After my negative review of Famous Dave's, I'd be remiss by not giving some positive attention to a newcomer 0n the Methuen/Salem order on Route 28: Plaza Azteca.
This restaurant is located in the old Pizzeria Uno building just south of the NH border. It appears to be a chain restaurant, since a Google search for the name reveals a map location in Worcester as the first hit.
My wife and I had lunch there to check the place out. We arrived around 1:30pm on Monday (MLK birthday holiday), and although the parking lot looked crowded, the interior showed plenty of room. The place retains the layout from when it was Unos, including the large bar, but the decor has lots of Mexican and Central American themes. The lunch menu was very affordable. I had a draft beer (they have standard glasses, pitchers, and a 34 oz "large glass" to choose from) and my wife just had water. Although we saw some interesting choices in the appetizer section (Queso Fundido, freshly made Guacamole), we simply ordered lunch--I got a taco/enchilada combination with an extra taco, my wife had the lunch chicken Chimichanga.
The food was excellent. The service was leisurely (especially compared to the unearthly speed of delivery of your order from La Carreta!) but we weren't waiting too long, nor did we feel rushed at any time.
During our meal, I kept hearing a "clackety clack" sound from another part of the room; when I asked one of the waiters about it, he explained that they make their fresh Guacamole at the table--I was hearing the food being made. My wife and I think we'll try it during our next visit. If anything, it could be an interesting side show.
In addition, I saw a lot of items on the menu that just beg to be tried out, especially some with pork and seafood, so I will keep visiting as long as the food continues to be good.
Although I've only visited this place once, I feel it is a fresh break from the "NH Mex" style of food popularized by La Carreta (Derry, Manchester, Nashua). It also offers a different style from Mexico Lindo, which is about a mile down the street, further south of the NH border.
It's nice to know there we are getting more and better options for Mexican in the southern NH area.
35 Manchester Rd, Derry, NH 03053