La Fiesta Mexican Grill

Chilequiles

Chili replenish and quesadilla

Exterior

Interior

*** (3 stars)

While the rave reviews got me excited about La Fiesta, we didn’t find anything particularly remarkable about the place. The best thing we had by far was the sangria, which wasn’t too sweet and has lots of fruit chunks.

Cheese nachos were pretty bland, consisting of good chips covered with a liquid white cheese and nothing else, no jalapenos.

The relleno was pretty weird, although the waiter did warn us that it was stuffed with mashed potatoes. We should have followed his suggestion to substitute some kind of meat. The quesadilla was nicely grilled, and filled with cheese and chicken. It was okay, not great, as were the fairly bland rice and beans.

The best entree was the chilaquiles, which seems to be available only at lunch. The green sauce had a lot of flavor, and the shredded chicken and fried egg were good. The chips didn’t really stand up to the sauce, though, and quickly dissolved.

The decor of the restaurant is nice, but overhead fluorescent light aren’t in keeping with the restaurant ambiance.

Service was excellent.

La Fiesta Mexican Grill
3000 Curry Ford Rd
Orlando, FL 32806
(407) 985-4340
https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-fiesta-mexican-grill-orlando

Bartaco

Ceviche

Cheese quesadilla

Mahi, Cauliflower, Baha, Chiclen tacos

Interior

Menu

**** (4 stars)

This surprisingly large space is divided into several indoor areas and a large patio. Tacos are ordered using a form at the table which you then place in a stand to attract your server’s attention.

Each taco is about four bites, and costs either $2.50 or $3.50. The Mahi Mahi taco was healthful, but the Baja taco, which was deep fried with a crunchy crust was better. The most flavorful taco we tried was the cauliflower, because of the spicy, nutty sauce. Least interesting was the chicken.

We also tried the cheese quesadilla and the ceviche. The quesadilla was nicely cooked to a golden brown, but the cheese wasn’t particularly flavorful. Addition of the hot sauces on the table helped. The ceviche contained a nice portion of Mahi Mahi in lime juice, and was good, if more expensive than the other items at $7.

A lunch deal give you a choice of three tacos and a soup or salad, not a big discount, but a nice combination.

There is a short list of wines and a longer list of beers.

Service was extremely attentive.

Bartaco
7600 Dr Phillips Blvd
Ste 28
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 801-8226
https://www.yelp.com/biz/bartaco-orlando-2

Wahoo’s Fish Tacos

Fish and carnival tacos

Interior

Exterior

Interior

Menu

**** (4 stars)

This is a funky taco place with an extensive, if somewhat bewildering, menu. The prices are moderate, but each taco comes with two tortillas, and can be disassembled into two tacos. The fish was good, although the carnitas was juicier and had more flavor.

Wahoo’s Fish Tacos
418 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 393-9125
https://www.yelp.com/biz/wahoos-fish-tacos-santa-monica

The Mex Authentic

Nachos Al pastor

Exterior

Interior

**** (4 stars)

Excellent service is the highlight of this nice sit down Mexican restaurant at the base of State Street.

The tortilla chips are authentic and obviously homemade, and the salsa is fresh and not terribly spicy.

We started with the Nachos Pastor, a loaded version of nachos the included beans, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, seeded raw jalapenos and pork pastor. It was delicious, however the two of us could only make our way halfway through it! So when I say “we started with” I also mean “we finished with”!

I’m looking forward to returnign and trying some of their other offerings.

The Mex Authentic
413 State St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 845-6364
https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-mex-authentic-santa-barbara

Del Taco

Tostada

**** (4 stars)

Del Taco consistently seems a bit more generous than Taco Bell, and the ingredients often seem a bit fresher, or at least more discrete. This location–a rarity in Central Florida–seems fairly friendly and efficient.

My wife and I have always disagreed about whether Taco Bell’s or Del Taco’s tostadas are better. There’s a philosophical argument about whether the cheese belongs underneath the lettuce, where it melts, or on top, where it imparts more flavor but falls off. More research is needed. I’m on it.

