I’m a real sucker for Tex-Mex cuisine, be it for its spiciness or its flexibility in ingredients. There’s always a debate between Chipotle and Qdoba for which chain is better (at least in Oakland), but let’s not forget the dark horse that is Mad Mex.
Although not as the fast-paced as the former two eateries with their assembly-line feature, Mad Mex is a great sit-in restaurant for those with more time who want massive amounts of food with Spanish, Mexican, American and Southeast Asian influence.
My photographer, Abby, and I ventured to Mad Mex at around 2 pm on a Saturday, which is definitely not one of the restaurant’s more popular times (like half-off food from 11 pm-2 am and Happy Hora from 4:30-6:30 pm, during which you can get ½ off all drafts and wings).
Nevertheless, our senses were always engaged and entertained by the funky, abstract décor and the amazing playlist that featured Radiohead and some spunky Caribbean jams during our stay.
Abby ordered the vegan-ified Mad Mex enchilada with marinated tofu substitute for the chicken, Daiyga vegan cheese and tofu-based sour cream on the side. One of Mad Mex’s several notable assets is that it’s super accommodating with vegetarian/vegan options. Another strong vegetarian option is the chickpea Chili Burrito with spicy roasted tomatillo-jalapeño sauce.
I opted for the crowd-fave Kristy’s Big Sister’s Red Velvet Quesadilla with grilled chicken breast, grilled zucchini, spicy spinach, pico de gallo and Monterey Jack cheese. Post-consumption, I could clearly see why this deliciously juicy and flavorful dish is one of the most popular orders.
Just a heads up: the name was a little misleading because I half expected the quesadilla to be red velvet or at least containing some sort of red pigment, but according to the manager, the name just kinda stuck from when the restaurant chain first started about two decades ago.
Although it’s a little pricier than what normal college students would willingly spend on one meal, you do receive a large enough portion that you can box it up and eat it later if needed. For cheaper eats, head on over to Mad Mex any day after 11 pm or from 2-4 pm on Mondays through Thursdays and get ½ off with your student ID.
Address: 370 Atwood Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-4026
Hours: Open daily from 11 am–2 am
Because mex is the best: