You probably know by now the Ultra5280 staff loves tacos and that we also love delicious but affordable food. While there are many great places in Denver for tasty tacos, mile high nachos, and cheesy quesadillas, there aren’t as many that serve it in style and at a great price.
This Mexican beauty is internationally known chef-restaurant owner Richard Sandoval’s newest culinary venue, La Güera. It’s styled as a casual gastro-cantina with an order up counter by day, perfect for short lunch breaks, but transforms come 5pm into a more swanky, sit down, full-service restaurant. However, no matter the time from 11am-11pm the affordable, a la carte menu remains. The prices get even better between 3-7pm Monday through Friday during Happy Hour though, when you can get the quesadillas, nachos, tacos, margaritas, beers and wine for a fine $4!
Starters at La Güera include Crispy Bacon Guacamole and Tortilla Soup, which we had to try. The bacon guacamole is fully loaded with bacon crumbles, onion, pico de gallo, cilantro and cotija cheese, to the point where every one of those ingredients are in each scoop you take. The Tortilla Soup was thick, flavorful and not spicy, which really surprised us that it didn’t have cream added. Instead it was all just hearty, healthy chilies! Taking the soup to the next level is shredded chicken, avocado chunks, crema fresca and tiny tortilla strips. This soup is a must get, and for $3 I seriously don’t know where you could find a better soup, at this size, at this price. Really, I’ve been on a soup hunt since our first dusting of snow.
Antojitos are the main courses here and display the inventive cuisine for which Sandoval has become famous, yet in the form of favorites you crave when heading to a Mexican restaurant. You’ll find Carne Asada Sopes, Chicken Flautas, Enchiladas, Nachos and seven types of tacos. We tried the veggie taco with roasted peppers, guacamole, and smoky seasoned pumpkin seeds. It was a delicious dish with winter warming flavors. The chicken enchilada was also good, but not drenched in a red or green sauce like you usually see. Instead it had pickled chilies and a light dollop of sour cream, cheese and salsa on top. The chicken flautas were also tasty and topped with chopped romaine and pico de gallo that added some healthy freshness to chicken wrapped in a deep fried shell. We also thought it important to try one of the less traditional Mexican dishes on the menu, perhaps a Sandoval original, the Tlayudas. This was described as a Mexican pizza, and while it comes close in appearance it’s very different in taste. Instead of dough it has a crispy, thin corn base then bean puree is spread on and topped with Oaxaca cheese, pico, salsa, and avocado. You can also add on spicy shrimp, chapulines, or chorizo. Sandoval displays his creative talent yet again with this Mexican pizza.
While at first glance the menu may seem small, that’s really just the size of the paper fooling you. The menu covers all the bases and leaves room for the sweet stuff with a couple of homemade desserts and Aguas frescas, Café, cocktails, craft beers, wine and more than 200 tequilas! And if all this isn’t reason enough to go, the interior ambiance of the place is really inviting, comfortable and fun. Inspired by the streets of Mexico, La Güera features hand painted murals from local artists, Mexican blankets on the booths, and other thoughtful touches. All of these qualities were important to Sandoval in creating La Güera as a place people could come to relax and transport themselves away from their busy days, whether it just be for quick lunch or for a leisurely dinner or drinks with friends. We definitely recommend you go try La Güera, as it offers many great eats one would find at a refined Mexican restaurant with ambiance to match, but with prices you’d expect at a hole in the wall. Viva los tacos!