Los Atlantes is a small new Mexican restaurant located on Raymond Road, near Walgreen’s and the Meadowridge Library. About a ten-minute drive from JMM during regular traffic, it’s a little far for a lunch break, but perfect for a casual dinner with a couple of friends.
Los Atlantes Restaurant & Bakery is a casual restaurant, somewhere on the continuum between a fast-food place and a fancy restaurant. It’s a little confusing the first time. When you come in, you fetch your own menu from the front and choose a table to sit down at, where a waiter will take your order. Once you’ve finished your quesadillas, or fajitas, or whatever you may have ordered, you can walk up to the cashier to pay, leaving your finished plates on the table. So a waiter will help you, but they won’t do everything for you.
On to the decor (or lack thereof). The restaurant as a whole was very clean and somewhat modern. Featuring a small little refrigerator with drinks, about ten bare-bones booths, and music videos playing on a flat-screen TV, the restaurant felt like the dorm of a college student that has just moved in. The restaurant had glittery paper hearts taped to the walls, and a few hanging from the ceiling for the good measure. With the big awkward empty space in the middle, the restaurant could use any feeling of coziness it can manage. We have to give them credit, though. It is a new restaurant and what they’ve done with the place is fine for how long they’ve been open. We hope they will invest in making the Mexican restaurant feel like a Mexican restaurant sometime soon.
When we arrived at the restaurant, we were a little hesitant to enter. We got there at around 5PM and only three customers were in there. The sign on the door that read “no unaccompanied children allowed for more than 20 minutes” only made us more uneasy. After coming in and grabbing our menus, we chose one of two taller tables near the window, sacrificing the comfort of a booth for the view out the window. Throughout our stay, we got the feeling that the restaurant wasn’t too excited about teenagers coming in to dine, which we didn’t understand because we are super responsible and mature??? It turns out they didn’t consider us children because they let us stay longer than 20 minutes, but they did seem to be in a bit of a rush to get us out. About a minute after sitting down, the waiter came over and asked us if we were ready to order. We politely declined, and he came back in another five minutes or so. Ever the indecisive reporters, we had to ask for yet more time. This time, however, he stood next to us and didn’t walk away, which put a lot of pressure on us to choose. He was very polite, though, and recommended a few dishes, even advising us on the spiciness of certain options.
The team working in the kitchen prepared our order in rocket speed. We had barely gotten into our conversation when five minutes later, the huge plates came out. We were tempted to start eating, but we reminded ourselves that we are ~journalists~ and must photograph the food first. And then we dug in.
Beatričė had the fajita special for $7.99: two pork-filled fajitas, topped with a green sauce, with beans and rice on the side. While the dish looked amazing, the fajitas were a little bland. The pork filling was very flavorful, there just wasn’t enough of it in there. The green sauce on top (the mild option) was a little spicy for her, but would probably be fine for most everyone else. The beans and rice on the side were simple and delicious.
Garrett ordered the chimichangas with beans, rice, cheese, and cheese sauce. It was one large burrito filled with beans, rice, and cheese, smothered in queso sauce, with lettuce and tomatoes on the side. It tasted really good – the tortilla was fried a little and the cheese went really well with the whole thing. The lettuce and tomatoes tasted great with the burrito, although I would’ve preferred whole beans to refried. All in all it was really good and all for the price of $8.99.
Before we left we grabbed one of their beautifully displayed pastries. They weren’t labeled so we couldn’t tell what it was exactly, but it tasted like a cinnamon-y croissant? According to the Wisconsin State Journal, in an article they wrote on Jan. 30, 2017, they don’t make their own bakery items, but it was a fine pastry nevertheless. A tad on the dry side, but for $1 it was excusable. Again, they’re a new restaurant, but we’d like to see them making their own pastries sometime in the future. It is, after all, Los Atlantes Restaurant & Bakery.
Los Atlantes opens everyday at 8AM and closes at 8PM, at 7PM on Sundays. They are located at 5706 Raymond Rd, Madison, WI 53711 and if, for whatever reason, you would like to call them, their phone number is (608) 446-1462. We definitely recommend that you try it out sometime!
– Beatričė Naujalytė and Garrett Kennedy