and rice however, were very bland, no seasonings to speak of at all! I would go back and try something different because the staff and atmosphere were good and the prices were reasonable.

1
★★★☆☆

I went to this place for lunch with my husband, who goes once a week or so because it's close to his job. We both ordered the Tex Mex pork burrito, his came with beans and I got the rice. The chips are thicker than most places which was kinda nice, they're very crunchy, but also very greasy. The salsa that came with the chips was great. The two servers who helped us were very friendly. Our daughter really liked looking at all of the stuffed animals on the wall and the marionettes over the bar. The burritos seemed more like enchiladas to me, covered with sauce and melted cheese, but whatever. There was a good amount of meat in the burrito and it had a good flavor, spicy but not too spicy. The beans and rice however, were very bland, no seasonings to speak of at all! I would go back and try something different because the staff and atmosphere were good and the prices were reasonable.

Pros: great atmosphere, good chips

Cons: side dishes are bland

.

I read the below review and was a little afraid. I met some girlfriends for dinner and had a great experience. Charming waiter with a fun personality, Joey, took care of us. The margarita I had was not strong, sugary, just okay. Our server provided great entree recommendations and then even let us switch tables. I am no expert on TEX or MEX, but I had the Cactus Jack (pork enchilada with a yummy verde sauce), I liked my meal (3.5-4 stars), a little pricey for what it was. My dinner companions all enjoyed their meals. I recommend this place, next time, I hope to get a little more tequila in my margarita. Food came out quick, too. Unique decor. Waiter Joey made the evening!

1
★★★☆☆

I read the below review and was a little afraid. I met some girlfriends for dinner and had a great experience. Charming waiter with a fun personality, Joey, took care of us. The margarita I had was not strong, sugary, just okay. Our server provided great entree recommendations and then even let us switch tables. I am no expert on TEX or MEX, but I had the Cactus Jack (pork enchilada with a yummy verde sauce), I liked my meal (3.5-4 stars), a little pricey for what it was. My dinner companions all enjoyed their meals. I recommend this place, next time, I hope to get a little more tequila in my margarita. Food came out quick, too. Unique decor. Waiter Joey made the evening!

Pros: service, atmosphere

Cons: little pricey

.

About 12 of us wenr, all service industry, not a rowdy bunch. I looked over the very long menu of a vast array of meat and sides. Due to health restrictions, I have to be careful of the amount of animal fats i eat, to make it easier I often ask if there are vegan sides. I'm not vegan or vegetarian, it just usually easier to narrow down my options if i don't see any. After waiting ten minutes for our server to take our drink orders(only 3 beers were ordered), then another ten to get said drinks, he finally started making his way around the table. My order went about like this:
Server:(points)"You?"
Me: "Does your kitchen use lard?"
S: "Yup"
M:"Is it in mostly everything?"
S:" Yup"
M: "Okay so there aren't any there any vegan options?"
S: (schoffs and rolls eyes) "Nope."
M: "Well...hmmm... Is it in the Guacamole?"
S: "Nope"
M:"Okay, May I just get a side of that then please?"
Server:(scoffs)"Sure"
I understand Portland servers are know for their indifference, I understand that my dietary restrictions are no one else's problems, I understand that generally vegan/vegetarian people are a pain in the butt when eating out and I understand that a table of 12 is difficult to deal with. With that understanding i feel there is still no reason to be so rude about it. A simple "No, we specialize in meat" or "No because it wouldn't be authentic" or even just "No aside from the Guac and salsa" would have been fine. Regardless of the amount of people at a table, one word answers are not helpful when explaining food, if you can't handle a table get help or tell the party to go elsewhere. The server put mostly the wrong food in front of everyone with no care. Mine ended up on the other end of the table.
The Guac was bland and seemed to have been diluted with sour cream. The serving was about 1/8th of a cup and cost $5. Most of the table felt the price was high for the product. Really the rude server and slow careless service is what makes me not want to try again.

