The heart of Downtown Columbus seems to suffer from a shortage of options for those who enjoy Mission style burritos. There are West Coast burrito outlets like Cinco, but the quality is less than spectacular. There are also places like Chipotle in the Brewery District or the Arena District, but these establishments are not convenient for Downtown worker bees.
Mexica should easily be able to overcome both of these issues.
Located in the old Ah Chihuahua spot, Mexica features football-sized burritos as well as other favorites like tacos, fajitas, quesadillas, chimichangas and nachos. The food is made fresh in house daily.
The interior of Mexica is far more tastefully appointed than that of its predecessor. The store looks clean, and the wood-accented interior adds a nice ambiance to the restaurant.
The big caveat for vegetarians is that while the pinto beans are vegetarian safe, the Mexican rice which is included as an ingredient or a side in a few dishes is made with chicken stock. The staff was able to answer my vegetarian questions, and they quickly alerted me to the animal products on the menu.
Although the Mexican rice is part of a number of dishes, Mexica is happy to substitute ingredients into orders or to create items based upon dietary restrictions.
An added bonus at Mexica is that those who eat on site get free chips and salsa with their order. The salsa bar includes hot and mild salsa, a green chile salsa, pico de gallo, corn salsa and a creamy cilantro sauce akin to the highly addictive El Arepazo condiment.
Despite how delicious the other vegetarian options looked, I had to order the burrito. While the traditional burrito is made with Mexican rice, the regular burrito is made with lime-flavored white rice. It is stuffed with cilantro, pinto beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream and grilled veggies including peppers, squash and onions. The notes of cilantro and lime complement the smoky vegetables nicely, and the fresh flavor is outstanding.
Mexica features a few authentic beverage choices, including Jarritos and horchata, a delicious drink made with rice, cinnamon, vanilla and sugar.
Calorie counters have the option of ordering their burrito in a bowl to eliminate the carbohydrates in the tortilla. Other safe options for vegetarians include guacamole, veggie tortas, and queso dip.
Mexica has $1 off specials Monday through Friday. In order, burritos, nachos, fajitas, taco salads and bowls are $1 on a given day of the week (check out the photos for details).
Although its a crowded marketplace for Downtown restaurants, Mexica should stand out. The combination of fresh flavors and fair prices should be buzzing along when the wheels really get rolling.