Anyone seeing La Loma's location for the first time ma be surprised by the residential-looking abode in an otherwise commercial area just north of Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Operating out of a former Denver home built in 1887, La Loma looks and feels more like grandma's house than a giant Mexican restaurant.
We've been to La Loma a few times before, always either for dinner or just before heading over to a Broncos game.
On this particular visit, we arrived at a not-ideal-for-Mexican-food hour of 11 am on a Sunday, just after the restaurant had opened for the day. The dining area was pretty empty due to the early hour and a simultaneous Broncos away game.
The interior is filled with homey decorations, including plenty of Christmas decor during the December day of our meal. We were seated next to their tortilla maker, which pops out fresh tortillas on a heated conveyor belt to the joy of nearby diners.
Our server quickly brought us complimentary chips and salsa:
|Chips and Salsa|
My husband proclaims this to be his favorite chips and salsa in Denver. The homemade salsa is fresh, spicy, and rich in tomato flavor. I prefer a thicker, chunkier salsa, but the flavor of this salsa was excellent.
For my main dish, I ordered the Chile Rellenos ($9.95):
|Chile Rellenos with Green Chile|
This dish was described on the menu as "Green chile strips with melted aged cheddar and jack cheeses in a crispy shell, served with green or red chile, refried beans and rice."
Relleno is Spanish for "stuffed," but there was clearly nothing stuffed about the chiles used in this dish. Instead, inside the crispy, fried wrapper was a giant log of sizzling, oozing cheese and a small sliver of green chile.
This might make an ideal bar food, but it was too greasy and cheesy of a dish to be a good main meal. To call it "Chile Rellenos" on the menu is a bit misleading, although the menu's description exactly depicted how it was served.
Alongside the chiles were large helpings of rice and refried beans. I have yet in my lifetime to enjoy the sad pile of boring, bland Spanish rice served with so many Mexican-American dishes, so I was similarly unimpressed with the rice at La Loma. The beans, however, were well seasoned and not too mashed up, which I liked.
The chiles were served with a large helping of green chile. La Loma makes a big deal of its green chile, and apparently 5280 Magazine awarded La Loma Denver's "Best Green Chile" title. It's packed with small pieces of pork and has a bit of a thick, floury texture. I found it very tasty, although I wish it had a little more heat.
My husband ordered the Tacos Dorados with ground beef ($9.75):
|Tacos Dorados with Ground Beef|
The tacos were stuffed with ground beef and topped with cheddar and jack cheeses, lettuce, and tomatoes. Like my chile rellenos, they were served with refried beans and rice.
They were simple and quite tasty, although not particularly special. The ground beef was very well seasoned, but the tacos would've needed more depth of flavor to really stand out.
Service was friendly and extraordinarily prompt.
La Loma offers some decent but not amazing Mexican food for a reasonable price, and it makes a great spot for a reliably quick lunch.
Pros: Cheap, fast service, great green chile
Cons: Some dishes to greasy and/or one-dimensional