0
★☆☆☆☆

About 12 of us wenr, all service industry, not a rowdy bunch. I looked over the very long menu of a vast array of meat and sides. Due to health restrictions, I have to be careful of the amount of animal fats i eat, to make it easier I often ask if there are vegan sides. I'm not vegan or vegetarian, it just usually easier to narrow down my options if i don't see any. After waiting ten minutes for our server to take our drink orders(only 3 beers were ordered), then another ten to get said drinks, he finally started making his way around the table. My order went about like this:
Server:(points)"You?"
Me: "Does your kitchen use lard?"
S: "Yup"
M:"Is it in mostly everything?"
S:" Yup"
M: "Okay so there aren't any there any vegan options?"
S: (schoffs and rolls eyes) "Nope."
M: "Well...hmmm... Is it in the Guacamole?"
S: "Nope"
M:"Okay, May I just get a side of that then please?"
Server:(scoffs)"Sure"
I understand Portland servers are know for their indifference, I understand that my dietary restrictions are no one else's problems, I understand that generally vegan/vegetarian people are a pain in the butt when eating out and I understand that a table of 12 is difficult to deal with. With that understanding i feel there is still no reason to be so rude about it. A simple "No, we specialize in meat" or "No because it wouldn't be authentic" or even just "No aside from the Guac and salsa" would have been fine. Regardless of the amount of people at a table, one word answers are not helpful when explaining food, if you can't handle a table get help or tell the party to go elsewhere. The server put mostly the wrong food in front of everyone with no care. Mine ended up on the other end of the table.
The Guac was bland and seemed to have been diluted with sour cream. The serving was about 1/8th of a cup and cost $5. Most of the table felt the price was high for the product. Really the rude server and slow careless service is what makes me not want to try again.

Pros: Salsa, Chips

Cons: Bad Service, Expensive, Bland (all the meat tastes the same)

.

I love this place! Esparzas has some of the best salsa ever, and while their margaritas aren't big, they're strong. I highly recomend the buffalo tacos. The weight staff is really friendly and the food is usually pretty quick.
They don't have any happyhour specials and they are closed on sundays. Be prepared to walk a block or two on a bussy night, as the available parking is minimal. It's well worth the effort.

2
★★★★★

I love this place! Esparzas has some of the best salsa ever, and while their margaritas aren't big, they're strong. I highly recomend the buffalo tacos. The weight staff is really friendly and the food is usually pretty quick.
They don't have any happyhour specials and they are closed on sundays. Be prepared to walk a block or two on a bussy night, as the available parking is minimal. It's well worth the effort.

Pros: The best salsa, and the only buffalo tacos I've been able to find, great margaritas

Cons: no happyhour, closed on sundays, limited parking

.

I've lived in Mexico, I've lived in Texas, but I really don't know what to call the food at Esparza's. It sure isn't TexMex. Some may like this version of bland sloppy fare, but it isn't the real deal at all. La comida es graciento y no tiene sabor.

Also, what is up with the math on Citysearch? They give Esparza's a 4.5 rating but when you do the math the actual average of the 80 ratings is 3.05.
Twenty two reviewers gave it 5 stars. Sixteen reviewers gave it 4 stars. Nine reviewers gave it 3 stars. Ten reviewers gave it 2 stars. 23 reviewers gave it 1 star.

That adds up to 244 stars divided by 80 reviews. It equals 3.05. The point here is that this is a bimodal distribution. Just about as many people hate it as like it, and very few are right in the middle at 3. Yet the restaurant has a 4.5 star rating, thus indicating that very nearly everyone should have loved it.

0
★☆☆☆☆

I've lived in Mexico, I've lived in Texas, but I really don't know what to call the food at Esparza's. It sure isn't TexMex. Some may like this version of bland sloppy fare, but it isn't the real deal at all. La comida es graciento y no tiene sabor.

Also, what is up with the math on Citysearch? They give Esparza's a 4.5 rating but when you do the math the actual average of the 80 ratings is 3.05.
Twenty two reviewers gave it 5 stars. Sixteen reviewers gave it 4 stars. Nine reviewers gave it 3 stars. Ten reviewers gave it 2 stars. 23 reviewers gave it 1 star.

That adds up to 244 stars divided by 80 reviews. It equals 3.05. The point here is that this is a bimodal distribution. Just about as many people hate it as like it, and very few are right in the middle at 3. Yet the restaurant has a 4.5 star rating, thus indicating that very nearly everyone should have loved it.

Pros: The service is fine.

Cons: The food is greasy and bland.

.

This is a Restaurant you do not want to miss when you are in Portland the decor is one of a kind and the service and food is top notch, the food comes to you fast, and friendly, very reasonably priced. This was a totally satisfying experience for my wife and me.

Ken

2
★★★★★

This is a Restaurant you do not want to miss when you are in Portland the decor is one of a kind and the service and food is top notch, the food comes to you fast, and friendly, very reasonably priced. This was a totally satisfying experience for my wife and me.

Ken

Pros: Decor great, Food, prices and service all top notch

Cons: Parking could be better, and bathrooms are very small.

.

