Thursday, September 20, 2012

El Mundo: Worlds Away from Your Average Mexican Joint

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to go out with my best friend for some serious dining. Said friend is who I would consider my intellectual match, so going out with her provides the boost I need to get back into more brainy activities like reading books, discussing literature, philosophizing, etc. These are things I miss from wasting away the afternoon in the Quad on campus, exercising the aforementioned with fellow classmates. In the wake of entering the career world (aka the grown-up world), I forgot that such activities are what really make life interesting--besides experimenting in gastronomy of course. I must divulge the challenge that came from this dinner conversation: To read Ulysses and to take part in the next Bloomsday celebration. Challenge Accepted. Hah, we'll see if I survive.

Okay, now that we've passed the gratuitous musing stage, we can get to what we are all here for: THE FOOD!
Today's provider of tasty morsels: El Mundo
Cuisine type: Mexican, of course.
Location: Frankfort Avenue, Louisville's Clifton Neighborhood

The first impression that I had of El Mundo even before my first visit was that it had to be an incredible place to eat. Just passing it on a walk or drive down Frankfort could tell you that. It is always overflowing with people, the smell wafting through the air really will make your mouth water, and just a peep inside at the colors and decor tell you that the restaurant isn't just the real deal, but they absolutely love what they've built together. And so do I!

The first floor of El Mundo is always busy with people placing take out orders, and the small dining area, consisting of a few tables, is always full. We stepped right outside again, turned left and followed a staircase to the second floor, where we could take a seat in their full dining room. In addition, they have a patio area in the back for nice weather seating. The hosts and waitstaff are always friendly and approachable. We had to wait for a few minutes, which gave us the chance to grab one of their legendary margaritas at the corner bar. Let me draw your attention to the detailing here too: the colorful decor, the tin tiles, the glass and shell art, and my favorite, a framed poster of Frida Kahlo at our dinner table. It's a place that makes you feel good, and I would say that this is because it fulfills the needs of all 5 senses. You'll see why in a second.


At the table, we had our margaritas in hand: my friend's a frozen mango, and mine a strikingly fuscia prickly pear on the rocks. Then we ordered an appetizer of chips and guacamole. Their smooth guacamole is on point--and you all already know of my love of the fine balance of avocado, cilantro, and lime. El Mundo's guac also includes tomato, which gives it more substance as an appetizer, instead of just a condiment. Plus, the hearty tortilla chips have an incredibly gratifying crunch, that hold up well against the thick guacamole.

For the main course, my friend chose the delectable carnitas, and I the tamales. The carnitas had a wonderful char on the vegetables from the pan sauté, much like the taste that many associate with fajitas, and the pork was as tender as they come. My table mate was more than satisfied with her choice. As for the tamales, my goodness, the mole sauce is the best I have had in this city! Mole sauce is very complex, and is often subjective in taste, but to me El Mundo has hit the nail on the head. The warm spices from the ground chilis, cinnamon, and nuts creates an unmatched accompaniment to the soft, meat-filled tamales, presented in their thoughtfully wrapped corn husks. Along with a garnish of corn, mexican rice, and refried beans, this plate is what I would deem one of the legendary dishes of our city. It is quite a bit of food as well, so I was satisfied without moving on to dessert.

At the end of the night, we had to take a little stroll up and down Frankfort to reflect on the awesomeness we just consumed, and to enjoy the beautiful weather of our pre-fall season, as well as a stop at Bourbon's Bistro. I'd say it was another magnificent evening at El Mundo, and I look forward to my next delicious experience soon.

¡Que aproveches!

El Mundo
2345 Frankfort Ave.
Louisville, KY 40206
Phone: 502.899.9930
Also find them on Facebook here


  1. Well done as always . . one quibble; El Mundo is in my neighborhood, Clifton.

    1. Well spotted! They're just so close :) Edited: Crescent Hill for Clifton.