April 13, 2010

Knoxville Restaurant Review, La Palma de Oro

My father was in town this week, and yesterday he had lunch at a new Mexican restaurant in the Powell area of town—La Palma de Oro.  While he was very careful to point out that the food was not spicy, he spoke highly of the food he enjoyed there.  Since my dad grew up in Southeast TX and has worked in TX, New Mexico, and Arizona for years, and has made regular visits to Mexico, for him to compliment a Mexican restaurant is a big deal. 

Hubby, Daughter, and I decided to try it out today, and we were glad that we did.  One of the things that impressed me the most was that they brought a bean/cheese dip to our table in addition to salsa.  This was great for our daughter and made the entire dining experience much, much more enjoyable for us.  My dad was right, the food wasn’t spicy, which seemed to be a selling point for the restaurant.  They highlighted in their menu that “all Mexican food does not have to be spicy.”  Since it has been my experience that many people in this area prefer a milder cuisine, I think that this is a good marketing strategy for them.  Since they offered some spicier options a la carte, it seemed as though you could ask for more spice when they were preparing your food if you so desired.

Hubby and I ordered chimichangas.  Whenever I visit an Italian restaurant for the first time, I order lasagna as a test to see how good it is.  Chimichangas are the same for Mexican restaurants for me.  If it is a bad restaurant, you might have a greasier tortilla, practically no meat/chicken, and very little sauce.  The La Palma de Oro chimichangas were served with rice and beans, topped with queso blanco, served in two smaller chimichangas instead of a large one, and had sour cream and guacamole on the side.  The guacamole seemed to come from a mix, which was the only negative that I could note about the meal.  (I would be interested to learn if the guacamole dip was made fresh or not, but that is for another trip.) The chimichanga was delicious.

As for the chips and salsa—the salsa was quite mild.  I would have liked a bit more heat, but I would guess that I could probably request a hotter version.  The salsa was clearly fresh, and the chips were very good.  They weren’t stale like some other places, they weren’t too heavy and weren’t so light that you couldn’t easily dip them. In my opinion they had the perfect amount of salt. 

The menu was large enough to contain many options, including both Tex Mex options and traditional Mexican fare.  The food was very reasonably priced.  My chimichanga was $7.50 and Hubby’s chimichanga fajita was $8.  We split with our daughter, and we were all completely full when we left.  There were plenty of other options for around $5-$7.

Our daughter practiced her Spanish, and the waiter was very patient and kind with her about this.  He wasn’t annoyed and was very doting with her.  The manager/owner even gave her a free sucker when she left, and she was so happy to have practiced some of her Spanish words.  Cute side note, she also knows some sign language and started telling the waiter thank you in sign language, assuming that since he knew Spanish and English he would also know ASL.  Too cute!  The waiter thought she was blowing kisses at him, and he laughed when he learned what she was saying to him. 

The ambiance was very family friendly.  They had a soccer game playing on the TV.  They serve beer and alcohol/margaritas, but at least at 5ish, the crowd was very family oriented. 

La Palma de Oro is located at 6631 Clinton Hwy, Ste 105, Knoxville, TN  37912.  The phone is 865-938-8222.  They are open M-Th 11am-10pm, Fr and Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 11am-10pm.   I couldn’t find a restaurant website, and there is not one listed on their business card.  If you plan a trip to the restaurant, be sure to bring your Knox Co School Coupon Book with you so that your family can enjoy a little Baskin Robbins for dessert (there is a BOGO coupon in the book).  We were too stuffed to get dessert tonight, though!

I receive no financial benefit or any other gain from having written this restaurant review.  No one at the restaurant knows that I am writing this review.  I like supporting local businesses, and I hope you’ll give them a try. 

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