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Luxor

3900 Las Vegas Blvd. S.

Las Vegas, NV 89109

702-262-5225

website

$25-$50

Daily 11am-11pm

Mexican

B+

AT A GLANCE

What is it?

One of the few Mexican restaurants on The Strip worth knowing about.

Where is it?

At Luxor on the Center Strip.

What kind of food is served?

Traditional favorites, lots of tacos, lots of tequila.

What is the atmosphere like?

Loud.

How is the service?

Good.

What are the prices like?

A bargain compared to most restaurants on The Strip.

What else do I need to know?

Don't miss the margaritas. Trust me.

What's the bottom line?

Good food; great margaritas!

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FULL REVIEW

After years of a drought in the desert for good Mexican food, the cuisine has gotten a bit of a resurgence in Vegas with several additions of good cantinas along The Strip. There's Mesa Grill at Caesars (although that's more Southwestern than traditional Mexican), Diablo's Cantina at Monte Carlo, Hussong's at Mandalay Bay, and this place, Tacos & Tequila at Luxor.

The space is nothing to get excited about. Located on the attraction level overlooking the lobby, the bulk of the restaurant is open to the interior of the giant pyramid looming above you. Intimate, it ain't. Add in the booming music (complete with a DJ on some nights) and the margarita encouraged loud crowds and you do not have a restaurant that encourages quiet conversation.

And I'm not even going to bring up the fact that the restaurant shares a wall with the "Bodies" exhibition, meaning you're just a few feet away from dead people while you're eating. Oops, sorry... I guess I did bring it up.

But get over it, seriously. Forget the decor and the loudness and the corpses, because this really is a fantastic little Mexican joint, well worth your time and effort.

I'm going to go backward in their name and start with the Tequila, nearly 100 different types and brands ranging in cost from $10 all the way up to $250. And those aren't bottle prices, kids.

The margaritas are heaven, using their own mix of hand-squeezed limes and organic agave nectar plus your choice of the tequilas. Neophytes should just tell the server to choose. We did and we weren't disappointed. They practically jumped out of the glasses they were so fresh. Warning: two of these babies will probably mean you should take a cab back to your hotel.

Appetizers run the gamut: shrimp, beef, or mushroom quesadillas, flautas, tostadas, tamales, homemade guacamole, and even a cayenne pepper roasted corn on the cob. Another section offers up ceviches, citrus-marinated shrimp, tuna, or Mahi-Mahi. There are also a couple of salads and a tortilla soup if you are so inclined. We tried the beef quesadilla ($12) and got a huge flour tortilla stuffed with Oxaca cheese, pico de gallo, sour cream, onion, and tender beef that got completely devoured. It's more than enough for a main course on its own.

Main courses include cheese, beef, and chicken enchiladas and burritos; carne asada, grilled chicken breast, fajitas, carnitas, and pork spare ribs in a tequila barbeque sauce; and more taco types than can possibly be listed here without overwhelming my servers, but here are a few examples: chicken, beef, carne asada, beer-battered Tilapia, pulled pork, Kobe beef, Maine lobster, and many more.

We went for the beef burrito and the chicken fajitas. The former was mammoth and stuffed with juicy pulled beef, fresh salsa, jalapeno aioli, Cojita cheese, and pico de gallo. The latter had all the typical fixings one expects with fajitas, all grilled to perfection and bursting with flavor. I'm the type that usually forgoes the tortillas and just eats everything else but the ones that came with my dish were so soft and warm and delicious that I went the more traditional route.

Prices are expensive for Mexican food but this is one of the cheapest full-service restaurants anywhere on The Strip. Appetizers are mostly in the $10-12 range, tacos (three plus rice and black beans) are mostly $12-15 (except for the Kobe for $25 and the lobster for $23), and everything else is in the $15-20 range. Our bill for three people was around $90 and would've been about half that if we had skipped the three margaritas. But you shouldn't.

Service was fine - nothing to write home about, but they got the job done.

If you need to stay on The Strip and are hankering for some good Mexican food, this is one of the places that should be on your list of options.

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