Xela’s Best…

…tortas.  We find the real-ish Mexican sandwiches. By Elena Alvarado

Have you seen the guys biking around on the torta bicycles?  If you’re wise then you did not have any of the mayonnaise-heavy, hot dog-filled sandwiches. Beyond being of questionable health standards (it’s hard to tell what will get you: the old meat, the warm mayo or the tomatoes cut with unclean knives) these tortas are just plain nasty.

So, where should you go if you want a delicious torta?  While the center boasts a number of top-notch sandwiches (I especially enjoy the curry sandwich at Infinito, the Vegetarian at Royal Paris and the Tofu at Balalaika’s) you’ll need to take a journey out to Zone 3 in order to sample the city’s best torta.  We enjoyed these three places—and they’re all close together so that you can go torta-hopping.

Tortas Mexicanas (23 Av 5-66, Z3). Owned by Don Chus, who originally hails from Mexico, this is a fine little hole in the wall that features a full menu of tempting tortas.  Ranging in price from Q15-25, this eatery boasts the widest selection of ingredients of the three restaurants reviewed here.  Highly recommended is the Torta Cubana which is the “supreme pizza” of tortas.  They’ll throw every meat, cheese and veggie onto this bad boy.  It’s totally worth the Q25.

Rikitaqi (24 Ave 6-05, Z3) Do you like sautéed onions?  Lots and lots of sautéed onions?  Then, this is the place for you.  Sandwiches range in price from Q12-15 depending on whether or not you want cheese and other extras.  The tortas here are filling and they use real carne, garlic butter and special picante.  Restaurant owner Don Rigoberto will also talk your ear off with all kinds of stories.

Tortas RM (17 Ave, across the street from McDonald’s) We weren’t really sure what RM stood for, nor why they chose Xela as the place to expand their torta empire (currently available in Escuintla and Mazatenango, apparently), but Tortas RM serves up an acceptable, though grease and mayo-heavy torta.    Prices range between Q12 and 20 depending on the torta. The largest of the three joints, this would be a good place to knock back a few beers and has very friendly service—but we recommend venturing deeper into Zone 3 in order to find the best tortas.

Getting there: Catch any bus that’s headed to Terminal.  Get off at “Marsa” (right after the Ex-Zona Militar) for the first two and the McDonald’s stop for the third one.

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