At the corner of South Street and Headhouse Square, Las Bugambilias Mexican Restaurant opened in 2007. It is owned by the husband and wife team, Carlos Molina and Michelle Zimmerman. Chef Molina studied Culinary Arts in Cancun and Mexico City before working as the executive chef of Tequilas Restaurant at 15th and Locust, between 1999 to 2006. This is how the menu at Las Bugambilias was crafted with traditional Mexican cooking. The regional cuisine at the restaurant is mostly from Mexico City, Puebla, Vera Cruz and the Yucatan region. Some specialty dishes in Mole traditional from Puebla, Cochinita Pibil from Yucatan, La Tampiquena from Tamulipus and Caldo Tlapeno from Mexico City.
The main cocktail at Las Bugambilias is a traditional Margarita made with freshly squeezed lime juice, in addition to varieties on the classic with pineapple juice or spicy! Plus you can quench your thirst with a Tecate or other traditional Mexican favorites such as Agua de Horchata and Agua de Jamaica.
When it comes to enjoying either lunch or dinner, some of our favorite starters include the Ceviche de Camaron Sinaloa. This ceviche is filled with shrimp, marinated and cooked in fresh lime juice, served in a seafood tomato sauce, with diced cucumber, tomato, onion, jalapeno, avocado and a touch of olive oil. If you’re into something cheesy, we always are, we would HIGHLY recommend either the Queso Chihuahua Toluca with chorizo in a fondue of queso Chihuahua, nopales (tender cactus leafs) sauteed onions and Poblana strips or the Queso Fundido al Chipotle with Chihuahua cheese, shrimp and jumbo lump crabmeat topped with a chipotle sauce.
Famous Tacos Pastor are not to be missed. You’ll get three corn tortillas filled with achiote-marinated pork and grilled pineapple. Other popular favorites include Enchiladas Verde, a Mexican favorite. This dish offers three rolled corn tortillas filled with shredded chicken breast covered with salsa verde (like a green tomato sauce) and topped with queso chihuahua gratinado; rice and beans on the side.
Others appreciate the depth of unique flavor in the Mole Tradicional. This dish has tender chicken breast which is simmered in a bath of thick, grainy sauce made from an assortment of Mexican dried chiles, Mexican chocolate, peanuts, tortillas, sesame seeds and almonds served with rice and sweet fried plantain. Mole originated in two states of Mexico, Puebla and Oaxaca. The best-known moles are native to these two states, but other regions in Mexico also make various types of mole sauces.
For guests looking for a unique dish we’d also recommend the Molcajete Pollo. Served in a sizzling lava rock bowl, this dish had grilled chicken breast, scallions and cactus leaves in a salsa verde sauce topped with queso panela. Corn tortilla, rice, beans and guacamole are served on the side. We also enjoyed this take on a Mexican “Surf N’ Turf.” The Medallon Oaxaca features broiled filet mignon served in a salsa de chile pasilla with two jumbo shrimp grilled and gratinado with Queso Oaxaca, tomato and avocado and rice on the side.
Next time we visit we are going to try the Camarones Rellenos, with five jumbo shrimp stuffed with cheese, pumpkin blossoms,zucchini and corn wrapped in bacon and served with a chipotle tomato sauce. We also very much had wanted to try the Cochinita Pibil, a dish of slow baked pork, Yucatan style, marinated in achiote (spice from the Yucatan peninsula) and baked in banana leaves; served with rice, beans, marinated onions and fried plantains.
Dining at Las Bugambilias prides itself on giving guests the experience of dining in Mexico. The complex sauces featured in every dish take hours of preparation and a variety of authentic ingredients. All of the soups, sauces and desserts are made without any added preservatives. The dishes on their menu are traditional time honored family recipes, not ‘ haute’ or ‘border Mexican-American’ cuisine. Even with the décor inside the restaurant shares the era of Mexico that begins with the Mexican Revolution in 1911 and ends in the “Epoca de oro en el cine Mexicano” 1945.
And make sure when you stop by the restaurant you take notice of the skull sculpture outside the front door, her name is “Catrina” and she comes from Guadalajara.