Authentic Mexican food served at Fiesta Jalisco in Avon
Editor’s note: This article was previously published as a paid feature in EAT, a compendium of restaurant snapshots featuring the best in Vail Valley dining. Look for it on newsstands everywhere.
When Jose Rodriguez founded Fiesta Jalisco in Avon 16 years ago, he wanted a family restaurant that reminded him of the restaurants back home in Guadalajara.
Fiesta Jalisco is what happens when you get that right.
Imagine having amazing Mexican food at your favorite uncle’s house, and your family makes a fuss over you the entire time you’re there. That’s how good the service is. And as good as the service and presentation are, the food is that good or better.
You eat, you laugh, you have fun, you eat some more because it’s that good.
Everything is fresh, always. The staff arrives at 6:30 a.m. to start getting your lunch ready, which they start serving at 10:30 a.m.
Like almost all Mexican restaurants, Fiesta Jalisco starts you with chips and salsa. Their chips are fresh, made in-house every morning and served warm, and the salsa is homemade, too. They also bring a fresh citrus slaw, crunchy with cabbage. It’s the first clue that the restaurant incorporates a host of vegetables into its dishes that go far beyond the standard rice-and-beans approach. And it’s delightful.
The woodwork around Fiesta Jalisco is hand crafted by artisans in Rodriguez’s home region, which gives the place an authentic feel that you just cannot get any other way. The colors are soft. Black and white photos of Mexican screen icons smile down at you from authentic frames. Screen siren Maria Felix is happy you’re there.
Margaritas, you must try one of their signature margaritas … or two if someone else is driving. They’re also made from tequila native to Jose’s home region. Each one is created individually from tequila and happy wizardry.
Seafood is prominent in Guadalajaran cuisine, and you’ll find many options on the menu. The camarones — shrimp — really shine: bacon-wrapped, grilled, marinated or sautéed… you get the picture. But then again, everything is good. From Tacos al Pastor, studded with onions and pineapple, to Carne Asada, flame-broiled to order and served with ranchera sauce and guacamole, the menu is packed with delicious options in a host of incarnations, from enchiladas to fajitas and beyond.
When we were there, a gentleman was there who had been a customer 16 years ago, on Day 1. It was good then, and has only gotten better, he said. And there’s a Brazilian family that vacations in Vail a few times a year. They call as soon as they land in Denver. Their order is ready when they walk in the door. They come back every day they’re in town. You can eat in Fiesta Jalisco for weeks, and never eat the same thing twice.
But whatever you eat for lunch or dinner, it’s a great idea to finish with sopapillas.
Fall means food and wine festivals and also a chance to see the colors just starting to turn over Vail Pass during a bike ride for charity.