After launching four other successful El Tiempo Cantina locations, as well as a specialty market, the team behind one of Houston’s Tex-Mex empires has returned to its roots, adding a fifth location in the family’s Old Neighborhood.
Dusky lighting, chummy servers and enjoyable salsa tunes make patrons feel like they just landed in a classy, crowded border-town cantina. El Tiempo attracts a brisk, discriminating happy-hour crowd for good reason: Stout, limey margaritas paired with chips and the legendary tomatillo sauce inherited from Mama Ninfa.
Generously portioned combination plates are heavy on the cheese. The grilled fajita tower (tender beef, shrimp and meaty quail) is paired with extraordinarily moist, green rice and savory charro beans. Chili fans will love the spicy serrano peppers atop the steamed red snapper heaped with crab meat. Wonderfully fresh guacamole comes with minced onions, jalapeños and garlic to add as desired. A jumbo chocobanana empanada crowned with melted chocolate and ice cream is the best last bite.
Try the weekend breakfasts, which are fit for a king.