Last visit: January 2014
Rating: Strong Buy
Other locations: Coppell (original), Flower Mound, Plano
January 2014 update: One year later, and nothing has changed as far as we're concerned. Anamia's is our favorite Mexican restaurant in NE Tarrant for the 3rd straight year, and maybe as high as #2 for all of DFW (with Richardson's Casa Milagro coming in at #1). On our last visit, we had 6 including Mrs. RJG, Official RJG Mother-in-law, 2 nieces (ages 21 and 14), and a nephew (12). I continue to go with Rickey's Tacos, though Pollo Cancun has become a favorite as well, especially when I'm looking for lighter fare. Mrs. RJG craves their shrimp enchiladas. Anamia's can consistently be counted on for great margaritas, chips, salsas, house specialties, soups, rice, and beans. If they have a weakness, it's in their basic Tex-Mex combo plates. I would avoid them, and go straight for the Mexican specialties. We frequent Anamia's at least once a month, if not more.
March 2013 update: Anamia's remains our top Mexican restaurant for NE Tarrant. Even though Anamia's calls themselves "Tex-Mex", it's really their traditional Mexican dishes that separate them from the competition. And since our last update, they've added a 4th location in Plano.
October 2011 update: At one point, the RJG recommended Antonio's as perhaps the best Mexican restaurant in NE Tarrant. It seemed from the moment we did that, Antonio's went slightly downhill followed by Anamia's kicking it into high gear. As it stands today, Anamia's is now our #1 pick for Mexican food in NE Tarrant. There's a lot of competition out there in this space, but Anamia's is up to the challenge. We'll see if they can maintain the RJG trophy! I would also like to mention that the service has been uniformally excellent. That wasn't always the case, but in the last two years we've noticed a distinct uptrend in the quality of the personnel.
Surprised we've gone this far into the blog without a feature of Anamia's. Mrs. RJG and I have been frequenting the Anamia's in Southlake somewhat regularly ever since we moved back to Texas at the beginning of 2003.
Like many of the Mexican restaurants in the northern sections of Tarrant County (El Paseo, Cristina's, Mi Pueblo), Anamia's is a long way from a hole in the wall, and is in fact a very nice place to dine. And if you go during primetime (Friday night dinner especially), be prepared for Mr. RJG's personal nightmare: The long wait and the black ashtray buzzer. However, most nights you can get in with no wait, and lunches are generally safe any day (and we tend to sit in the bar area anyway). The popularity is driven by location, setting and - most importantly - quality of food. Anamia's does not skimp on quality anywhere. Whether it's the enchiladas, tableside guacamole, margaritas, or fajitas - the ingredients are all top notch, the meals well prepared, and the food is - almost without exception - very tasty. As well, the service is extremely conscientious. Chips and salsa are never more than a minute away, and they stop by frequently to ensure your dining experience is as expected.
Mr. RJG personally recommends Rickey's Tacos - charbroiled white meat chicken in a homemade soft corn tortilla, heavily seasoned, that is served with rice and many condiments - perhaps most satisfying is the unique, and fiery, chipotle sauce. It's the rare kind of Mexican dish that is not only delicious but also relatively less fattening than the usual Mexican plate of goo. While Mr. RJG is currently avoiding margaritas for diet reasons (Edit: And now that I'm fully back in shape - I down one of these pleasurable drinks each visit - reason enough to run 4 miles a day!), Anamia's was one of my favorite concoctions - they aren't afraid to actually add some tequila in there!
Mrs. RJG gets a monthly craving for their shrimp enchiladas, which she says are the best she's ever had - any city, any place. And the few times she lets me sneak in a bite, I can see her point. One thing that Anamia's does, and it seems like such a simple concept but so few do it, is they season the meat / fish before rolling them in the tortilla. That is to say, the shrimp could be eaten ala carte and still be delicious. Most places will just add plain boiled shrimp and hope the enchilada ingredients take over from there. Doesn't work.
And to think I'm this far into the review without discussing the chips. Once again, Anamia's does not skimp on quality. Homemade crispy chips with a great corn flavor on its own - and the salsa has a slight punch with a strong chili pepper / garlic taste. It's a one-of-a-kind salsa - I can give no better compliment than that.
Anamia's started in Coppell in 1996 and has since branched out to Flower Mound and Southlake. The perfect local chain. Slow growth, very popular, and always delicious. The Southlake location is very easy to get to - take the Southlake Blvd exit from TX-114. Go west a couple of minutes - and it'll be on your right. It fronts a large strip mall area. Look for the Old Navy if you get lost.