Restaurant: Plaza Azteca
Address: 351 Plymouth Road, Plymouth Meeting PA, 19462 (610-940-3906)
Rating: ★★★ (3) out of 5 stars
Style: Mexican Chain Restaurant
Food: Traditional Mexican Cuisine
Atmosphere: Spacious, with Mexican décor & music
Parking: Yes, lot parking
Service: Accommodating, interactive waitstaff, and service with a smile
Price Range: $$
Unique Feature: Vast menu, many vegetarian entrées offered, salsa dancing on Saturday nights
I see this orange-ish building almost every day as I drive on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, propped high and overlooking the traffic near Germantown Pike. What struck me as odd is that I could never seem to pinpoint the location, always under the assumption that it was tucked away within Plymouth Meeting Mall or nearby. It was only after getting exact directions that was I able to stop by the satisfying chain restaurant that is Plaza Azteca.
We arrived on a Saturday afternoon close to 4pm to a crowded parking lot. As soon as we walked in, the hostess was eager to find us a table (and even offered a booth after we had suggested one). After being seated, a waiter served complimentary Tortilla Chips & Salsas before taking our drink orders. The chips appeared to be store-bought but they were still very appetizing. Along with the traditional Roja Salsa was a tangier, more flavorful Blanco Salsa; when I asked for the ingredients of the latter, the waiter could only let me know that it was made from jalapeno and house spices, as if I was trying to steal their secret recipe.
For an appetizer, we decided on the Guacamole, which was prepared by our waiter on a portable cart next to our table. After admitting, “I hope this turns out alright, I haven’t done this in a while,” we didn’t have the highest expectations for our waiter or the dip. After chatting with us and taking his time to mash the avocado and mix the ingredients, the guacamole was promptly served. Generally, we both agreed that while it was fresh, we were left underwhelmed and had to add salt to combat the blandness of the appetizer. After the waiter had left, I switched back to the house salsas and we enjoyed our coronas.
After a 10-minute wait, our meals were served. For an entrée, I ordered the Chori-Pollo which was completely satisfying. Served with Mexican rice and fried beans, the meal consisted of spicy Chorizo smothered on a perfectly grilled chicken breast. With such a reasonable price for very large portions, I was happy to take the rest home as leftovers.
The only unfortunate moment of the dining experience occurred as my girlfriend’s entrée was served. In the mood to enjoy some greens, she had originally decided on the Vegetable Enchiladas, not realizing that on the menu, directly under her choice was a very similarly-named offering, the Vegetarian Enchiladas, which she accidentally ordered. The Vegetable Enchiladas were supposed to include zucchini, squash, corn and spinach, whereas the Vegetarian Enchiladas were rolled tortillas filled with cheese, potatoes, and beans and smothered in nacho cheese with rice. She was confused at first, positive that it wasn’t what she had ordered, but the waiter came back with a menu to help clarify the confusion. Realizing that she did say ‘vegetarian’ instead of ‘vegetable’ when ordering, she accepted her mistake and the waiter offered to bring her the originally intended meal. Though she ended up eating the enchiladas that were brought out to her, we both appreciated the gesture of the waiter to keep the customers satisfied; our only grievance was that the menu could have been less misleading.
Before grabbing the check, we noticed the Dessert Menu and agreed upon the Mexican Fried Ice Cream. Drizzled with caramel, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream, we picked at the decadent treat until we simply couldn’t eat anymore. Overall, we had an enjoyable experience at Plaza Azteca, if not for just a few minor setbacks, mainly the appetizer and the menu confusion. But given its helpful waitstaff and affordable prices, I see us coming back for seconds in the very near future.