Thursday, October 16, 2014

On the Border - South Portland, Maine


After my bad experience at El Rayo (that's another story), I thought I’d give another Mexican restaurant a try. On the Border - Mexican Grill and Cantina was a favorite of mine in the past (both in Atlanta (Buckhead) and in Kennesaw, GA), so I figured it would be a great place here (South Portland, Maine) as well. Sorry to say, it was not.

My wife and I started off with a beer (Corona) and a hard cider (Angry Orchard) and a couple "waters with lemon."  The beer and cider arrived in their respective bottles, no glasses and no glasses were offered. We had to ask a second time for the waters. We also ordered a Queso & Guacamole Duo. The queso was particularly runny, but okay. However, the guacamole was a cold mess. The problem was that it wasn’t mixed thoroughly. One part of the guac was very salty; another part of the guac lump was really limey. We were not pleased.

We were there for a late lunch/early dinner about 3:30 in the afternoon. The restaurant was not particularly busy and service was slow and scattered. From the time we ordered until we received our food was over a half an hour, close to forty minutes, not what I’d expect at lunch.

Grande Chicken Nachos
Red Salsa added by patron.
On the Border - South Portland, ME 
I ordered the Grande Chicken Nachos and my wife ordered the Border’s Best Lunch Fajitas (Steak). My Nachos weren’t anything to write home about. Lots of beans, not much chicken, little dollops of sour cream, guacamole, and a few, out of the bottle, jalapenos. (I’m sorry I added salsa to my order before I took the picture, but the salsa really helped.)

My wife’s lunch steak fajitas were very good. The meat was top quality and very tender. The medium rare cook she asked for, was received medium rare, which she appreciated. The rice was very dry. Probably left over from the noontime lunch crowd and not so good. The beans were good though, but refried beans typically get better and better with age. Not so much with rice.

 Border’s Best Lunch Fajitas (Steak)
On the Border - South Portland, ME 
As I mentioned before, service was slow and our server was in the back, out of site, most of the time. We would have probably ordered a second drink but she didn’t appear at the time we were considering it and we weren’t going to order a second drink when we were receiving our check.

The rest rooms were fine, clean and appropriately stocked.


  • Ambiance: 4 (What you would expect of a chain of over 160 restaurants nation-wide.)
  • Food: 3 (Queso, okay; guacamole, poor; nachos, average; steak fajitas, very good; rice, bad.) 
  • Service: 3 (Mediocre – long wait for food and inattentive service staff.)
  • Price: 4 (Lunch a little over $15 each with appetizer, before drinks.)
  •  Garnish for Border’s Best
    Lunch Fajitas (Steak)
    On the Border - South Portland, ME
  • Value: 3 (There are many alternatives in the area.) 
The food was quite good but the sides were fairly bad. All in all, I don’t think we’ll be back.

On The Border on Urbanspoon

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