It’s unavoidable to compare Zona Fresca and The Whole Enchilada. They are both locally owned businesses that serve quality tex mex fare at affordable prices. They both cater to people who want their food quick and fresh, without having to tip a waiter. Both are located on US1, separated by only 3.2 miles of concrete. Most importantly, both are incredibly delicious.
Here’s my breakdown of the two eateries, conveniently organized by categories:
Edge: Zona Fresca. Although I admired Enchilada’s boldness in adding their own flair to the seafood taco (grilled mahi with chipotle sauce and avocados in a flour tortilla), I still prefer the the authentic corn tortilla with fried, beer battered fish and that white sauce.
Edge: The Whole Enchilada by a long shot. The Bob chicken burrito at TWE surpassed all expectations. The chicken chunks were tasty and plentiful, but the rice inside the burrito really stood out among all the other ingredients. Sad thing is, I didn’t even order the burrito enchilada style. Next time…next time.
Chips & Salsa
Edge: Zona Fresca by a long shot. Again, TWE’s tries their hand at some irregular flavors, but the fact is, their salsas were neither hot or satisfying to the taste buds. In fact, their mango and brown colored salsa were foul tasting.
The actual chips at Zona taste slightly better, but the difference is negligible.
Edge: The Whole Enchilada. It reminded me of a burrito place in a college town like Gainesville or Chapel Hill. The walls were lined with old Mexican crosses and stapled money. The speakers lightly blared songs off Weezer’s Blue Album and Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah’s self titled album. The trash can had a picture of a little person body builder, warning us not to throw our basket away. Even the cashier looked hip with her red Chucks, skinny jeans, and knit cap. Overall, it had an edgy vibe, something that Zona Fresca lacks.
Edge: Zona Fresca. The burritos were similarly priced, but the tacos were over a dollar more expensive at TWE.
Conclusion: If I was held at gunpoint and HAD to choose one, I’ll stick with my longtime favorite Zona Fresca, mainly because of my continued obsession for their fish tacos. Again though, you can’t go wrong with either place. It just depends on what you favor in a fast food Mexican joint.