Great food here, with awesome guac. I love the decor, except for the stuffed turtles. That makes me sad. Great place for vegetarians. Lots of options, but i recommend the cheese enchiladas. I take everyone here, when they want some good old mexican food. The service is good, with a really friendly manager.

2
★★★★★

Great food here, with awesome guac. I love the decor, except for the stuffed turtles. That makes me sad. Great place for vegetarians. Lots of options, but i recommend the cheese enchiladas. I take everyone here, when they want some good old mexican food. The service is good, with a really friendly manager.

Pros: Guacamole is to die for.

Cons: stuffed turtles hanging from the ceiling.

.

I live near Esparza's and try to make it there at least weekly. It's a great place with excellent service and great food. I've never had a problem with wait staff or a meal. I especially enjoy the BBQ pork tacos and the lunch specials are very reasonable. Highly recommended for a great establishment to enjoy some Tex-Mex and beer!

2
★★★★☆

I live near Esparza's and try to make it there at least weekly. It's a great place with excellent service and great food. I've never had a problem with wait staff or a meal. I especially enjoy the BBQ pork tacos and the lunch specials are very reasonable. Highly recommended for a great establishment to enjoy some Tex-Mex and beer!

.

I have seen this place several time and I am always intrigued by it. I've been wanting to try it and last night my bf and I finally did. The decoration is unique and awesome, the sting puppets from the ceilling were creepy but I loved it. For starters the chips and salsa were amazing! I got the brisket tamales, they were differnt then I've ever had, but I've never had Tex-Mex so I guess thats why. They were smokey and sweet with a mild kick. Really tasty. My bf got the chicken enchiladas, tasty but I was really impressed with my tamales. The portions were really good, my meal came with 3 tamales! We plan on going back and taking a couple friends with us.

2
★★★★★

I have seen this place several time and I am always intrigued by it. I've been wanting to try it and last night my bf and I finally did. The decoration is unique and awesome, the sting puppets from the ceilling were creepy but I loved it. For starters the chips and salsa were amazing! I got the brisket tamales, they were differnt then I've ever had, but I've never had Tex-Mex so I guess thats why. They were smokey and sweet with a mild kick. Really tasty. My bf got the chicken enchiladas, tasty but I was really impressed with my tamales. The portions were really good, my meal came with 3 tamales! We plan on going back and taking a couple friends with us.

Pros: ambiance, tamales, chips

Cons: parking (it wasnt bad, but I could see if it were busy it might be. although it is close to the 19 and 20 busline)

.

I go here often because the food is interesting and exciting. The staff is always A+ without exception. Now it may be too spicy for some, which would explain the odd negative reviews seen here. Some may have difficulty with the bold tastes at Tex Mex. I like the meat dishes which are hearty. Also the chips are the best I've had anywhere in the world. If you are looking for a Mexican restaurant that is much MORE than the standard beans, rice and overcooked meat we find everywhere else, try Esparza's.

2
★★★★★

I go here often because the food is interesting and exciting. The staff is always A+ without exception. Now it may be too spicy for some, which would explain the odd negative reviews seen here. Some may have difficulty with the bold tastes at Tex Mex. I like the meat dishes which are hearty. Also the chips are the best I've had anywhere in the world. If you are looking for a Mexican restaurant that is much MORE than the standard beans, rice and overcooked meat we find everywhere else, try Esparza's.

Pros: truly exciting

Cons: none

.

Let's see: the margarita tasted like urine, the portions were small, flavorless and spendy for the ingredients used, the decor was visual odious (like animal carcases, caricatures of lazy mexicans in sombreros etc) The service was friendly and swift but good grief was this THE WORST food and place ever! It's perfect for someone who maybe thinks good Mexican is Taco Del Mar. All around gross

0
★☆☆☆☆

Let's see: the margarita tasted like urine, the portions were small, flavorless and spendy for the ingredients used, the decor was visual odious (like animal carcases, caricatures of lazy mexicans in sombreros etc) The service was friendly and swift but good grief was this THE WORST food and place ever! It's perfect for someone who maybe thinks good Mexican is Taco Del Mar. All around gross

Pros: the waitstaff was friendly

Cons: awful food, limited vegetarian options, tacky decor, maragritas from the bowels of hell

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Possibly the worst Mexican food ever! The lone star it did recieve from me is attributed to the Widmer Brothers' and their delicious hefeweizen. I ordered the flautas, which at 9.75 was not outrageous; especially considering the kind of portions you usually recieve at Mexican restaurants. Well, not only were the 2 "taquito-sized" flautas small, but the meager portions of lettuce, beans and rice were also laughable. But, back to the flautas.... Small, flavorless, chewy, freezer-burnt and stringy just about wraps it up; except to say that i don't think you could find worse tasting "taquitos" in the frozen food section of your local grocery store. I feel bad for writing this, although the one lingering thought after my meal is that I had eaten here several years before, and the horrible experience had now been repeated. Save your money! Eat wet cardboard at home for free!

