At least once in your life you’ve eaten so many chips with salsa that when your food arrived, you asked for the box right away, or maybe after a bite or two. The baskets of chips and bowls of salsa (free!) are some of the most delicious and comforting things about TexMex dining. Our Best of the 405 winner Ted’s Café Escondido has been slinging delicious salsa forever, and it still stands up as one of the metro’s very best free salsas. We decided to ask (and taste) around about who else has great free chips and salsa (assuming you’re also buying a meal).
Tarahumara’s Mexican Cafe was a popular answer – unsurprisingly – among OU alums and Norman locals. Fresh chips and zippy tomato-based salsa are the keys if you’re going old school, and Tarahumara’s is almost impossible to stop eating.
Iguana Mexican Grill has been making that delicious, fresh salsa for as long as they’ve been downtown. The secret? A mixture of canned and fresh tomatoes. You get freshness, flavor and texture that keeps pulling you back to the bowl.
Birrieria Diaz. Been to Bethany lately? This birria joint is probably the best reason to make your way to the city’s west side. In addition to the ridiculously good birria, they serve up a side of chips and salsa with a tomato-based salsa that has just the right amount of onion and cilantro.
Zarate’s Latin Mexican Grill in Edmond is more than traditional TexMex, but the chips and salsa are just what you want when you have the craving. It’s a zesty, tomato-based salsa with just the right amount of heat.
1492 New World Latin Cuisine – two locations – has the salsa that most of our panel of experts (really, eaters) cited most often. Why? The heat. They’re not afraid to add some zip to the sauce, and by zip, we mean a 6 or 6.5 out of 10. Just enough to sort the heat-heads from the tomato sauce crowd.
Barrios. Next time you’re in this Midtown favorite, ask for the habanero salsa. They don’t bring it out unless you ask, and if you like tingly heat, you need this. The chips at Barrios are substantial, so you can scoop as much as you want, and the bowl is almost big enough that you won’t want two.
Abel’s Mexican Restaurant. The real measure of a taqueria is the green sauce, and Mexican cooks pride themselves on heat, balance, acidity, and flavor. Abel’s brings the taqueria tradition to TexMex with their salsa verde. You’ll need to ask for it, but you definitely want to ask for it.
Casa Perico. You want it hot? Ask for their habanero salsa. They aren’t playing around, so this one comes with a caution. If you think mild salsa in a jar is spicy, avoid this one. The rest of you know what to do.
Mama Roja. Remember Texana Red’s? I only remember because of the roasted tomato salsa. There is just something smoky and magical that happens when you fire-roast tomatoes and peppers, and so thank you, Mama Roja for keeping a wonderful, delicious tradition alive.