Azteca Mexican Grill – What’s The Verdict?

Azteca Mexican Grill – What’s The Verdict?

Amidst my busy schedule as a graduate student at Newhouse, I took the time to visit Azteca Mexican Grill in Camillus for dinner. My girlfriend and I made the quick 15-minute drive out to Camillus (down 690 to Route 5, West) to check out the atmosphere on one of the most exciting days of the year–Halloween.

Azteca resides inside a small plaza right off the highway in Camillus on Milton Ave.  There’s a sizable parking lot and it’s fairly easy to access the lot from the road–just go right over the railroad tracks and take a right.

The waiters were all donning costumes, from a taco to a skeleton (wearing a tuxedo – and yes, he was terrifying).  The atmosphere inside Azteca was warm and inviting with dim lighting and ample seating to fit both small and large parties.  As it was a Wednesday night, we had no trouble getting seats right away–on weekends, it might be best to call in advance.

First came the exciting part–the margaritas. We tried frozen mango and strawberry margaritas, both reasonably priced and delicious (and strong, if you were wondering).  For those 21+ readers, it’s worth noting that Thursdays at Azteca feature $3.50 margaritas all day long!

Being careful to not fill up on the excellent chips and salsa, we got chicken fajitas and enchiladas supreme (four enchiladas–chicken, beef, bean and cheese).  After only a few minutes, the food came literally sizzling. Her fajitas filled the room with aromatic delight and I could not wait to dig into my enchiladas.

In case you were wondering, each meal was under 13 dollars.

Within two bites of my meal, I knew I was in trouble. However, it was a good kind of trouble.  I had a lot of food on my plate, but I knew that I would want to finish the entire thing in one sitting. Looking around the dining room, I noticed several others on dates and having family dinners with the same pleasing predicament as myself. By this point, my margarita was almost gone–the only negative in an otherwise perfect experience.

Although I didn’t use any of them (frankly, because the meal didn’t need it), there were six or seven different types of hot sauce and salsa on the table. Everything about Azteca seemed well thought out and prepared, and the waiters certainly knew what they were doing.

Although I struggled, I was able to finish the entire plate. It was completely worth it. I happened to notice that the dining room was filling up a bit near the end of our meal, leading me to believe the grill features a significant late-night scene.

Overall, the meal was filling and extremely satisfying. One of the problems I’ve had in the past at Mexican restaurants is an overwhelming amount of sour cream, but they put the perfect amount on my meal. The margaritas were delicious and affordable, the food was priced well and the entire night was within the price range of a graduate student looking for a relaxing dinner.

(Note: the only negative was that the waiter wearing the taco suit didn’t use the phrase “taco bout it.”  Not even once!)

I highly recommend Azteca for students with access to transportation and a modest budget. It’s important not just to visit spots in the city of Syracuse but also local gems in the surrounding areas. It’s one of the things that makes Syracuse so special.


Nicholas Fathergill