Best Of 2004

Best Mexican Restaurant: Lily's Mexican Restaurant

Lily's is the "I know a little place" restaurant everybody wants to discover. It's not listed in the yellow pages and only recently found its way into the white pages. And once you find it, be prepared for bit of legwork. After being seated and choosing your meal, you place your order at the counter. You fill your own soda glasses and pick up your chips. After dropping all that off at your table, you proceed to the salsa bar, where you'll find six plastic tubs of the freshest, most addictive salsas you've ever tasted, including an unusually creamy, spicy red salsa made from arbol chiles and thickened with ground tortilla. There's no bar to speak of -- just a cart against the wall where Salvador mixes up several kinds of margaritas. When your drinks and food are ready, a family member serves you -- one of the two Esparza children, or perhaps a nephew. Salvador and Adela Esparza run their newly relocated Mexican eatery at the corner of Kingshighway and Devonshire on a shoestring. They call what they do "home-style Mexican food," and you'd better believe them. All that legwork is worth it, and you'll realize this immediately upon taking your first bite.

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