Cinco de Mayo – Nearby, Mexican, Meh

Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican restaurant in east Arlington at Atlantic and Kernan. It’s the third restaurant that has occupied the old Johnny Carino’s building. How is Cinco de Mayo different from all the other Mexican restaurants in town? Meh, it really isn’t any different.

The restaurant is comfortable and spacious. That’s probably not good for their overhead, but it’s nice as a customer. They have a giant screen where they are always projecting the biggest sporting event going on at any given time. There are several TVs throughout the restaurant for sporting variety.
Honestly we stopped in because it was nearby and Mexican food has shorter prep/wait times. It met those expectations (quick to drive to, quick to get food on the table), but that was it. Our actual meals ran the gamut from nothing special to just plain bad.

Cinco de Mayo - Salad

Cinco de Mayo – Salad

We started with chips and salsa, of course. We ordered some queso, which came quickly. It was all pretty good and par for the course, just like you’d have in any other Mexican restaurant.
Next we had a grilled chicken salad. First of all, yikes! Second of all, the chicken was tough and difficult to cut and eat. It was on a bed of iceberg lettuce-blah. It just looked like nobody cared. It was thrown together with subpar ingredients and no attention was given to presentation at all.
Our other entree was two crunchy tacos with extra cheese. Cinco de Mayo delivered on this one, as it was no better or worse than La Napolera tacos. It again looked like no care was given in preparing these tacos, but they were more edible than the salad at least. We did have a side of rice and refried beans which were average as well.

Cinco de Mayo Yelp User Leij Tacos

Cinco de Mayo Tacos

Our service was as average and spotty as our meal. Our waitress got our drinks, but anytime we asked for anything it took a while for the waitress to return with it. That was most frustrating when I requested salsa to use as dressing on my salad. Yes, I could have used the salsa that was already on the table, but it had lots of cheese in it from everyone dipping their chips and queso into it. No thanks, I’d like my own salsa for my salad. Plus I had ordered it with salsa instead if dressing, so it’s not like my request was a surprise. After asking twice for salsa I gave up and used the queso-dabbled used salsa from the chips. At least the food came out quickly.

Cinco de Mayo - Yelp User Tzavitz Steak Quesadilla

Cinco de Mayo – Steak Quesadilla

All in all we didn’t expect a life changing meal, but we got a mediocre meal. That’s always disappointing. There are better Americanized Mexican restaurants in Jax.


  • Short ticket times waiting for food to come out
  • Decent chips, salsa, and queso
  • Inexpensive
  • An ok uncrowded place to watch sports


  • Mediocre food
  • Mediocre service

Cinco de Mayo on Urbanspoon


steak quesadilla photo by yelp user T Zavitz
taco photo by yelp user lei j

One Comment
  1. Had the misfortune to eat at their branch at the Landing today. Just awful. Bad service. Bad ice tea. Bad chips and salsa. Glad you went to the better branch. Stinco de Mayo

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