Out on Hillsborough Street you’ll find a plethora of low-priced eats for a student’s budget. Given its proximity to NC State, it’s no surprise that you’ll find a bunch of pizza, sub and Mexican spots on this street. One of the newer Mexican restaurants is La Rancherita which was changed over from Chile Bomba by the Ibarra family. So I was curious to see if it still delivered better-quality Mexican American eats for not much dinero. Here’s how my visit went down…
From both the inside and outside, there aren’t many surprises at La Rancherita. A bit plain on the outside and a large open, simple dining room inside, it follows the scheme of most casual Mexican-American restaurants. We get a plastic, covered menu and our drink orders are taken quickly. For this Monday night, they’re doing $2 import bottles so I go with a Bohemian. The menu again, is right down the middle with an assortment of tacos, burritos, fajitas, entrees and more. It’s actually a smaller menu than my Mexican fave (La Cocina) out in Apex. I go with some shrimp and chorizo tacos which comes with beans and rice on the side. As expected, service is lickedy-split which is perfect for tonight since we’re trying to catch a flick at the IMAX theater downtown.
My plate looks great: three nicely filled tacos with a bit of cream sauce, a small bowl of black beans along with some fluffy seasoned rice. The tacos are nicely done with plump, grilled shrimp contrasted against the spicy sausage. An excellent taste combination and filling for dinner. The sides are also decent but I admit it’s hard for me to get too excited about beans or rice, just some extra carbs to balance out the meal! My friend Andrew’s plate fajitas look pretty good too, with plenty of white meat and bell peppers, I’m pretty sure it was about $12 which is a good deal.
Overall I think La Rancherita does a good job for casual Mexican but it’s really hard to distinguish it from any other restaurant dishing out those ethnic eats in the area! With a location that might be tight for parking once State students come back, I’m not sure when I’ll be back next. Around my office, I love my La Cocina and at home, I tend to head north to a place like Los Cuates on Wake Forest Road. But for people on Hillsborough Street, La Rancherita offers tasty and quick Mexican eats for all! Just don’t expect too much and you’ll be fine…
2400 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27607