Delicious: Patio dining at Fernando’s — Advocate

Drawing on his fine-dining background, Fernando Padilla created a casual Tex-Mex restaurant with a dash of upscale cuisine. “It’s the best of both worlds,” he says. The combination has made Fernando’s a neighborhood standby. This time of year, many patrons opt for a seat on the breezy patio, with abundant shade and a water feature, to enjoy traditional Tex-Mex fare such as enchiladas and fajitas.Padilla’s background is evident in the “Mexico City specials” portion of the menu, which features more cosmopolitan entrées such as beef tenderloin filets and grilled shrimp stuffed with crabmeat. He recommends sharing a bottle of wine, most of which come from South American and Spanish wineries. To create a warm atmosphere, staff members learn guests’ names and remember their preferences. “I wanted to stand out,” Padilla says, “so I make sure that there’s a personal touch.” Learning names is easy when the guests are local celebrities. Dallas Cowboy legends Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach are a couple of the big names who frequent the restaurant. “We have a lot of stately clientele that come here on a regular basis,” Padilla says. “There are a lot of Tex-Mex restaurants in Dallas, so I am flattered that they would choose me.”