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Tasty bargain: Lindo Mexico serves traditional northern Mexican dishes at great prices

Everything about Lindo Mexico on Central Avenue is authentic, from the northern Mexican-style food to the mariachi band that serenades diners. Even the menus feature descriptions in Spanish, then English (instead of the other way around).

On a recent crowded Sunday, I got a comfortable booth in less than five minutes and had my meal within 15 minutes. The food was delicious, the service was fantastic, and the prices were unbelievably fair.

Lindo Mexico Grill & Seafood serves everything from T-bone steak to ceviche and caldos. (Jason K. Watkins/For The Journal)

Lindo Mexico serves classic Mexican combinations but specializes in steak and seafood. The menu features every imaginable seafood variety you can find in coastal northern Mexico, from ceviche to shrimp to lobster. Rib-eyes, New York strips and T-bones represent land options. The most expensive menu item is the steak and lobster: a 12-ounce rib-eye steak, a lobster tail, a baked potato and a salad for $34.99.

The restaurant also has staples such as menudo and caldos and steaming, sizzling fajita plates. Guacamole comes with almost everything, too.

On a recent visit, I decided to taste the restaurant’s traditional flavors.

The pork in red chile was amazing, one of the most authentic versions I’ve had. Little chunks of tender pork are simmered for hours in a rich, fantastic red chile and served with beans and rice. The portion of pork isn’t overwhelming – you won’t have leftovers – but at $10.50 a plate, it’s a good deal.

The beans and rice at Lindo Mexico are also good.

Two small flour tortillas came with the plate, used for scooping up the tender pork bits. They were hot and homemade, perfectly cooked and surprisingly thick. I wanted to take a dozen home.

The chips and salsa that came out before the meal were also especially good. Lindo Mexico serves a traditional cold salsa, a delicious if slightly watery mixture of tomatoes and chile and cilantro, but they also serve a delicious nacho cheese dip on the side that I loved.

The ambiance is almost grand; high ceilings are decorated in classical, rustic Mexican art, while silly, large-scale statues greet visitors outside. The whole place probably seats over a hundred people, and the decor is pretty faithfully authentic. The service is also great. Impeccably dressed and friendly staff provides constant attention to tables, even when the restaurant is packed. The whole place runs like a well-oiled machine.

One of the most appealing qualities is the reasonable prices, making it appropriate for more than just special occasions. A couple can eat well for just over $20.

The place is family-friendly, too, with a kids’ menu and giant tables for bigger parties. A huge Sunday crowd full of families and churchgoers got seats right away, and were immediately served, so long waits aren’t an issue. Don’t forget to take cash to tip the mariachi band.

Overall, Lindo Mexico is a big, nearly perfect restaurant, turning out consistently good and authentic Mexican food, even during a big rush, at prices that are hard to beat in Albuquerque.