My review of Alejandro's in downtown Roanoke
Nicole's parents came to visit over Labor Day weekend and it was the first time they'd been to Roanoke. I had this grand idea of planning the weekend with unique activities in the area and trying to act like the perfect local tour guide.
As a way to kick off the weekend, I thought everyone would enjoy going to Catawba Mountain for a Saturday morning hike up McAfee Knob. The weather was nice, the views are amazing, and I thought it would only take a couple hours and have us ready to enjoy lunch somewhere in downtown Roanoke.
From what I've read and the people I've talked to, Alejandro's seems to be the most popular Mexican restaurant in Roanoke. We had been one time before for lunch and remembered it being good - and it's always crowded - so we decided it would be a good place to take Nicole's parents, who love Mexican food. The restaurant was about half full when we arrived, but I was surprised they were even half full since it was around 4:00. We loaded up on chips and all the different types of salsa from the salsa bar and attempted to re-hydrate after our trek on the Trail while we looked over the menu.
I'll admit that I'm a weakling when it comes to handling levels of spice/heat, but I had a hard time with most of the different types of salsa. I can normally handle medium and mild salsas from most restaurants, but I was struggling with every flavor from Alejandro's except for the creamy salsa (almost dressing) that reminded me of El Rodeo. Even the Pico de Gallo tasted like it was loaded with jalapenos. I'm not sure if it depends on who makes the salsa on a given day but someone was a fan of adding extra heat.
Nicole's parents loved everything about Alejandro's. They were excited about being able to enjoy some cold beer, chips and salsa, along with tacos and nachos. Nicole's dad was a big fan of the chili lime tacos and her mom really liked the nachos. And since they like spicy food, they thought everything had great flavor.
In all, Alejandro's accomplished the goal I was hoping for. It was a local restaurant in downtown Roanoke with reasonable prices and good food. Nicole's parents enjoyed their dishes, the atmosphere, and that we were able to relax after the brutal hike. Personally, I think I'll need to return again and order something else to get a more definitive opinion. For now, I'd consider myself 'undecided.'
I may have been "undecided" about Alejandro's for a time, but that's because I didn't know what to order. Now, it's one of my favorite places to eat in Downtown Roanoke. The fajitas are excellent, the lunch chilaquiles are a ridiculously good deal, and the tortas might be some of the best sandwiches in the Roanoke Valley.
I've also learned how to pick the salsas at the salsa bar, which means going with the thicker, chunkier salsas that are different variations of pico de gallo.
For a downtown market area that's full of restaurant choices, this is one of your best options.
Alejandro's Mexican Grill
127 Campbell Avenue SE, Roanoke, VA 24011