As we sit down at the table, our waitress presents us with fresh salsa and recently homemade tortilla chips. We browse through the extensive menu of tacos, fajitas and other delectable platters, but can't decide on the best choice of food for the evening because we are easily distracted by the Mexican soap opera on the television in the background.
Mariachi music sets the mood and the swamp cooler makes colorful pinatas dance above our heads. With the perfect margarita in hand, it almost seems that we are relaxing at a resort on the beaches of Spain.
Fortunately, you don't have to head to our southern neighbor to get an authentic taste of Mexico. The same atmosphere and delicious entrees can be provided for you at Gonzalo's Spanish Manor located at 6324 S. College St.
If you are the type to like 'hole-in-the-wall' joints, then this is the place for you. Gonzalo's menu is all-inclusive in that it offers Mexican, Tex-Mex and Spanish styles of food. The worst part about the experience is trying to decide on an entree to consume.
The other reviewers and myself finally whittled our selections down to a plate of rolled tacos, enchiladas, traditional beef tacos and Gonzalo's specialty, which consisted of fried vegetables, rice, and a combination of shrimp and chicken.
However delicious the food may be, you cannot head to Gonzalo's expecting the tastes of Tres Margaritas or Chipolte. The food tastes real, not like the corporately produced high quantities of product mainstream restaurants dish out. Only if you are looking for actual authenticity in your dining experience should you head to Gonzalo's.
If the food in itself isn't intriguing enough for you, the story behind the food may do the trick. Gonzalo himself cooks all of the food and stresses the importance of experience and quality. The menu claims he has had more than 30 years of service in the restaurant industry. He stresses that his food be served piping hot in order to ensure the guests full satisfaction.
The location of the restaurant is pretty far away from the heart of Fort Collins, but the drive is worth the laid-back dining experience. When we dined on Wednesday night, business didn't pick up until the around 8 p.m., so we were able to enjoy our meal without children or a freshman throwing a tantrum in the booth behind us.
You can expect entrees at Gonzalo's to run from about $9 to $15. The fantastic margaritas will run you about $5.00 and desserts about the same price of drinks. At the end of the night, eating out can still be considered pricey to a broke college student, however, take into consideration that the amount of food you get for your buck makes up for the possible deficit in your bank account.
Atmosphere: C- (You don't go there for the atmosphere)