Located on the corner of Julia Street and O'Keefe Avenue lies Otra Vez, an innovative Mexican restaurant staying far away from the stereotypical Mexican theme. "You don't get smacked in the face with sombreros and loud pastel colors," chef and owner Akhtar Nawab says.

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Photo: Courtesy of Farouki Farouki

Instead, you'll find a clean, plant-filled eatery that is as refreshing as it is tasty. From the lush wall of green plants and a mural spanning the front wall to the unique take on queso fundido and tacos, your experience is sure to be memorable.

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Photo: Courtesy of Farouki Farouki

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Photo: Courtesy of Farouki Farouki

The inspiration came from Akhtar's existing Brooklyn restaurant, Alta Calidad, and was brought to life by New Orleans-based Farouki Farouki (the firm behind Justine, Maypop, and Saffron). Akhtar described the collaboration with Caroline and Sabri Farouki as easy -- the husband and wife team traveled to New York to visit Alta Calidad and bring the airy vibe down south.

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Photo: Courtesy of Farouki Farouki

Upon arrival, patrons will be greeted by a custom mural and a blue-tiled bar, perfect for happy hour and more casual dining. Light colored tables and chairs, complemented by jewel toned pillows, bask in the natural light. As for food, the knowledgeable staff will guide guests through the menu featuring classic dishes with a twist and extensive cocktail options.

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Photo: Courtesy of Farouki Farouki

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Photo: Courtesy of Farouki Farouki

For on the go tacos and margaritas, downtown nine-to-fivers and Saints fans alike will benefit from Alta Calidad Taqueria (ACTQ). Akhtar says ACTQ is also there to cater to chefs, bartenders, and industry people who need late night food. Separated from the rest of the room by blue and white rope, the petite taqueria sports a bright pink wall. "Since it's a super casual environment, we wanted to make sure we gave it its own identity: casual and fun," he explains.

Through design and delicious fare, Otra Vez makes the case to branch out the next time you're craving Mexican food.

Otra Vez is located at 1001 Julia Street at the bottom of The Standard.