0
★☆☆☆☆

Possibly the worst Mexican food ever! The lone star it did recieve from me is attributed to the Widmer Brothers' and their delicious hefeweizen. I ordered the flautas, which at 9.75 was not outrageous; especially considering the kind of portions you usually recieve at Mexican restaurants. Well, not only were the 2 "taquito-sized" flautas small, but the meager portions of lettuce, beans and rice were also laughable. But, back to the flautas.... Small, flavorless, chewy, freezer-burnt and stringy just about wraps it up; except to say that i don't think you could find worse tasting "taquitos" in the frozen food section of your local grocery store. I feel bad for writing this, although the one lingering thought after my meal is that I had eaten here several years before, and the horrible experience had now been repeated. Save your money! Eat wet cardboard at home for free!

Pros: In same State.

Cons: Food is terrible

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Awesome food and totally reasonable for the portions. I have a buffalo enchilada addiction that is almost unhealthy. The atmosphere is great if you are in the front portion, but the back area kind of feels like the kids' table. The service is always friendly, sometimes too friendly? I have not had a good margarita here, so I'd stick to the strawberry lemonade and tequila shots. I have never been disappointed by the food here, maybe because the buffalo enchiladas are just that good!

2
★★★★☆

Awesome food and totally reasonable for the portions. I have a buffalo enchilada addiction that is almost unhealthy. The atmosphere is great if you are in the front portion, but the back area kind of feels like the kids' table. The service is always friendly, sometimes too friendly? I have not had a good margarita here, so I'd stick to the strawberry lemonade and tequila shots. I have never been disappointed by the food here, maybe because the buffalo enchiladas are just that good!

Pros: Buffalo, wild boar, bottomless salsa and chips, fast

Cons: Awkward back room, bad margaritas, shtick-y service

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History paints a picture of the "Kennedy Camelot" years as such. John F. Kennedy was a beacon of hope and as his flame was snuffed out his younger brother, Robert, carried the torch only to be taken too quickly. The rest of the legacy has been stricken with folly and scandal. This lesson could probably be applied to Esparza's as well. Where once Mama Esparza pounded out her tasty Tex-Mex dishes for friend's and family now her heritage has been reduced to having Ted Kennedy in the kitchen. There is a note on the menu that warns the casual diner to alert the wait staff should you have issues with spicy food. Maybe a nemesis called to warn them ahead of my visit. Aside from the jalape?o peppers and my liberal dousing of Tapatio on the Tex-Mex Nachos, the plate was devoid of spice whatsoever. The ground beef and beans had the consistency of cat food with none of the flavor. My girlfriend's crunchy chicken tacos, while packed with so much "seasoned" chicken and cheese that you could barely add peppers, left a black hole where her taste buds used to reside. Esparza's also suffers from the standard Portland stereotype of of dressing the part, but falling short in living the life. If someone spent as much time on entrees as they did on the decor our visit may have ended up different. The wait staff, while kind, seemed to be hampered by "the rules." With two open tables & 20 bar stools in front of me, I was questioned if my guest would be showing up soon. This also happened to a party of 6 who already had 3 people waiting. And don't even think of substituting ANYTHING on the menu without meeting resistance and ultimately denial. All in all your palate would be best served by hitting Javier's or another taqueria that isn't pretending to be "cool," where you (the customer) can have a choice that is not held up to an invisible standard, and where flavor is not a just a words on the menu. Maybe one day this WAY overpriced eatery will endorse a better candidate.

