Eat beat: Maria Bonita

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Portion sizes at Maria Bonita are never too small. Every dish is packed, especially in this classic nacho dish. (Photo by Samantha Williams.)
Portion sizes at Maria Bonita are never too small. Every dish is packed, especially in this classic nacho dish. (Photo by Samantha Williams)

Utah Valley is home to a variety of Mexican restaurants, but Maria Bonita in Orem has a small price for a big taste where portion sizes are never a problem.

“Our restaurant is like one big home, one big family,” said owner Carlos Garcia. “I love when we bring out the plates and people are just overjoyed by the big plates just filled with food — they love it, and I love it.”

Maria Bonita is a local, family-owned business that has been operating in Utah Valley since 2005. The new location, 171 W. 800 North, in Orem, has been up and running for just over a year, serving locals fresh Mexican food complete with authentic music and personal hospitality. Everything in the restaurant has a distinct Mexican flare; from the paintings to the 1923 typewriter at the register, the decor creates an exciting atmosphere for customers.

Specialty dishes:

Entrees range from $12 to $21. The Molcajete is a customer favorite. Served on a warm rock plate, this Mexican blender has a big taste including steal, pork, chicken, shrimp and Mexican sausage.

“It is full of meat, meat, meat,” Garcia said. “People love it.”

Hours:

Maria Bonita is open Monday–Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Friday–Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Fun fact:

“There is actually a waitress here whose name is Maria,” said Omar Perez, restaurant co owner. “She is the delight of the restaurant.” Perez said Maria walks around complimenting guests, calling them “Princess” or “Champion,” and sings with the kitchen staff, brightening the restaurant and serving the name well.

The owner says:

“We love having people here; it is an overall fun experience for the right price. Food tastes better when it is tasted with happiness.” — Carlos Garcia, owner.

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