We were seated quickly and love the decor and atmosphere! Mariachi band was so good and really made the mood fun and exciting! The food was delicious and the service friendly. This is not a fine dining establishment, but an authentic, high quality Mexican restaurant. Highly recommend if you're an easy going out of the box type that wants authentic food and you're not going to be disappointed because you have to wait five mins for the margarita. Also note the price, totally worth it but not a super cheap option. Enjoy and live a little! Ole'
This is my favorite Mexican resturaunt in town. Good Mexican food espically their little charcoal dinner served on little grills...don't know what they are called but they are great. The menu has everything from rabbit, goat and to the "normal" fare. Go early as it gets later the lines starts..large hispanic families take up long tables. There is mariachi too. Large TVs with soccer and a loud juke box with Spanish music...don't be discouraged I love it. Sometimes they have guards at the door..don't know why.... the food is good. Love the tacos espically fish and shrimp ones. Great chimis...great shrimp cocktails and on and on. My favorite Margarita is there..order the Cancun made with fresh squeezed oranges. The service is slow..means the food is fresh. Sometimes there is a language problem but the staff is so nice. Go for the food stay for the ambience.
After having travelled extensively in Mexico, I can state with a great deal of conviction that if you want REAL Mexican food of high quality, this is the place to go. They have a menu showing a great variety of Mexican dishes, and you can order in Spanish if you want to practice the language.
I moved out here from California and was looking for a true Mexican restaurant where I can feel at home. This place was perfect. I want to go eat there again. Music was great, food was yummy, service was great! I want to go back.
What are special are the truly traditional Mexican offerings, foods rooted in the lengthy history of the cuisine and the shorter history of owner Luis Ochoa, a native of Manzanillo who opened El Paraiso over a decade ago. (He also opened a market on Federal Boulevard, now El Gallo Giro, to make sure he could get the authentic ingredients he needed.) The molcajetes and parrilladas are so traditional that they're among the dishes with no English translation.
The molcajete is named for its serving vessel, a blackened stone bowl with short legs that's part of a mortar-and-pestle set dating back to the Aztecs and Mayans. At some point, the bowl became a cooking pot, thrust over hot fires to heat the meat and vegetables laid inside. There are few places serving molcajetes in Denver, and probably none serving as many as El Paraiso. The molcajetes here are regionally focused — reflective of Ochoa's southern roots, but drawing from the northern states of Durango and Chihuahua, too.
One molcajete is big enough for two, even though the menu indicates it's a single portion. Four people might instead opt for the veritable feast afforded by what's described as a two-person parrillada. There are about twenty options, all involving a combination of meats and vegetables heaped onto vast metal grill pans that are delivered to your table over hot coals. In a meaty mood, I go with the Parrillada Azteca: strips of tender, roasted beef and chicken and bits of tripe, lightly breaded and fried crispy, with salty blocks of crumbly cotija cheese. When it's fish I'm craving, I ask for the Parrillada Cancún, with those succulent shrimp that burst between the teeth, playing-card-sized fillets of moist trout, expertly cooked tendrils of octopus, and orange crab legs that poke out of the center in towering spikes. Other parrilladas feature gamey conejo (rabbit) and hearty costillas de borrego (lamb chops); sweet langosta (lobster) flanks many of the seafood offerings. And smoky grilled cactus sees its way into just about every version of the dish.
Most of the traditional offerings at El Paraiso, though, are satisfying in their well-executed simplicity: meat and vegetables, marinated and then changed by heat. These dishes are basic, life-affirming testaments to the pure, simple joy of eating, a basic human need happily satisfied regardless of language barrier or cultural differences. Because all the distractions in the dining room don't hide what El Paraiso is at its core: a place to gather with a large group of family and friends for a hearty shared feast, the time-honored tradition of breaking bread with loved ones.
If none of the combinations are to your liking, your server will help you create one. When I dined with a large group and we couldn't decide whether we wanted seafood or red meat, we wound up with a gargantuan display of just about everything available, including a whole fresh grilled mahi, displayed proudly on top of our heaping pile of food and accompanied by tongs so that we could pull the delicate meat off the bone.