Tableside treat: 10 tasty spots for fresh-made guacamole...

Posted on September 14, 2016 by Guy Paquette

The ancient Aztecs may have invented guacamole, but waiters bring it to life, mashing up avocados tableside, and adding peppers, tomatoes and scores of other ingredients from pomegranates seeds to lump crab meat. “Guacamole is so much fun. People are putting their own spin on it,” says Terrill Bacon of Wholly Guacamole. The appetizer gets its due on Mexican Independence Day, Sept. 16, which has also been promoted as National Guacamole Day by the Hass Avocado Board. Bacon shares some favorite guac spots with Larry Bleiberg for USA TODAY.

Rosa Mexicano
New York
The original Midtown Manhattan location of this small chain claims to be one of the first restaurants on either side of the border to serve tableside guacamole, a dish it began to offer back in 1984. Now it says nine out of ten guests order the signature Guacamole en Molcajete. “They have a long history of using a special chile paste which gives it a bold flavor,” Bacon says. rosamexicano.com

Cantina 1511
Charlotte, N.C.
A city favorite, this spot adds everything to its guac from bacon and grilled onions to lump crab and goat cheese, or even cranberry sauce and walnut. “There are a lot of variations here that won’t show up across the country,” Bacon says. “This one is really unique.” cantina15eleven.com

Barrio Queen
Scottsdale, Ariz.
Bacon first tasted tableside guac at this Southwest spot, and it’s still a favorite. The restaurant’s sweet and savory dip incorporates fresh cranberries and pomegranate seeds, which adds texture to the spread. “They’re bringing out authentic Mexico City flavors,” he says. Another plus: the chips, which are served hot and crunchy. barrioqueen.com

Tamale Boy
Portland, Ore.
While it started as a food truck, Tamale Boy now takes full advantage of a dining room by preparing tasty unusual guac at its brick-and-mortar outpost in the Woodlawn neighborhood. Highlights include dried chili oil and roasted sunflower seeds, which add a nutty crunch to the smooth spread. “They’re bringing together ingredients that you wouldn’t expect,” Bacon says. tamaleboy.com

Garduño's of Mexico
Albuquerque
Tableside guacamole had its breakout moment when it made an awkward cameo during a tense scene of Breaking Bad, which was filmed at this restaurant’s Winrock Town Center location.  “These guys serve it in massive quantities,” Bacon says. Plus, diners can mix and match ingredients for custom flavors, which complement a wide assortment of margaritas. gardunosrestaurants.com

Iron Cactus
Dallas
With a rooftop patio, the views are almost as good as the guac served at the downtown Dallas location of this small Texas chain. The dish comes tart and strong, enlivened by housemade citrus infusions. “These guys use a twist of orange, which adds a different zest to it then you’ll find with traditional lime or lemon,” Bacon says. ironcactus.com

Coasterra
San Diego
With sweeping views of San Diego Bay, it only makes sense that this spot offers seafood with its guacamole. Add-in options include butter-poached lobster, lump crab meat, shrimp and scallops. “They offer something incredibly different, and a really wonderful eating experience,” Bacon says. cohnrestaurants.com/coasterra

Lola
Denver
The key to Lola’s guacamole? “They pride themselves on perfectly ripe avocados. It’s tough to buy them,” Bacon says. Another secret is chimayo, a New Mexican chile spice. “It’s a very bold and unique flavor.” Taken together, it helps explain why this spot has one of the top-rated happy hours in the Mile High City. loladenver.com

El Cholo Cafe
Pasadena, Calif.
One of Southern California’s oldest restaurants has been dishing out Mexican food since 1923. Its tableside guacamole combines avocado, tomatoes, peppers, onion, hot sauce and juice from an abundance of limes. “They’re keeping it very, very simple. You can smell the individual ingredients as they combine them together because it’s so fresh,” Bacon says. “It has a very Old Mexico feel.” elcholopasadena.com

Boudro's on the River Walk
San Antonio
While many visitors are drawn by its location on the heart of the River Walk, Boudro’s also serves a compelling guacamole. The spread features fire-roasted Serrano peppers and Roma tomatoes, along with red onions and cilantro plus equal parts orange and lime juice. The preparer only partially grinds the mix so each flavor stands out. boudros.com

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