0
★☆☆☆☆

History paints a picture of the "Kennedy Camelot" years as such. John F. Kennedy was a beacon of hope and as his flame was snuffed out his younger brother, Robert, carried the torch only to be taken too quickly. The rest of the legacy has been stricken with folly and scandal. This lesson could probably be applied to Esparza's as well. Where once Mama Esparza pounded out her tasty Tex-Mex dishes for friend's and family now her heritage has been reduced to having Ted Kennedy in the kitchen. There is a note on the menu that warns the casual diner to alert the wait staff should you have issues with spicy food. Maybe a nemesis called to warn them ahead of my visit. Aside from the jalape?o peppers and my liberal dousing of Tapatio on the Tex-Mex Nachos, the plate was devoid of spice whatsoever. The ground beef and beans had the consistency of cat food with none of the flavor. My girlfriend's crunchy chicken tacos, while packed with so much "seasoned" chicken and cheese that you could barely add peppers, left a black hole where her taste buds used to reside. Esparza's also suffers from the standard Portland stereotype of of dressing the part, but falling short in living the life. If someone spent as much time on entrees as they did on the decor our visit may have ended up different. The wait staff, while kind, seemed to be hampered by "the rules." With two open tables & 20 bar stools in front of me, I was questioned if my guest would be showing up soon. This also happened to a party of 6 who already had 3 people waiting. And don't even think of substituting ANYTHING on the menu without meeting resistance and ultimately denial. All in all your palate would be best served by hitting Javier's or another taqueria that isn't pretending to be "cool," where you (the customer) can have a choice that is not held up to an invisible standard, and where flavor is not a just a words on the menu. Maybe one day this WAY overpriced eatery will endorse a better candidate.

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On our first time at Esparza's, we sat down and were instantly excited by the free-flowing chips and salsa and the blended margaritas. This is it, we thought! Mexican food in Portland like you get it in Austin! Then we saw beneath the funky exterior and realized they just don't get it. I ordered a bean and cheese burrito and asked if it came with lettuce. The answer was that it did not, but I could have lettuce for an extra dollar. That's kind of stingy, but I went with it. When the food arrived, there was lettuce on the plate, and an extra bowl of lettuce. Turns out, my meal did come with lettuce so we had to have them remove the extra dollar charge. Not the kind of petty details you want to have to discuss with your server on a fun evening out! I liked the burrito; my boyfriend thought his migas were just average. We gave it another try this weekend - again, haggling with the waitstaff about what we were allowed to order and what we weren't. No, I'm sorry, that only comes with the red sauce. No, I'm sorry, the two burrito plate only comes with two of the same kind of burrito, you can't mix and match. It's just not fun! It doesn't seem customer-based, it doesn't seem light and funky and fun. And all the extra charges add up.

The service and all the rules make Esparza's seem like they're just pretending to be food-loving cowboys. I echo the other posting I just read here - we'll go somewhere where they appreciate our business and where we feel welcome! You can't just toss up a few taxidermied animals and some pictures of John Wayne and be done with it. Spirit counts more than decor.

1
★★☆☆☆

On our first time at Esparza's, we sat down and were instantly excited by the free-flowing chips and salsa and the blended margaritas. This is it, we thought! Mexican food in Portland like you get it in Austin! Then we saw beneath the funky exterior and realized they just don't get it. I ordered a bean and cheese burrito and asked if it came with lettuce. The answer was that it did not, but I could have lettuce for an extra dollar. That's kind of stingy, but I went with it. When the food arrived, there was lettuce on the plate, and an extra bowl of lettuce. Turns out, my meal did come with lettuce so we had to have them remove the extra dollar charge. Not the kind of petty details you want to have to discuss with your server on a fun evening out! I liked the burrito; my boyfriend thought his migas were just average. We gave it another try this weekend - again, haggling with the waitstaff about what we were allowed to order and what we weren't. No, I'm sorry, that only comes with the red sauce. No, I'm sorry, the two burrito plate only comes with two of the same kind of burrito, you can't mix and match. It's just not fun! It doesn't seem customer-based, it doesn't seem light and funky and fun. And all the extra charges add up.

The service and all the rules make Esparza's seem like they're just pretending to be food-loving cowboys. I echo the other posting I just read here - we'll go somewhere where they appreciate our business and where we feel welcome! You can't just toss up a few taxidermied animals and some pictures of John Wayne and be done with it. Spirit counts more than decor.

Pros: Chips and salsa, blended margaritas

Cons: Staff who don't care and who make you conform to their rules

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This place is awesome, I love the food and the funky decor. The staff is friendly and service is quick. The Tequilla list great and margahritas are not bad.

2
★★★★★

This place is awesome, I love the food and the funky decor. The staff is friendly and service is quick. The Tequilla list great and margahritas are not bad.

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Esparza's is the best Mexican in Portland- And I know my Mexican. The staff is friendly- we go in so often they know us by name. I see co-workers there all the time, family members, friends, etc. Everyone loves Esparza's. They have a unique menu but also many choices for people who aren't so daring either (like me). The chips and salsa are very excellent- just don't gorge on them or you'll be stuffed for your dinner- I have a hard time making this balance! My fiance has tried something new almost everytime we've gone and he is hardly disappointed. He didn't even really like Mexican food until he met me and I made him start going to Esparza's with me- And now I can't keep him away- He'd eat there three times per week if we could! Try it out- you won't be sorry! Try the BBQ Shredded Pork Tacos or Quesidillas! Awesome!

