La Milpa; Enzo's Restaurant and Cafe 

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La Milpa ($)

Like Chinese and Italian food, "authentic" Mexican has become so assimilated to the American palate that it is widely available and widely the same. So it is with some relief that La Milpa doesn't call itself "authentic," but rather "real." Located on Hull Street Road just west of the Chippenham overpass, La Milpa is the kind of place you, while on your vacation in Baja, would hope to find when you ask where the locals go. La Milpa, which has been open for nearly a year, is part market and part truck stop; you can get produce and dry goods as well as send money to Mexico.

But La Milpa also is part eat-in and carryout tacoria and home to the freshest tacos in town. Handmade, these soft corn or flour tortillas come three to an order with pork, grilled steak, barbecued or marinated steak ($6.49), and topped with fresh onions and cilantro. La Milpa is more than just a taco stand; its extensive menu includes taco de lengua (tongue) and camaronesy plantains (shrimp, bananas and rice in garlic sauce).

Its prices make La Milpa not only good but a good deal, and a welcome change from the same Mexican-American food found elsewhere.

Patrick Getlein

6925 Hull Street Road
276-3391
Open every day 9 a.m.-9 p.m.


Enzo's Restaurant and Cafe ($$)

In Italianate-looking establishments you dine in near-total darkness, surrounded by faux marble décor and busy waiters who further distract you from the $25 plate of pasta you order. Fugettaboutit.

Enzo's avoids the aforementioned pretensions. It offers creative food at fair prices and throws in excellent service in a pleasant setting to elevate itself above the pale of the Sicily Sideshows.

Cafe-style lunch and casual evening dining create a comfortable atmosphere, while a formal dining room provides the perfect candlelit experience. The menu is extensive enough to accommodate both the classics, such as spaghetti Bolognese ($19), and more adventurous offerings like the roast duck with pear and frangelico cream sauce ($21). Desserts are all made in-house and include cannoli, a hot fudge cake and a banana pastry.

It is easy to understand why Enzo's garners plenty of return business. Chef Julio Ayala's cooking is creative and served in an understated and comfortable atmosphere, and the service is efficient and accommodating. — Randall Stamper

Broad View Shopping Center
36 Broad Street Road
Manakin-Sabot, VA 23103
784-2962

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