La Quinta Mexican Cafe y Bar is not the place for a quiet meal. Fit to burst seven days a week, this is definitely one to try if you don't mind a bit of crowd noise with your dinner. Full of colour and movement, La Quinta is painted a gleefully gaudy combination of red, yellow and orange and Mexican paraphernalia festoon the walls. Cactus shaped menu holders sit on each table, and there is a particular method when it comes to ordering; each table has a tiny flag and pole, which can be 'raised' when you're ready to order. This seems like less of a gimmick when you consider how difficult it would be to get staff's attention otherwise.
La Quinta specialises in Mexican and Tex Mex food with chimichangas, enchiladas and quesadillas featuring prominently. Portions are quite large and the food is tasty. Start with the chilli wings ($8.5) – not too spicy but spicy enough – these are elevated by the accompanying special blue cheese dip. For mains, the obvious choice is the Tostada El Grande – your choice of shredded beef, chilli con carne, chicken or vegetables served with lettuce, tomato, pico de gallo, salsa, refried beans, guacamole, sour cream and Mexican rice, topped with cheese in a crunchy flour tortilla bowl ($24.5). Can't really complain when the serving receptacle is also edible.
The food and the atmosphere are optimised by a few drinks, and on any given night there seem to be a few well-lubricated parties. The drinks list includes a range of Australian wines, but a beer feels more fitting. The list of imported beers does not confine itself to Mexico – though all options seem pretty festive.
If you're in need of something a little stronger, and you can't bear to deviate from the theme, sip on a Tequila Sunrise, or, try a shot – Mezcal Disparo (El Senorio Silver Mezcal), followed perhaps by perennial favourite – un Disparo de Tequila (shot of Olmeca Gold Tequila served with salt and lime wedge).