Del Taco
6855 Grand National Dr
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 363-0738
https://www.yelp.com/biz/del-taco-orlando-2

Chuy’s

Elvis green chili fried chicken (green chili festival)

Valley combo (green chili festival)

Bar

**** (4 stars)

This location of Chuy’s is a bit easier to get to than the one in the very crowded stretch of International Drive. The decor is the same funky coolness, but with different themes and pictures.

We went during the annual green chili festival, which offered some different menu items, although they didn’t have the promised complementary fresh green chilis.

The best thing to get at Chuy’s is the appetizer combo, which makes a great and economical meal for two people. Another excellent selection is the taco salad, one of the more healthful (as in “more healthful than extremely bad for you”) items. Get it with the creamy jalapeno dressing. You can also ask for that as a chip dipping sauce, which is delicious.

Speaking of chips, perhaps the very best thing about Chuy’s is the ultra-thin chips served when you sit down. They are always crisp, and despite their thinness they are sturdy enough to support a big scoop of salsa.

Margaritas are also excellent.

Our server here seemed like she was still learning, but she was a bit busy.

Overall a very good experience.

Chuy’s
7913 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy
Kissimmee, FL 34747
(407) 787-3545
https://www.yelp.com/biz/chuys-kissimmee

Tijuana Flats

Mexican pizza

Interior

**** (4 stars)

This chain’s food is consistent from location to location. This location is a bit larger than some of the others, and has more outdoor seating. The hot sauce bar here has more selections than the one on Kirkman.

If you order the Mexican pizza, ask for the red sauce on the side, as it is rather odd.

Because of its size, it can be quite noisy, especially at lunchtime on Taco Tuesdays.

Tijuana Flats
7560 W. Sand Lake Rd.
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 352-6113
https://www.yelp.com/biz/tijuana-flats-orlando-9

Seoul Taco

***** (5 stars)

If there’s any cheaper way to have a tasty meal in River North, I haven’t found it.

The Tacos make up in spiciness what they lack in size. The tortillas are cooked to order, so everything is hot and fresh.

The other entrees are larger, but I thought the taco was just right. And I added (for just two bucks) the kimchi fried rice, which is almost a meal in itself.  

For less than $5 I left stuffed.

Seoul Taco
738 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 265-1607
http://www.yelp.com/biz/seoul-taco-chicago-2

Broken English Taco Pub

**** (4 stars)

This is one of the few good Mexican restaurants in the area. The food is a nice mix of authentic and creative. The focus here is on soft tacos and guacamoles and drinks. There’s a nice vibe from all the funky decorations, and an extensive bar for single businessmen at lunch time.

The Achiote Hummus was an interesting low-cal appetizer. The achiote chili flavor dominated, and the jicama was better for dipping than the cucumber.

Tacos Al Pastor De Pollo were authentically served on double corn tortillas. I’ve had pastor pork, but never chicken, and it was good, but not as rich as some. The traditional pieces of pineapple added a nice sweetness.

I would have liked to have tried more tacos, but each order includes two, and you can’t mix and match, which seems like an arbitrary restriction. The guy next to me wanted to buy three tacos, and you can’t do that, either. I think they’re shooting themselves in the foot with that arbitrary rule.

The highlight of my meal was actually the chips and salsa (sold as an appetizer). The chips were obviously home-made, and had puffed up like pomme souffle to give them a delicate yet somehow hearty crunch. The fact that they were slightly greasy could be forgiven, because of that great consistency. The accompanying green sauce had a slight hint of sweetness, and the red sauce had a strong ginger note that made it quite exotic. I couldn’t stop eating these!

The margarita was good if not remarkable. Service was friendly and attentive. The sidewalk dining is a bit too sunny at lunchtime, but might be nice in the evening.

Broken English Taco Pub
75 E Lake St
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 929-3601
http://www.yelp.com/biz/broken-english-taco-pub-chicago