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6 Must-Try Salsas Around the Park Cities for Every Tex-Mex Enthusiast

Dallasites can’t seem to get enough of the liquid gold that is queso and the cilantro/lime taste of guacamole (shout out to Torchy’s for combining the two) but what about the most basic Tex-Mex staple? The deliciousness that is chips and salsa appears to be widely overlooked (except for maybe during this fight that erupted over the summer), even though it happens to be our official state snack.

Sharing a bowl of crispy corn tortilla chips and flavorful salsa with friends is the hallmark of visiting any Tex-Mex restaurant. So what is the key to perfecting this appetizer?

“Making it fresh,” says Eddie Almaraz, Digg’s Tacos VP of operations.

Not all salsas are created the same, however, and each restaurant’s unique flavors can make or break the experience.

“Everyone has their own secret recipe,” Almaraz says.

Check out this list of popular restaurants in and around the Park Cities for everyone from the salsa novice to the spice lover.

Bandito’s Tex Mex Cantina

One of Bandito’s biggest draws may be the atmosphere – is there ever a quiet moment at this Snider Plaza favorite? While the potential to run into friends may bring you there, the food is what keeps you coming back. The second you sit down, you’re welcomed with a warm basket of perfectly light and crispy chips and a classic blend of chunky (maybe even slightly watery) tomatoes, onions and cilantro. Be warned: the delicious flavor is real and so is the spice factor. You’re sure to become very familiar with your waiter as he keeps returning to refill your water glass.         

Spice Level: Hot

Chuy’s

Chuy’s is all about fun. Plus, they’ve completely solved the issue of having to wait for your waiter to refill your chips and dip (and having him low-key judge you for how many times he does), because you serve yourself! And did we mention the salsa is served out of the trunk of a car? The very tangy, almost pico de gallo-style salsa is served with super thin chips and the option to mix and match with queso, ground beef and beans. It’s the perfect spot for any picky friend group that needs to order a little of everything.

Spice Level: Medium-Hot

Mi Cocina

Mi Cocina is perfect if you want a little more of a sophisticated atmosphere. The salsa at this bustling Dallas favorite is heavy on the tomato flavor, but balances it out with heat from the peppers (and if you really love it you can pick up a jar on the way out). Meanwhile, the warm chips are heavy on the corn flavor, but great if you’re looking for some substance. Just don’t eat too many or you won’t be hungry for your meal!

Spice Level: Medium

Torchy’s Tacos 

Torchy’s is understandably famous for its queso, but the salsa is worth a taste too! Although it’s a bit difficult to tell the difference between the red and green salsa options just judging by color and consistency, the two could not be more different in flavor – acidic tomato for the red and smoky/peppery for the green (definitely for the more adventurous eater). Plus, the chips here are always good – thick, warm, salty and featuring a classic corn flavor. Unfortunately an order of Torchy’s chips and salsa is not complimentary and will cost you at least $3.50 (your choice of red or green), plus another $2.50 if you want both. The upside? The portion is huge, and plenty for anyone who is also ordering a couple of tacos as well.

Spice Level: Mild

Digg’s Tacos

This University Park favorite boasts all-natural ingredients for their freshly made side dish. Digg’s uses six different ingredients to season their chips, and offers both a green and a red salsa (it’s just $2.95 for a shareable portion of both flavors). The red features a sweet tomato flavor, while the green stands out with tangy notes of lemon, lime and cilantro. Both flavors are perfect for the medium to mild salsa fan.

Spice Level: Mild

Taco Diner

Don’t let them fool you at Taco Diner. They might start your table off with a mild red and a mild green (served with warm, buttery chips) but they actually offer four different complimentary flavors. Both mild options have creamy textures and are much more flavorful than they are spicy. The hot options are the exact opposite. In this case the red features smoky notes while the green is reminiscent of avocado, lime and cilantro. The best way to do it is mix the mild and hot options together for the perfect flavor/spice balance.

Spice Level: Very Mild or Very Hot (depending on which you order)

All photos by India Pougher

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India is a former campus correspondent at Southern Methodist University and a former national news blogger at HerCampus.com. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @IndiaPougher!
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