Smile Politely

Dos Reales is the place for affordable Mexican cuisine

I have been a fan of Dos Reales Mexican Resaurant for as long as I can remember. When I was in high school, my friends and I would leave our small town of Fisher and travel to Champaign, and it was pretty much guaranteed that we would meet at Dos Reales. And now, when my friends and I get together, Dos Reales has still been our go-to spot, along with a few of my friends’ babies whom I hope will continue our tradition in the future.

On this particular visit to Dos Reales, I met up with my family for a weeknight dinner.  We were seated immediately and served with a few complimentary baskets of tortilla chips and two different types of salsa. One salsa was chunky and mild, more of a pico de gallo. The other salsa was more of a thin, restaurant-style salsa that had more of a medium to hot spice. The chips and salsa are a perfect appetizer but it is difficult to not make them your whole meal because they are so good.

Another great reason to visit Dos Reales is for the cheap margaritas. My boyfriend and I ordered goblets of margaritas for $3.50 each and then decided it would be more cost effective for all of us to get a pitcher for $16. They can be served frozen or on the rocks, with a salt or sugar rim, and come in a variety of different flavors. I tend to always order my margaritas with the classic lime flavor, on the rocks, with lots of salt. I have experienced weak margaritas at other Mexican restaurants before, but Dos Reales never skimps on the booze.

Since I have been to Dos Reales many times before, I know what I like and now tend to order the same thing each time I visit. My favorite entrée on their menu is the fajita quesadilla vegetariana ($8.75). The fajita quesadilla vegetariana comes in a green spinach tortilla that is loaded with marinated mushrooms, squash, zucchini, red onion and bell peppers and grilled. It is topped with their addicting cheese dip and served with a side of rice, sour cream, and guacamole salad. Though I am not a vegetarian, this quesadilla is loaded with so many delicious veggies that it doesn’t make me miss meat. If you are a vegetable lover like myself, I highly recommend it.

When it comes to Mexican food, my boyfriend tends to order the chori pollo entrée, no matter where we go. But coming to Dos Reales, we know that we will not be disappointed with the food. This time was no different. The chori pollo ($11.25) is seasoned and grilled chicken topped with Mexican chorizo and smothered in melted cheese, served with a side of rice and beans and warm tortillas wrapped in foil. For someone who loves meat and is not afraid of some spice, this dish is perfect.

My brother ordered the burrito poblano ($9.25) which is stuffed; the chicken and simmered in a mildly spicy mole sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds. I wasn’t sure what mole sauce is, but it is a popular Mexican sauce that is similar in texture as barbeque sauce. It can come in a variety of flavors and can made in many different ways, but this sauce had a hint of bitter sweet chocolate that can subtly counteract the spice from the peppers. This entrée was also served with Mexican rice and beans with a side of lettuce and sour cream.

My mom ordered the chimichanga dinner ($9.75) which includes the option of shredded beef or chicken wrapped in two flour tortillas and topped with their signature cheese. It is served with a side of rice, beans, guacamole salad and sour cream. The tortillas can either be deep fried or baked. My brother’s girlfriend also ordered a chimichanga dish, the fajita chimichanga ($10.95). This was a large fried chimichanga stuffed with your choice of steak or chicken, grilled onions, bell peppers and tomatoes. The chimichanga is then topped with cheese dip and served with rice, beans and lettuce.

The portions of our meals were huge and most of us couldn’t finish all of it. We left feeling full and since the food was so affordable, our wallets were still full too. If you are looking for Mexican cuisine at an affordable price in Champaign-Urbana with plenty of seating for friends and family, then look no further than Dos Reales.

Dos Reales Mexican Restaurant is located on 1407 North Prospect Avenue, Champaign, and open Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. ; and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

All photos by Brittany Busboom.

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