When you walk into some downtown Hillsboro restaurants you immediately sense you’re in for a treat.

The vibrant sushi platters a Suyn and the elegant interior of the Venetian prepare visitors for what comes out of the kitchen. But nothing at Amelia’s Restaurant, on the corner of Fourth and Main, signals the wonders that await those who love authentic Mexican food.

On a recent Friday evening, the small storefront eatery was jammed with sit-down customers and a couple waiting for a take-out order of the famous fish tacos ($11.95).

For those who stay, the meal starts with a plate of steaming, fragrant homemade tortillas, instead of the usual chips, and salsa.

We started with an apertivo of sopes, a trio of corn maza bowls topped with three samplings of meat (chorizo, carne asada and chicken) and fresh Mexican cheese( ($9.95) which, by itself, would serve as a light lunch. by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Is youre not in the mood for soup, try the Enchiladas Verde ($9.95), three corn tortillas filled with tender chicken and smothered in tomatillo and jalepeno sauce.

We asked Amelia, who was our server, which of the moles she preferred and she steered us to the Mole Verde ($11.95), which on a cool, damp evening was a great choice, with just enough kick to awaken the taste buds without setting them on fire. The pork was melt-in-your mouth tender.

Regular patrons rave about the Sopa Azteca ($9.95), and with good reason. The large bowl, which could easily feed two, is made with a roasted tomato broth which covers fresh avocado, tender chicken and the leaves of epazote, an herb with a distinctive citrus flavor. It's topped with crispy tortilla strips and fresh cheese.

Amelia’s doesn’t have a liquor license, so there are no cervezas to be found. But, in addition to the usual American sodas and Mexican Jarritos, they serve giant mugs of aquas frescas, including horchata and tamarindo.

Amelia’s is closed Sundays, but open for breakfast, lunch and dinner the other six days of the week: Mon-Thurs, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Fri., 10 a.m.- 9 p.m. and Sat., 9 a.m.-9 p.m. 503-615-0191.

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