The best way to incorporate healthy foods into your diet is to find fruits and vegetables you love to eat. Not only do avocados provide some essential nutrients for our bodies such as fiber, potassium, vitamins B and E and folic acid, they’re also extremely delicious. Combine the health benefits of the avocado with other veggies and fruits to create one of the most versatile dips around, and you will find yourself on the way to eating healthier. Guacamole can be used on sandwiches, as dips, on burritos, fajitas, taco salads and countless other delectable dishes. Here are the top spots Philadelphians can enjoy a tasty dose of guacamole.
Lunch Hours: Mon to Fri—11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Brunch Hours: Sun—11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Dinner Hours: Mon to Thurs—5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Sat—Noon to 12 a.m., Sun—5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
El Vez, the fun and funky Stephen Starr eatery in Market East, offers no fewer than seven different kinds of guacamole. From the Cesar Chavez ($15) with its tomatoes, basil, onions, Oaxaca cheese and pasilla-balsamic sauce, to the “Bazooka” Limon ($15.50) with goat cheese, pistachio, chile flakes and roasted tomatoes, this place has no shortage of variety. The favorite by far, though, is El Vez Guacamole ($13), billed as “The Original” and made with tomato, onion, jalapeno, cilantro and lime, along with the ubiquitous avocado. It’s served with a huge basket of crispy house-made chips that can be a meal in itself. While you’re there enjoying your guacamole, try the Frozen Blood Orange Margarita ($9 for a glass; $35 for a pitcher).
Hours: 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. daily
At this modern Mexican cantina in Society Hill, most reviewers agree that the guacamole is unbeatable. It’s custom made right at your tableside to your specifications (try it with roasted garlic, black truffles, red onions, even crab). The guacamole is served with warm house made chips ($9). To get more bang for your buck, visit Xochitl during happy hour (5 p.m. to 7 p.m., every day) and enjoy a beer for $3 or one of the award-winning margaritas for a measly $5. The atmosphere is intimate and cozy, and the service is friendly and efficient.
Lunch Hours: Mon to Fri—11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Sat & sun: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Dinner Hours: Mon to Thurs, Sun—5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Fri & Sat—5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Iron Chef Jose Garces’ funky, kitschy small plates place is home to one of Philly’s favorite guacamoles. Fresh and chunky, with just the right amount of salt and lime and sprinkled with cotija cheese, this appetizer is served with crispy house made corn tortilla chips–a must-try ($10). Fans also insist that you save room for the churros for dessert. These pastries are hot, sugary and crispy and served with two dipping sauces, a spicy chocolate and a “cajeta crema,” which is caramel-filled and delish.
Hours: Mon to Thurs—11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri—11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sat—5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Sun—5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
For 25 years, Tequila’s has been providing the Rittenhouse Square area with authentic Mexican cuisine in an inviting, inspired space (check out the murals on the walls; they’re basically a painted representation of Mexico’s history). Owner David Suro grew up with agaves (the plant from which tequila is made) practically in his backyard in Jalisco, Mexico. And this man knows his tequila; the bar has over 100 varieties. Tequila’s has an extended happy hour from Monday to Friday, 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., serving $3 beers, $6 margaritas and discounted bar food. Speaking of food, Tequila’s guacamole is wonderful—fresh, chunky, with a pleasant bite and served with fresh-made chips and salsa. Get ready for another history lesson while perusing the menus, as they are chock-full of interesting bits of information from Mexico’s past and written in beautiful prose.
Honest Tom’s Taco Shop
Hours: 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily
What started as a food truck near Drexel with a near-cult following has now blossomed into a full-fledged bricks and mortar take-out joint in University City. Don’t be scared by tacos for breakfast; at Honest Tom’s, the regulars love the scrambled egg tacos with bacon, potatoes and Tom’s incredible guacamole. At two for $6, you’ll think you’re still dreaming. Plus, now that it’s a store, fans can stop by for lunch and dinner, too and try its fish, chicken or sweet potato tacos. Although the tacos are fantastic, most people agree that the guacamole lovingly slathered on top really makes them sing.
Trish Deitemyer is a freelance writer living in Philly. She covers Food & Drink and has been writing since 1986. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.