Last week, I decided to try Acapulco Mexican Restaurant and Bar (how relaxing looking does that website page look??) located at 8949 Route 30, North Huntingdon Square (in the same plaza as Target/Giant Eagle) in Irwin. Acapulco is about 30 min east of the city, minutes from the Irwin PA Turnpike Exit. I grew up in the North Huntingdon area and discovered it when I was searching for restaurants to try in the area a few months ago. I also had coworkers ask about the restaurant, but none of us had ever tried it, so I figured this was the day to try their tacos!
My mother and I went to Acapulco after spending some quality time shopping at Target. The first thing I noticed when I walked inside was a map of Mexico next to the cash register. The map is large, colorful, and appealing and makes sense since they are named for a large popular city in Mexico. The restaurant itself is very spacious with a very nice bar towards the back. The booth, tables, and floor were very clean and tidy. They had a nice selection of Latin American music playing in the background. Service was quick and the waiter was super attentive. My mother noticed that there were at least 6 visible employees interacting with the customers which always helps a visit.
The menu had so many options. Drinks, salads, desserts (very blurry pictures of the desserts on the menu), sides, lunch only specials (roughly $7.50), combination dinners ($9), specialty dishes, vegetarian dishes, chicken dishes, steak dishes, and pork dishes, burritos, and fajitas…it went on and on! They also had a glossary type section at the end of the menu that described the majority of the Mexican dishes which can be very helpful for people not as experienced in tacos and Mexican food as we are. My mother was disappointed that there were no soups, since she likes getting the soup at El Campesino (which used to be in Irwin). One interesting (and weird/off-putting) part of the menu was all the rules. So many RULES. An extra $1.00 for cheese on top of meal, no refills on certain drinks, no substitutions on platters or specialty items, ranch only for salad, extra $2 for second basket of chips (first basket is free), warnings about not being responsible for items stolen left on table, charging extra for lunch items after 2:30PM. I don’t like following all those rules! Also, that’s a little excessive for the menu. I can only imagine they must get a huge amount of these issues? Who knows.
After reading all the fine print carefully, I chose to do a combination platter. I am generally drawn to combination platters because I get a lot of food for the price. My platter consisted of one hard shell beef taco, cheese quesadilla, shredded chicken enchilada, and rice all for $9.00.
My mother and I both were craving a margarita so we both ordered one. They do have a happy hour special daily from 530PM-730PM with two dollar domestic and imported beers. It’s a good special, but I wish they had daily specials running for their margaritas, mojitos, and other cocktails too. I ordered a 16oz lime margarita on the rocks, no salt (my go to choice) for $7.75. My mother tried the frozen mango margarita also for the same price. The margaritas were AMAZING. There was a perfect ratio of fruit and tequila. My mom said she could taste the fresh mango chunks. They also came in decorative glassware with the cacti as the stem of the glass.
The chips were not as airy and light as I usually like them. And the salsa was standard. Sort of pasty and not as refreshing as the salsa from somewhere like Patron. The taco had plenty of ground beef inside the shell, but the ground beef itself was a little plain tasting with light seasoning. They do not use Chihuahua cheese (I asked the waiter) which I now crave because of Patron, but it was still cheese so I did like it. The rice had some flavor and worked very well in combination with the other dish items, especially mixed in with the sauce from the enchilada. The enchilada consisted of a corn tortilla stuffed with shredded chicken, covered in a dark red enchilada sauce and top with a sprinkle of cheese. Enchilada sauce was rich and covered the enchilada completely. The chicken was very tasty thanks to little red and green pepper chunks throughout the chicken.
Unfortunately, the cheese quesadilla was my least favorite item of the platter. The tortilla shell was not bubbly and flaky as I like them to be. The shell tasted too buttery and salty as well. I probably wouldn’t go for the quesadilla again.
Overall I would describe my meal as acceptable. I liked the chicken enchilada the most but the cheese quesadilla was lacking. I cannot speak for every item on the menu since it was so big, so maybe there are some absolute winners that I didn’t get to try. The margaritas were definitely a highlight of Acapulco.