on Old Mill Road is always busy when I drive by, so when my husband and I were craving Mexican food, we decided to give it a try. Cars in the parking lot of a restaurant are usually a good sign and this was no exception.
My first impression was that the restaurant is spacious, clean and tastefully decorated. There are three separate dining areas and each area is lined with comfortable padded booths and filled in with tables. We were greeted by a host and led to a booth in a private area. Moments later a waitress brought us a large bowl of chips, a side of salsa and took our drink order.
We ordered the chicken soup as an appetizer. The description on the menu sounded tasty and the finished product did not disappoint. The soup contained strips of chicken, onion, tomato, rice, lime and avocado. The chicken was pulled white meat and the avocados were prepared in huge, satisfying chucks. The soup was big enough to be a meal and I especially liked how fresh it was; you could make out each individual ingredient.
The waitress was informative and patient as she answered numerous questions regarding the menu and provided descriptions of challupas, chili rellenos and other things. For our main dishes, my husband ordered the Texas Fajitas and I had the number 18 dinner combination of one burrito, one enchilada, Spanish rice and refried beans.
The portions were generous. My husband ate three fajitas, was more than satisfied, and still had enough food leftover to warrant a doggie bag. He felt the chicken and shrimp were cooked really well but the steak was a little overdone. The fajitas came with a variety of toppings including tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, Spanish rice, refried beans, flour tortillas, guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo. My husband was happy to see the refried beans, which are not usually served as a fajita topping at other restaurants. He raved about the pico de gallo, which I agreed was excellent, having enjoyed it with the free chips. It was just spicy enough and contained a perfect balance of flavors.
My meal, the burrito and enchilada combo plate, was extremely filling and a little redundant. That’s partly my fault; I ordered a chicken burrito and a chicken enchilada. Add in the chicken soup I had for an appetizer and my meal was on chicken overload. There were not many ingredients other than chicken in either the burrito or the enchilada and I would have loved if they contained some vegetables to help differentiate the flavors. Other than the color of the sauces and the type of wraps, the two items were hardly distinguishable. That said, I ate every bite and wasn’t complaining. Luckily, the chicken was all white meat and delicious so even though it was redundant, it was tasty. The Spanish rice and refried beans were also good side dishes. The beans were served with melted cheese on top and the rice was savory and tender. The next time I go I will probably order a more balanced meal, something with vegetables. The menu contained plenty of options.
When you find yourself craving Mexican, forego the big chain restaurants and try El Nopal. It's open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and – get this – Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Being open until 10 p.m. on a Sunday is all but unheard of in Cartersville. The restaurant is casual and kid-friendly, so bring the bambinos. But most importantly, bring an appetite!