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Mystery Diner: Los Panchos in Sycamore hits all the right notes

It’s been around since 2016, but Los Panchos Mexican Grill and Cantina has the warm feeling of meeting an old friend for a quality meal.

Located on Peace Road, Los Panchos is easily accessible and has plenty of parking. We walked in on a Friday night, were greeted by the staff and were able to get a booth in the corner right away.

The restaurant has an expansive menu, including grilled items and classic Mexican dishes such as enchiladas, fajitas, tacos, quesadillas and burritos. There are a few vegetarian options, too. It’s one of the bigger menus I’ve seen in DeKalb County.

Los Panchos starts you off with complementary chips and salsa, and it’s easy to go through a basket or two before your meal arrives. The salsa is sweet, not too spicy, and the chips are warm, crunchy and lightly salted. A good starter no matter the occasion.

I was in the mood for a drink, and ordered a small lime margarita ($5.99). There are plenty of margarita options, but I prefer the classic lime. There’s good flavor throughout and it doesn’t pack too much of a punch.

After going through the exhaustive list of choices, we settled on our entrées: the nachos fajita with chicken ($10.95) off the appetizer menu, shrimp tacos ($14.95), and a kids cheese quesadilla, rice and beans ($5.35) for my young one.

The nachos fajita consists of fresh fried corn tortilla chips, chicken (you can get steak, too), shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole and sour cream. The chips are the same as the basket of chips you start the meal with, so you know they’re good, and the chicken is done well. It’s a quality plate of nachos that can make for a fulfilling meal or appetizer.

I ordered the shrimp tacos, which consists of three corn tortillas topped with shrimp, pico de gallo, lettuce, avocado, onion and tomato. It comes with a side of hot sauce and a plate of Spanish rice.

I feel like shrimp tacos can be easy to mess up, but Los Panchos does a great job of cooking the shrimp to make sure it isn’t too rubbery or soft. The seasoning is flavorful, and the toppings all make sense.

It’s a lot of food in three tacos, so be prepared to take one home for leftovers, but it’s tasty. The hot sauce lives up to the idea of being hot and spicy, so be prepared for some heat if you like that.

My young one devoured the cheese quesadilla, rice and beans. An enthusiastic “yeah!” was his review when asked if he enjoyed the meal.

There are plenty of kids options on the menu, too, so even if you have picky eaters, they should be able to find something to enjoy.

• The Mystery Diner is an employee at the Daily Chronicle. The diner’s identity is not revealed to restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits a restaurant and then reports on the experience. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a review.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Los Panchos Mexican Grill and Cantina

WHERE: 1470 S. Peace Road, Sycamore

HOURS: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday

INFORMATION: Call 815-991-9278 or visit lospanchosrestaurants.com

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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