I FREAKIN' LOVE MEXICAN FOOD! When I close my eyes and go to a "food happy place"....I'm at a beachside cantina with a table of cold cervasas and tacos with all the fillings and condiments you could image. Simple. Perfect.
And I'm always looking for good Mexican restaurants. Some friends recently fell in love with a Mexican restaurant in New West and although I couldn't make it out there the few times they've invited me, it's been on my mind. When my parents offered to take me and the sous chef out for a belated birthday dinner, I knew exactly where I wanted to go.
Taqueria Playa Tropical is in the Brow of the Hill neighborhood in New West and a few blocks south of the busy intersection of 6th and 6th. We arrived around 7pm and there was a short line of around 6 people out the door. I took this as a good sign. It was a beautiful evening so waiting in the sun wasn't a bad thing, especially since the wait was only about 15 minutes and we got a chance to chat with some other people in line that were regulars who assured us that the food was definitely worth waiting for.
The outside looks a bit dive-y but, the interior ist bright, clean, with a cool looking tiki-style bar at the back of the restaurant. The place was packed and apparently they are usually quite busy on the weekends when they live music. The service was a bit curious off the top, despite the line up, there seemed to be a bit of a "seat yourself" policy which caused some delay and confusion. We ended up getting seated, and unfortunately we were squeezed right in front of the band. The music was great and they seemed like awesome guys...but because we were in such close proximity to them, we had to yell to chat while they were playing.
I saw this drink on the restaurant's facebook page and knew I had to have it for a belated birthday girl drink. They called it a Tropicarita, but I've also heard it called a bulldog margarita. Whether you call it, this is awesome and will give you a nice Mexi buzz. The beer helps to cut the sweetness of the margarita which is perfect for me.
I ordered the Ceviche; Fish fillet mixed with cilantro, onion, tomato, avocado and lime served with chips ($6.50)
and LOVED IT. It was bursting with fresh flavour dominated by lime and cilantro. The avocado added a nice richness and creaminess to the dish.
Then I tried three of their tacos- Camaron; shrimp, garlic, celery, onion, cilantro and melted cheese ($2.50) Pescado; fish fillet, garlic, celery, onion, cilantro and melted cheese ($2.5), Choriqueso; Mexican chorizo, cilantro, onion, guacamole and melted cheese ($2)These were tasty tacos!!!
They are served on a single corn tortilla, some people prefer two- but I think the single tortilla lets the fillings stand out more. The seafood tacos were fantastic. Both seafood tacos had a really nice clean flavour and the diced celery addition added a nice surprising crunchy texture. There were approx 2 plump and juicy shrimp in each camaron tacos.
Fish tacos are usually my go-to but surprisingly for me, the chorizo taco was the stand out here and I ordered another one.
The chorizo here is sooooo good. The flavour is really deep with a slight spicy, smokiness. I asked the server and she told me that they make it in house.
My mom and dad both ordered the Carne Asada Special House Platter; 8 oz grilled steak with a side of refried beans, traditional rice, pico de gallo, a lime wedge, and two small quesadillas ($11.99) These were big platters and they seemed to enjoy them.
The sous chef ordered a Vegetariano Burrito; Refried beans, guacamole, lettuce, cilantro, onion, tomato with small house salad ($6). Since he's a vegan, he had no problem getting them to make it without the typical melted cheese and sour cream. He gave a thumbs up on this burrito.
Service was a bit sluggish and confused during our meal but it was quite busy and all of the staff were really nice and friendly so it wasn't an issue at all. Overall, the vibe in this place is just a happy one, so it's hard to not leave with a full belly and a smile (especially if you've polished off a bulldog margarita). I'll definitely make the trek again to New West for Mexican again!