Matt’s Famous El Rancho

Score: 4.43* out of 5 

Our inaugural post here at TexMexBible had to feature the one and only Matt’s El Rancho. Matt’s is an Austin institution. It’s pretty awesome when you drive by the sign on South Lamar (pictured below) that reads, “Best Mexican Food in the World” and “Always Good.” Pretty ballsy statements. Everything about this place makes me happy, and I could go there any day of the week, except on Tuesdays – the only day Matt’s is closed. Driving all the way to Matt’s on a Tuesday is what we call a “Matt’s Moment.”

195880_10100576309138744_3431367_n*Scoring: TexMexBible scores Mexican restaurants in Austin using a proprietary algorithm based on over 50 data points. Below, please find a score summary of the following categories:

Atmosphere (4.25) Matt’s atmosphere and interior is exactly what you imagine when you think of Texmex: big, open floor plan, bright color scheme and welcoming decor. They even have a mariachi band playing there on the weekends; and they’re actually pretty good. The outside patio is a great alternative to the loud, but spacious, indoor dining room.  The biggest downside to the atmosphere is the wait time, especially if you’re with a large group because they don’t take reservations. I guess it’s a good problem to have if you’re the Martinez family* (the owners), but everyone else can expect to wait about 30 minutes for a table during dinner on weekends.

Drinks (4.25) One of the best margaritas in town. You can’t write about TexMex without commenting on the margs. Very powerful. I recommend the swirl, which on Thursdays is $1 off all night.  They also feature a $10 Mexican Martini, which comes in a shaker and is nice to split with a friend or significant other. Speaking of discounts, they don’t have an amazing happy hour ($1 off, I believe), but with one of the best margs in town, who needs happy hour?

Food (4.33) The chips are strong and massive. The salsa is hot and can set your mouth on fire if you’re not ready.  Matt’s is famous for their Bob Armstrong dip, essentially, queso with ground beef, guac, and sour cream. I recommend the small Bob, because it gets cold fast. For the entree, it’s always Chicken Fajitas for One. The tortillas are okay; they aren’t homemade but they aren’t Mission tortillas, either. Not a game changer. But the meat is good, and chicken is my go-to. The onions are awesome and plentiful. Guacamole portions are pretty small. Love the rice and beans, and the consistency of the rice is great. The portions are large; I usually split fajitas for with whoever I’m with, and I can eat a few baskets of chips, bob, and the fajitas without feeling like I’m going to die. Bonus tip: Free sherbet after your meal if you remember to ask (sometimes I forget).

Service (4.67) The waiters are awesome.  I like their strategy…no small talk, straight to business. Every waiter there has a smile on their face and is willing to do whatever it takes to make you happy, even if that means bringing you a huge bowl of salsa, when those tiny bowls can’t do the job. The chips and salsa servers are really nice and will refill your fifth bowl of chips without passing judgment.

Price (5) Very-well priced menu.  The margs are less than $6 and they’re my favorite, so you can’t go wrong. Fajitas are priced at $13.50 and are large enough to split between 2 people.

Overall Score: 4.43 out of 5 

Would I go back?

Absolutely _X_

If someone else is paying ___

Never ___

Website: http://mattselrancho.com/
Address: 2613 S Lamar Blvd  Austin, TX 78704
Phone: 512-462-9333

*Our hearts go out to the Martinez family. We were sorry to hear about the passing of Matt’s wife, Janie Martinez.