2
★★★★★

Esparza's is the best Mexican in Portland- And I know my Mexican. The staff is friendly- we go in so often they know us by name. I see co-workers there all the time, family members, friends, etc. Everyone loves Esparza's. They have a unique menu but also many choices for people who aren't so daring either (like me). The chips and salsa are very excellent- just don't gorge on them or you'll be stuffed for your dinner- I have a hard time making this balance! My fiance has tried something new almost everytime we've gone and he is hardly disappointed. He didn't even really like Mexican food until he met me and I made him start going to Esparza's with me- And now I can't keep him away- He'd eat there three times per week if we could! Try it out- you won't be sorry! Try the BBQ Shredded Pork Tacos or Quesidillas! Awesome!

Pros: Yummy Mexican Food!

Cons: The margaritas are just average.

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Went to Esparza's with four coworkers tonight for dinner because my boss suggested it. None us have ever been there before and we were all happy with our meals. The service was great felt like we were being served by everyone that was working there and food was awesome. We really liked the wild boar nachos as our starter.

2
★★★★★

Went to Esparza's with four coworkers tonight for dinner because my boss suggested it. None us have ever been there before and we were all happy with our meals. The service was great felt like we were being served by everyone that was working there and food was awesome. We really liked the wild boar nachos as our starter.

Pros: wild boar nachos!!! service and mandolines

Cons: never been before

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Went to see a movie at the laurelhurst with a friend and decided to try and grab a bite at esparza's before the show started. Heard how busy this place could be and was suprised to get a table without a wait. My friend and I split the wild boar nachos which were outstanding, and I also tried a chile rellano equally as good. The service was friendly and quick, left us plenty of time sit and enjoy another beer not feeling pressed to make our movie.

2
★★★★★

Went to see a movie at the laurelhurst with a friend and decided to try and grab a bite at esparza's before the show started. Heard how busy this place could be and was suprised to get a table without a wait. My friend and I split the wild boar nachos which were outstanding, and I also tried a chile rellano equally as good. The service was friendly and quick, left us plenty of time sit and enjoy another beer not feeling pressed to make our movie.

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I went to Esparza's with my boyfriend tonight after hearing good things about it from long-time Portlanders. We were seated at the same time as a group of four that was waiting outside with us. The group of four were seated, had their order taken, received their food and started eating before anybody ever came to take our order. We finally got drink orders and my boyfriend's margarita tasted like melted plastic :( A good 15 minutes later we were debating just getting up and leaving when somebody finally came over to ask if we'd ordered yet. I said we'd give it a shot and asked if the beans/rice were vegetarian before I ordered... the waiter was super defensive and told me NOTHING on the menu was vegetarian at all, which I wish we would have known beforehand, so I told him we were just going to go and I'd be happy to pay for my Corona but the margarita tasted bad and I wasn't going to pay and he rather than fixing it himself he "My manager's over there, you can go talk to him if you want to" - Instead I decided to just walk out. The manager followed and I told him what happened, and he said not to worry about it - So, I got a free Corona and a margarita we couldn't drink - but seriously, what was their problem? What ever happened to taking care of the customers? I'm totally shocked.

0
★☆☆☆☆

I went to Esparza's with my boyfriend tonight after hearing good things about it from long-time Portlanders. We were seated at the same time as a group of four that was waiting outside with us. The group of four were seated, had their order taken, received their food and started eating before anybody ever came to take our order. We finally got drink orders and my boyfriend's margarita tasted like melted plastic :( A good 15 minutes later we were debating just getting up and leaving when somebody finally came over to ask if we'd ordered yet. I said we'd give it a shot and asked if the beans/rice were vegetarian before I ordered... the waiter was super defensive and told me NOTHING on the menu was vegetarian at all, which I wish we would have known beforehand, so I told him we were just going to go and I'd be happy to pay for my Corona but the margarita tasted bad and I wasn't going to pay and he rather than fixing it himself he "My manager's over there, you can go talk to him if you want to" - Instead I decided to just walk out. The manager followed and I told him what happened, and he said not to worry about it - So, I got a free Corona and a margarita we couldn't drink - but seriously, what was their problem? What ever happened to taking care of the customers? I'm totally shocked.

Pros: Manager took everything off our tab but...

Cons: I had to yell and cause a huge scene to get taken care of. Also, chips were stale.

