Why You Should Order The House Special At Mexican Restaurants

Mexican restaurants are pretty notorious for menus with lots of options, from tacos and chimichangas to bistec ranchero. They also can come made with flour or corn tortillas or a variety of meat options like ground beef, shredded pork, and chorizo sausage. With all of these tasty options, it can be easy for a diner to get overwhelmed with deciding what to order. 

When it comes to a choice of tortillas, Alex Martinez, executive chef at La Cerveceria de Barrio in Miami, Florida, told Insider to go with the housemade tortillas if available. And if an in-house hot sauce is available, give it a try too.  Also, look to order items at the restaurant that are complicated to make at home, such as chile rellenos, says Insider. Making chile rellenos requires roasting the poblanos and tomatillos, in addition to stuffing them with a mixture of black beans, cheese, and seasonings. Sometimes there are even things you may want to avoid ordering at a Mexican restaurant. If you are watching your calories, Cooking Light says to avoid ordering extra tortilla chips, queso, fried entrées, and extra toppings. 

But for most diners, when they go out to a restaurant, they want to eat a meal so delicious that they can't resist posting photos to social media declaring how amazing it was. Restaurant owners want you to do the same thing, so that's why they often try to draw your attention to a certain area on the menu — the house special. 

The chef's best dish

Everyone likes to put their best foot forward and the same is true for restaurants. Often on restaurant menus, the house specialty, also called a chef's special, will be highlighted. Some experts say that when given the option, that's what should be ordered when given the choice. According to Insider, house or chef specialties often do the best job of highlighting the chef's skills. If the menu doesn't highlight the chef's favorites, then ask the server for help. 

Martinez said the first time he visits a restaurant, he'll ask for the house specialty. If it's good, then he'll come back to try other items in the future. If it's not good, then he won't be back. It's the specialty dish that chefs often say reflects the cooking style they want to show off, such as Marcus Samuelsson, who made short ribs for former President Barack Obama, or Gordon Ramsay's beef Wellington.  

Next time you find yourself dining for the first time at a Mexican restaurant, don't get overwhelmed by a big menu and a growling stomach –- just ask for the house specialty and enjoy.