El Dorado Cantina’s happy hour is a true treasure

Go ahead, get a few extra tacos.

The menu itself is simple, fitting onto one side of a table tent: El Dorado Cantina’s happy hour takes place twice daily, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and again from midnight to 4 a.m. The booze offerings are generous—a $7 Sauza 901 margarita, a $10 Modelo Draft and Don Julio shot combo, $5 wine and half-price wells and domestics—and the food menu short and sweet: $7 cheese quesadillas, deep fried taquitos, sopes, empanadas, panuchos and tostaditas de tinga, and $3.50 street tacos with your choice of proteins or corn rajas.

But the simplicity of the happy hour menu—available solely at the bar—belies the truth of it: Like virtually everything else associated with this farm-to-table Mexican restaurant, El Dorado’s happy hour is near the top of its class. Those panuchos—fresh corn tortillas filled with black beans and topped with cochinita pibil, pickled habanero onion (so good), queso fresco and fresh-sliced avocado—are tangy and light, but also rib-sticking and satisfying. They bring out the lingering honey taste of that margarita, and when you pair them with the restaurant’s chips and salsa and a street taco (I recommend shredded chicken), you’ve got pretty much a full meal for under $20.

By the way: Don’t get hung up on the fact that Sapphire is right next door. El Dorado has its own calm, subdued vibe that’s wholly independent of the gentlemen’s club—and even if it didn’t, the superlative food and drink makes its own scene.

EL DORADO CANTINA 3025 Sammy Davis Jr. Drive, 702-722-2289. 24/7.

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