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We used to go here frequently, but after last night, I'm not so sure. The cowgirl tamales were sub-par (not much flavor), and I had one as a leftover at work today. I was totally disgusted when I found what appears to be a pubic hair (thick, black, and course) in my tamale. Yuck!

Their food used to be so much better! I think it is overpriced and the service is somewhat attitudinal!

1
★★☆☆☆

We used to go here frequently, but after last night, I'm not so sure. The cowgirl tamales were sub-par (not much flavor), and I had one as a leftover at work today. I was totally disgusted when I found what appears to be a pubic hair (thick, black, and course) in my tamale. Yuck!

Their food used to be so much better! I think it is overpriced and the service is somewhat attitudinal!

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We've been coming here for years, but no more. The food is still pretty good, but I haven't seen Mr. Esparza in 6 or 8 visits, and his absence shows. If I want to be snubbed by inexperienced teenage (acting) servers, I'll find an arrogant barista in any coffeehouse in Portland. My husband told me not to write this negative review, but it downright ruined my day this time. I'll spend my money where they appreciate it.

0
★☆☆☆☆

We've been coming here for years, but no more. The food is still pretty good, but I haven't seen Mr. Esparza in 6 or 8 visits, and his absence shows. If I want to be snubbed by inexperienced teenage (acting) servers, I'll find an arrogant barista in any coffeehouse in Portland. My husband told me not to write this negative review, but it downright ruined my day this time. I'll spend my money where they appreciate it.

Pros: Good, innovate Tex-Mex food I've never seen anywhere else

Cons: Service is rude and/or nonexistent on repeated visits

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I have heard of this restaurant for years but never had been able to stop in for a meal. Last night I was meeting a friend on that side of town and decided to meet there. Waiting for my friend i sat at the bar having a beer looking at all the marionets and other funky items over the space while the bartender entertained me. When my friend arrived we were seated in a cozy both while our waitress walked us though the menu. This isnt really a place for vegatarians as my friend is, but luckly she did eat seafood and had the prawns which were outstanding, and my rib-eye steak was equally as good.

First expierence was great, last expierence was not pleasurable for my party changed the star rating. Probably wont be returning.

0
★☆☆☆☆

I have heard of this restaurant for years but never had been able to stop in for a meal. Last night I was meeting a friend on that side of town and decided to meet there. Waiting for my friend i sat at the bar having a beer looking at all the marionets and other funky items over the space while the bartender entertained me. When my friend arrived we were seated in a cozy both while our waitress walked us though the menu. This isnt really a place for vegatarians as my friend is, but luckly she did eat seafood and had the prawns which were outstanding, and my rib-eye steak was equally as good.

First expierence was great, last expierence was not pleasurable for my party changed the star rating. Probably wont be returning.

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Coming from California and Arizona, Oregon obviously has dissapointing mexican food. Tex-Mex is not my favorite and don't get the heavy over sauced style of food. The chips and salas were ok, I agree on the margaritas, the mix is anythiing but fresh squeezed. For margaritas I'd go to Nuestra Cocina or Taqueria Nueve. The place doesn't seem very clean and they really pack in the seats so it makes for a fast not very relaxing dining experience.

1
★★☆☆☆

Coming from California and Arizona, Oregon obviously has dissapointing mexican food. Tex-Mex is not my favorite and don't get the heavy over sauced style of food. The chips and salas were ok, I agree on the margaritas, the mix is anythiing but fresh squeezed. For margaritas I'd go to Nuestra Cocina or Taqueria Nueve. The place doesn't seem very clean and they really pack in the seats so it makes for a fast not very relaxing dining experience.

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uh, i just got back from the worst restaurant i have ever been to, ever. where do i begin? the staff was like a bunch of frat house flunkies. my girlfriend who's vegetarian, got a chunk of bony knuckle or something in her bean and cheese enchilada which tasted bad enough before. i had barbecue sauce tacos with lamb meat that tasted wrong at best. the rice and beans were bland, yet plentiful. i probably had five bites before i gave my plate back and my tummy hurts now. my girl just finished purging her guts out and it was nothing like have ever seen before. i think i'm next in line. good thing we filled up on the salad, which was only iceburg lettuce and kraft italian dressing, but by far the best part of our meal. if we would have paid for this garbage we would have been kissing $30 without drinks. im not usually fussy about restaurants, but i would rather drink the water in mexico and slug myself in the stomach, than go back to esparza's. my girl says she has never regreted anything in her life before going here. i only rated this place a zero because there are no provisions for negitive numbers. don't go to esparza's.

