Viva Fresco!: El Don Serves Up Traditional Mexican With a Modern Twist

Written by Christine Kirk | photography courtesy of Chris HorndayIMG_8341wTucked away on a stretch of Atlanta Highway in North Alpharetta, El Don Mexican Bar and Grill seems a little out of place. Don’t be fooled, this stylish Mexican restaurant is sure to be a welcome addition to the rapidly evolving Alpharetta area.

A marriage of authentic Mexican cuisine and creative technique, El Don is the brainchild of cousins Abe Colin, Jr. and Edgar Colin. Chef Abe is the culinary genius behind El Don’s traditional Mexican fare with a modern focus on fresh ingredients and cultural authenticity. We experienced this first hand with a taste of El Don’s notable pina colada, served right in the freshly cut pineapple that provided the juice. Freshness underscored our entire experience at El Don: from the guacamole made with roughly chopped, bright green Haas avocados, cilantro leaves and lime juice, to the bevy of different salsas available. The delicious afternoon culminated in our truly impressive main courses. Arriving just as beautifully presented as in the menu’s photo, the Tilapia Tacos were perfectly seasoned so as to let the delicate flavor of the fish stand on its own. Of course, we couldn’t leave without tasting their steak, one of El Don’s specialties. We all simultaneously made the same satisfied noise when it hit our tastebuds. Tender, flavorful strips that melt-in-your-mouth; certainly not the steak you might be accustomed to getting in your average Mexican joint. El Don’s modern twist is reflected in its bright, artsy décor. A west-coast style mural (which we were told is by an artist who also works with “The Walking Dead”) splashes across the backdrop of the enormous dining room. With an open-air feel, and plenty of TVs for sports fans, El Don certainly could be a new favorite on the Northside.