It seems as though there are a great deal of people looking for “real Mexican food” in Fort Collins. It’s one of the most frequently asked questions from Feasting Fort Collins readers. “Who has good Mexican food around these parts?”
While the Mexican-American, Tex-Mex restaurants are a dime a dozen here, there are a few notable options to choose from within city limits (like the taqueria on College and Prospect on the south side of Chuck E. Cheese). However, there are even better options when you hit the road. There are many better options in surrounding cities.
There’s not too much that brings me out to the eastern plains that often, other than the occasional trip to Baker Draw shooting range to practice for elk hunting and then the early spring season hikes at Pawnee Buttes before the rattlesnakes come out of hibernation. While I was out there for the trail post on Fresh Air Fort Collins, I made sure to stop by El Dorado in Ault for dinner. This restaurant alone is reason enough to make the drive out to Ault.
El Dorado is a straight shot down highway 14 on your way to Pawnee National Grassland. It’s a small hole-in-the-wall type restaurant, although spacious inside and often filled with ranchers in their crisp Levi’s and Stetsons. It’s a local favorite. The menu is as homestyle Mexican as the atmosphere.
On one visit with the family, we annihilated the basket of fresh, house-made tortilla chips while waiting for our dinner. Don’t believe that you won’t have room for both. It’s almost like you grow a second stomach for dessert, but for chips. I swear, I eat an entire basket of these even when I’m by myself. No shame. I’ll do it again and again.
I had the shredded beef enchiladas – corn tortillas filled with shredded beef, smothered in their special “Ranchero” sauce and topped with melted cheese. It was served with a side of rice and beans.
When you eat here, it’s not gourmet. It’s homemade. And there’s a wildly different flavor that comes from each cuisine style. With homestyle Mexican food, you’re filling up on true comfort foods with marinated flavors that meld together like your mom’s Sunday pot roast. The enchiladas were the Mexican version of that traditional Sunday family dinner flavor. I absolutely loved it.
The next visit was after a day of hiking the buttes. It’s tradition that I have a burger and a beer after every outdoor adventure, but out on the plains, it was a different story. This time I ordered their fish tacos and a margarita. I’m sticking with this new tradition when I’m out there now.
The fish tacos were sauteed fish with slices of avocado, and a pile of pico de gallo. It was served with a side of rice and beans, as well as a lime half for the tacos.
Simple and straight up some of the best fish tacos I’ve had in Northern Colorado. What are you doing ordering fish in Ault?? some people may be thinking. Oh, I took the risk and won the damn jackpot. The fish is flakey and the sauteed flavor is light and savory. No doubt, I will order this again.
The margarita? That’s a different story. It was cloyingly sweet and more like a flavored slushie than a margarita. I’ll be sure to get a beer the next time.
There’s so much more that I want to explore on their menu – mole enchiladas, green chile enchiladas, mojarra frita, flautas, sopapillas, and my absolute favorite – fried ice cream.
I’m drooling just thinking about all of this. I think I’ll plan another road trip to Ault sooner rather than later. I think you all should too.
El Dorado Mexican Grill
215 1st Street, Ault
Kid-Friendly? You bet it is
Parking: Small street-side parking
Healthy Options? There are a few vegetarian options, some salads, and such. Don’t count on Gluten-free.
Budget-Friendly? Average pricing between $10-$15
Recent Health Inspection: C: Fair, Weld County Health Inspection Standards