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By Jeff Kearns


Aqui Grill & Bar
1145 Lincoln Ave., San Jose; 408.995.0381
5679 Snell Ave., San Jose; 408.362.3456
Full bar; Sun-Thu 11am-9pm; Fri-Sat 11am-9:30pm

SOME RESTAURANTS are just restaurants. Others are something more, places where regulars flock, well, regularly, and never need to order off the menu. Aqui falls into the latter category. Aqui is a Mexican restaurant that doesn't really serve Mexican food. Rather, it's more of a Southwestern-style mix of Mexican foods dressed up in California garb.

The sign on the door says "Cal-Mex," and the menu lists things like Thai chicken soft tacos ($3.39), Ahi tuna wasabi burritos ($5.69) and enchiladas with red potatoes, cheese and grilled onions (6.49). Another representative dish is the Cuban pork burrito ($4.99), which consists of sweet plantains, pork carnitas, black beans, rice, tomatillo salsa and sour cream in a whole wheat tortilla. For a little more, most dishes come with chips and slaw or beans or fruit on the side. Almost everything is healthy, colorful and light.

Aqui's first location on Lincoln Avenue has been a staple of Willow Glenites for eight years. The restaurant, bar and enclosed back patio are packed on Fridays and Saturdays, with a clientele that ranges from parents with little leaguers on Saturday afternoon to kidless parents guffawing over a few margaritas on Friday evenings. Speaking of margaritas, Aqui serves some of the best in town. No mix here, just tequila, vodka and limeade. One 16-ounce glass with dinner should be plenty for most customers.


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From the May 9-15, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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