Tucked away on a more subdued stretch of Lincoln Avenue, Fernando's is often called a "hidden gem," even though it's frequently packed. For quite a while now, it's been serving Mexican favorites and knockout margaritas beneath an easy-to-miss awning that nobody seems to miss. Inside lies a standard Mexican restaurant atmosphere: brightly colored walls (though the room's a little dark), a few pictures here and there and a stuffed donkey. Not to mention the staff moving as quickly as they can from table to table.
Standards also fill the menu, though they're done a notch or two above the average takeout spot. The mole sauce comes highly recommended, as does the queso fundido with chorizo (served with tortillas as an appetizer) and the unexpected rack of ribs in a chipotle sauce. The real reason people show up night after night, though, is the tequila bar. Anyone who's licked salt from a rim here can vouch for the potency of its signature cocktails, and it only takes a few to make the evening truly "memorable." A sizeable patio in the rear runs along a smaller side street, making it a perfect place to sip a cold drink on a hot night, especially if the dining room is too noisy. The wait for a table can be long, and the service is sometimes overwhelmed, but that just gives you more time to drink.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Mac McCormick