Alma Cocina

This midscale Mexican restaurant launched in Downtown’s One Ninety One building in December 2011, and inquisitive crowds quickly appeared for sublime taquitos (mini tacos piled with carnitas or shrimp or fried avocado) at lunch and more substantial plates like grilled pork tenderloin at dinner. Margaritas tempt at either meal; this would be the ideal spot to get sloshed in the middle of the day, “Mad Men”–style.

Vajra Stratigos, Fifth Group’s beverage director, delivers beauties like the Amatitán—smooth Herradura double-barrel reposado with orange curaçao and a blend of citrus juices—and a brilliant cocktail called Mr. Winston Salem featuring tobacco-infused tequila, Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal, vanilla brandy, and pineapple juice.

Some early aspects of the menu need calibration (cubed butternut squash in guacamole?), but the warm room and an eager, welcoming staff will help this intrepid venture find a lasting audience.