Restaurants

This Cedars Gem Has Some of The Best Mexican Food in Dallas

Monica's Mex-Tex Cantina Offers Mexican Lasagna, Enchiladas, and Bread Pudding

BY // 08.11.20

From Deep Ellum and Bishop Arts to the Design District, I’ve dined on outdoor patios, grabbed to-go coffee and bites, walked the trails nearby, and discovered new restaurants during the pandemic. This weekend, I made the trek to The Cedars and discovered a real gem: Monica’s Mex-Tex Cantina.

Formerly home to The Cedars Social, the spot became home to Monica’s just two years ago. I didn’t know much about it, but decided to give it a try since it’s a short hop across the street from the Canvas Hotel, where I was enjoying a one-night staycation.

Not a lot has changed inside since I dined at the Southern-inspired Social years ago, except now, restauranteur Monica Greene’s Mex-Tex space is outfitted with funky Mexican-inspired decor, like luchador masks and baby angels hanging from the ceiling.

This isn’t the first Monica’s in Dallas. Greene opened a restaurant in Deep Ellum about 30 years ago: Monica’s Aca y Alla, known for attracting celebrity guests like Mick Jagger. In 2007, Greene moved to Aspen, seemingly leaving the Dallas restaurant scene behind for good. Three years later, however, Greene returned home, purchasing The Cedars Social and transforming the Southern-inspired restaurant into Monica’s Mex-Tex Cantina.

Monica's Mex-Tex Cantina
The salmon is a popular item on the Monica’s Tex-Mex menu. (Courtesy)

Focusing on the Mex of Tex-Mex, Monica’s offers classic dishes like tacos and enchiladas, but it’s the signature Mexican lasagna that really stands out. Made with homemade corn tortillas, black beans, grilled corn, rajas, cheese, and a choice of chicken or beef steak, I’ve never seen or tasted anything like it before. A close second was Lisa’s shrimp enchiladas. I have no idea who Lisa is, but the chipotle crema that slathers the tortillas is something else.

We’d planned to dine on the covered outdoor patio, but after walking inside of the socially spaced interior, we suddenly felt safe enough to eat at a table with some A/C. A handful of couples were scattered about and a few people sat at the bar. Waiters and hosts were masked, as well as owner Greene, who checked in to make sure we were enjoying ourselves and offered hand sanitizer after explaining the menu.

Elizabeth Anthony

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We ended our meal with the bread pudding — a cohesive mix of raisins, strawberries, and rompope crema with some variation of nut. Due to COVID-19, Monica’s menu is currently limited, though you can always submit a request for a certain dish. Margaritas are also available to-go, along with bottled beer and wine.

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