0
★☆☆☆☆

uh, i just got back from the worst restaurant i have ever been to, ever. where do i begin? the staff was like a bunch of frat house flunkies. my girlfriend who's vegetarian, got a chunk of bony knuckle or something in her bean and cheese enchilada which tasted bad enough before. i had barbecue sauce tacos with lamb meat that tasted wrong at best. the rice and beans were bland, yet plentiful. i probably had five bites before i gave my plate back and my tummy hurts now. my girl just finished purging her guts out and it was nothing like have ever seen before. i think i'm next in line. good thing we filled up on the salad, which was only iceburg lettuce and kraft italian dressing, but by far the best part of our meal. if we would have paid for this garbage we would have been kissing $30 without drinks. im not usually fussy about restaurants, but i would rather drink the water in mexico and slug myself in the stomach, than go back to esparza's. my girl says she has never regreted anything in her life before going here. i only rated this place a zero because there are no provisions for negitive numbers. don't go to esparza's.

Pros: good if you're bulimic.

Cons: i dont have enough space here.

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This is a fine restaurant for Tex-mex food. It is authentic and good, but the prices are higher than you might expect. Fun decor and good service.

1
★★★☆☆

This is a fine restaurant for Tex-mex food. It is authentic and good, but the prices are higher than you might expect. Fun decor and good service.

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I've searched all of Portland for good Mexican food, who would have thought it was only blocks away? This place makes my tastebuds sing(they'd probably sing a Johnny Cash or Marty Robbins song). I kid you not, I take pride in finding tasty and quality Mexican food, this place is fantastic. Because they have so many choices its actually fun picking something off the menu. You can't beat the decor either. I highly suggest the Buffalo for those who enjoy a little spice.

2
★★★★★

I've searched all of Portland for good Mexican food, who would have thought it was only blocks away? This place makes my tastebuds sing(they'd probably sing a Johnny Cash or Marty Robbins song). I kid you not, I take pride in finding tasty and quality Mexican food, this place is fantastic. Because they have so many choices its actually fun picking something off the menu. You can't beat the decor either. I highly suggest the Buffalo for those who enjoy a little spice.

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Tried this establishment today. Very disappointed in the quality & quantity of food. Ordered the nachos and it had 11 chips, yes regular tortilla chips (with cheese and jalapenos), just 11 of them for $6.95. I really thought this was a joke. Menu offers lots of wild meats, but being vegetarian, I am not impressed. Wont be going back. Hope you have a better experience... I'd chose a cheap taco stand over this place anyday of the week.

0
★☆☆☆☆

Tried this establishment today. Very disappointed in the quality & quantity of food. Ordered the nachos and it had 11 chips, yes regular tortilla chips (with cheese and jalapenos), just 11 of them for $6.95. I really thought this was a joke. Menu offers lots of wild meats, but being vegetarian, I am not impressed. Wont be going back. Hope you have a better experience... I'd chose a cheap taco stand over this place anyday of the week.

Pros: none

Cons: rip-off

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I've always heard mostly great things about Esparza's so I decided to try it out on a Thursday night by myself. I dine alone all over Portland and am never treated like single diners dread of being treated. Not the case here. I was openly scorned for being a single diner and it seemed for not being "hip enough". I was dressed in Portland casual and when I went to order a $11.99 entree they seemed surprised. I did not feel welcome and am never going back on this basis alone.

The food was very mediocre. They seem to think a few unusual items on the menu (buffalo, ostrich) make up for average preparation. The food is twice as expensive as other places with equivalent quality. Not worth it for the food to me.

Given how I was treated and the lackluster food, I don't recommend this place.

0
★☆☆☆☆

I've always heard mostly great things about Esparza's so I decided to try it out on a Thursday night by myself. I dine alone all over Portland and am never treated like single diners dread of being treated. Not the case here. I was openly scorned for being a single diner and it seemed for not being "hip enough". I was dressed in Portland casual and when I went to order a $11.99 entree they seemed surprised. I did not feel welcome and am never going back on this basis alone.

The food was very mediocre. They seem to think a few unusual items on the menu (buffalo, ostrich) make up for average preparation. The food is twice as expensive as other places with equivalent quality. Not worth it for the food to me.

Given how I was treated and the lackluster food, I don't recommend this place.

Pros: Located close to other better places.

Cons: Service, prices.

Editorial from

"Colorful" is an understatement when used to describe the decor at this Tex-Mex roadhouse decorated with hanging marionettes, stuffed snakes and animal skulls. A great place for a first date, there's plenty to look at if the conversation…

 

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