Out and About: Malinche is a hidden gem among Ellisville restaurants

Traditional Mexican food, customer service provide great experience


Morgan Vehige

Malinche is a traditional Mexican restaurant that offers a fantastic meal and authentic exposure to Mexican culture. Featured at the top of the image is the Flautas de Pollo, next the Botaneando and finally the Tacos de Chicharron.

Morgan Vehige

In St. Louis County, it’s a bit difficult to find authentic cuisine from other countries. Sure, there may be places that are staples in the diet of many in the community, but oftentimes they are swept under the rug in favor of places like St. Louis Bread Company and The Cheesecake Factory.

Those places are great in their own right, but there is a truly hidden gem located right in Ellisville, right near Clarkson and Manchester, called Malinche.

La Malinche in Mexican culture is the woman who helped Spanish Conquistador Hernán Cortés as an interpreter and advisor in the take down of the Aztec Empire. While viewed as a negative figure, those who started Malinche believe she “has suffered such a treacherous image in Mexico”, according to their website.

They decided to name the restaurant in her honor, and look forward to celebrating women and the birth of their Mexican culture.

Their roots are evident immediately upon arrival. Outside, they’ve set up two tables surrounded by barriers to shield them from the elements and traditional music from Mexico playing over the loudspeakers.

Inside the restaurant sat an image of tranquility with underlying tones of excitement. It was dark, but it added to the aesthetic rather than subtract from it. With many different seating arrangements, it all added to a homely atmosphere in the restaurant.

The speakers and the TVs consistently showed traditional music from Mexico and other southern parts of North America. While the language wasn’t something that most customers are familiar with, it was still great to listen and feel more immersed in the culture.

Great customer service was one of the top highlights of the experience. The staff was very kind for each and every one of the visitors that had come through the door. They were jovial but helpful, offering explanations for each dish and never letting a drink go empty. Also, they were able to teach what some of the Spanish words on the menu were saying, and continued to educate by talking about the founding of the restaurant.

One of the best parts of the experience overall was the food. The first dish they brought out was not the traditional chips and homemade salsa found in other restaurants. Instead, it was delicious Gorditas. The waiter was very kind in explaining what they were, corn masa, chicharron, cilantro and cebolla with salsa verde. One way it was described was to open our taste buds to new flavors that would be seen in dishes across the menu.

What the waiter recommended and what is the best course of action is that those at the table each get their own dish or two, and then share it amongst themselves. The dishes are small but filling, and sharing allowed for a more diverse taste of the relatively small menu.

After the Gorditas, another appetizer that stole the show was the Botaneando. It was corn chips and chicharrones, also known as pork rinds, with fresh queso, guacamole and frijoles negros. Not only filling, but delicious and crunchy, especially with the many layers in the individual dips.

A table of two was easily able to split three dishes and still have a bit of food left over. The first of the dishes was the Del Trompo. While it wasn’t the best out of them, the corn tortilla, achiote pork, chihuahua cheese, onion, cilantro, lime was a good enough combination. There was a roasted pineapple in the center, which added a tangy sweetness, but distracted from the flavor of the meat.

The next best dish was the Tacos de Chicharron. On another homemade corn tortilla, was ancho pepper-pork loin, picositos and homemade queso fresco. The cheese was able to combine well with the meat and tasted very good. The dish was very filling and satisfying.

Despite those dishes, the best was the Flautas de Pollo. Easily one of the more simpler items on the menu for more picky eaters, it was simply magnificent. Inside of a crispy rolled corn tortilla was tinga chicken, guacamolito, queso fresco, crema acidita and salsa taquera. The crunch along with the wonderful blend of flavors allowed the dish to lead the pack in deliciousness.

Overall, the dining experience was incredible. The restaurant did a great job of following COVID-19 regulations, and a fantastic job of impressing customers with a satisfying meal. This restaurant is for those looking to broaden their horizons and try new foods in a safe environment.

Malinche truly is a hidden gem, and they deserve so much more praise than what they currently get from a couple of regulars. This small business brings a bit of Mexican culture into Ellisville, Missouri, and it would be a shame to let it stay buried.

In order to learn more about the restaurant, view the menu or to place a reservation, visit their website.