Have you ever had a margarita tower? You can at Las Palmas Mexican Grill. Opened in March 2021, Las Palmas is located off of North Prospect Avenue near Menard's in the building that used to be Super Niro's Gyros.


Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

There are plenty of parking spots just steps from the restaurant. Inside, there are brightly painted walls, neon lights, and lots of tables inside the large dining room.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The first time, we went with minds set on trying the margarita tower. We ordered lunch, too, but I'm not buring the 88 ounce lede. The margarita tower can be served on the rocks or frozen. You can add a flavor, but it costs extra.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

We ordered la torre ($29.99) which came with an epic container of margaritas and two frosty glasses with salted rims. It tasted like a basic lime slush that was sweet, very cold, and without too much of a boozy taste. At first, the frozen texture was thick and difficult to fill an entire glass, but around 48 ounces left in the tower, the slush had softened enough to have a flow that was much easier to pour. We poured refills from the spout (for what seemed like) endlessly.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I will warn you that this set-up made it dangerously easy to drink a lot of margaritas. Asking a server for another marg takes time, and pouring from a pitcher requires finesse, but the spout on this tower just says go for it. By the end of lunch, we had to take a walk around Menard's because even though we couldn't taste the booze, we felt it.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The free chips were crisp and warm, and the salsa was thin and mild.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I ordered the cheesesteak ($12.99) which was a soft flour tortilla filled with thinly sliced steak, grilled onions, and cheese sauce served with rice, beans, lettuce, and sour cream. The sides of rice and beans were fine but pretty small. Each bite of my entree tasted like a taco version of a Philly cheesesteak, and it was so good. The soft tortilla tasted handmade and deliciously fresh. The melted gooey queso and perfectly grilled onions complemented the chewy, charred steak bites. Simple but solid, this was delish.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

My husband ordered the chicken enchiladas Mexicanas ($9.99), which had two chicken enchiladas covered with red sauce served with rice, beans, lettuce, sour cream, and guacamole. The rolled tortillas were filled with shredded chicken and flavorful peppers and onions. The enchilada sauce was next level with its flavor; it was relatively spicy for an enchilada sauce. The red sauce started with the usual tomato flavor but finished with a great smoky chipotle heat, and the little scoop of guacamole was fantastic.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I went back for a second visit for a solo lunch last week. When I walked in, I was greeted and seated quickly.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The free chips came immediately again, but this time, they tasted off, just in a bitter kind of way.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I tried a glass of the mango margarita ($6.49) on the rocks. Sadly, it had no salted rim. Even more sadly, the thick mango puree was warm-ish, not cold even though there were ice cubes in the glass. As my mango margarita sat and the ice melted, it tasted better, but at first, it was sort of gross, so I would definitely recommend that ordering your margaritas frozen here.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I also ordered the guacamole ($4.49) which was just as delicious as the last time. Las Palmas' guac was smooth without chunks and no tomato add ins, and I liked the texture. The salt and lime flavors were well balanced. 

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I ordered three tacos ($8.99) each with a different meat: steak, al pastor, and carnitas. Each taco had a single corn tortilla with the protein plus a lot of chopped cilantro and diced white onion. There was a generous portion of thin strips of steak, which had a good char. The taco with carnitas had tender pulled pork, and the mild meat absorbed the squeeze of a lime or the hot sauce well. The pastor tasted insanely delicious, and next time I'm getting three pastor tacos. The chopped pork was soaked in an orange sauce with amazing flavors, and the porky bites with rendered fat melted in my mouth. 

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

My server asked if I wanted hot sauce with the tacos, and I said yes. The sauces complemented the carnitas taco best. I liked both hot sauces way more than the mild salsa served with the free chips. The green salsa had a nice spicy lime taste, and the red salsa had a sharp peppery heat that burned so good. 

Should you rush out to try Las Palmas? Probably not — unless you're dying for 88 ounces of margaritas. If you're out on North Prospect already and you're hungry, it is a solid place to go. There are tons of tables. The food is pretty good, and the service is fast.

Las Palmas Mexican Grill
608 W Town Center Blvd
Champaign
Su-Th 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
F+Sa 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.