Earlier this year, we were over in Moline having dinner at Funky Desi, and Indian restaurant that I profiled here on Road Tips. As we were pulling away down the street, Cindy noticed a Mexican restaurant on the corner of 5th Ave. and 11th St. (see map) by the name of Las Regias. We decided to go over to Moline one evening and give the place a try.
After a couple Mexican restaurants in the downtown area of Moline closed about three years ago, one man decided that there was a need for a new Mexican restaurant downtown. That man - with a decidedly non-Mexican name, Joe O'Malley - opened Las Regias in January of 2013. He wanted to have a Mexican restaurant that served Mexican food aficionados and families alike. Actually, I found that very interesting because there are a number of great Mexican restaurants less than a two or three minute drive from Las Regias.
We found parking just down the street on 5th Ave. and got into Las Regias around 7 p.m. one weeknight evening. There were a couple three tables in front of the place on the sidewalk for al fresco dining. But we decided we wanted to eat inside. Immediately coming into Las Regias, there's a small bar area. Compared to other bars, it was pretty spartan.
The dining room was open and airy featuring contrasting earth tone and pastel colors on the walls. A number of two and four seater tables were interspersed throughout the dining area. The tables and chairs were easily movable - a larger party of 14 people came in for a birthday celebration and they moved four tables together in the corner of the room.
Our server brought out a basket of warm tortilla chips and three types of salsa - a mild red sauce that was thick and chunky, a somewhat spicy salsa verde, and a very spicy red salsa that was cool on the tongue, but heated up really fast once the salsa had passed the tongue. It was actually pretty good, but not the kind of "burn-your-face-off" type of salsa. But the green salsa was my favorite. While it wasn't as spicy as the hotter red salsa, it definitely got my attention. The chips were fresh and we made quick work of the basket.
We immediately ordered a couple of margaritas. One of the house specialties at Las Regias is a mango flavored margarita. They also have a traditional margarita, a lime margarita (we like lime margaritas), along with raspberry, strawberry and peach margaritas. Actually, the mango margaritas were pretty good. They had a nice consistency and were thicker than a traditional margarita. But it was also pretty rich. I finished my margarita and went with a Sol beer for my next drink.
The menu at Las Regias features a long list of traditional Mexican favorites that can be part of an entree or ordered ala carte. They feature a dozen different types of fillings for entrees that include ground beef for the gringos all the way to Mexican specialties such as tripe, beef tongue and marinated pork grinds.
I ordered the roasted pork costillas en salsa - basically roasted pork ribs with the meat pulled off the bone and topped with your choice of a chili verde salsa or a red salsa. I went with the green salsa. The pork was tender, moist and tasty. It had a bit of a smoky flavor and the green chile salsa was fresh and had a bit of a spicy bite to the taste. The roasted pork was simply outstanding.
I also wanted to try one of their tacos - I got one of the pierna tacos (shredded marinated pork), Mexican style. First of all, the marinated pork had a good flavor with a bit of a spicy taste. But the freshly chopped cilantro and onions heightened the taste of the taco to the next level. It was a very good taco in its own right.
Cindy went with a couple of different things on the ala carte menu - she got a chicken enchilada that came with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes and Chihuahua cheese. The chicken chunks inside the enchilada were tender and easy to cut with a fork. But what she really liked were the two Mexican style steak tacos that she ordered. (American style tacos topped with lettuce and cheese are also available.) The grilled steak had a nice seasoning that gave it a wonderful flavor.
Our first trip to Las Regias was certainly not our last. Cindy raved about the mango margaritas and the steak tacos they served at the place. I fell in love with the roasted pork with chile verde salsa and the individual salsas they provided on the table. The number of very good Mexican restaurants in the Quad Cities is actually amazing considering the overall size of the community. Las Regias is a welcome addition to the Mexican food landscape and more than holds their own against some of the more established traditional Mexican restaurants in the area.