305.858.1160 521 SW 8th Street Miami, FL 33130
In keeping with my gypsy lifestyle, I am off again! I packed my little green suitcase (that is to say I tossed in my makeup bag and a few clean shirts, since I never bother to fully unpack it anymore) and headed to Miami for the week. When I arrived, I was itching for some good Mexican or South American food—anything spicy and caloric. The North may have great bagels and pizza, but good luck finding authentic empanadas and flautas outside of the city. For three nights I asked my boyfriend to take me for some Mexican comida and finally he indulged my craving, suggesting a new place that we had never been to—Taqueria El Mexicano.
When we pulled up to the little storefront, we both looked at each other thinking, “this place certainly looks authentic!” There were piñatas hanging over the registers and rows of Spanish cooking products and snacks for sale. The place looked more like a tienda than a restaurant, but the tables were full and so we were hopeful.
We took a seat and began munching on our chips and salsa. The salsa was homemade and delicious with chunks of fresh tomato and cilantro, but the chips, I must admit, were more like a cross between a fried wonton and a Stacy’s pita chip…probably could have gone just as well with duck sauce as it did the salsa. They were not your typical corn chips and they packed a lot, I mean A LOT, of oil. I actually felt like I needed to swish around some Dawn dish soap in my mouth to break up the grease afterwards.
Now I was getting nervous for the entrees because it’s common knowledge that you can tell a lot about a restaurant by the bread they serve, and naturally, at a Mexican place this means by the chips. But, just as my panic set in, the Guacamole that we ordered as an appetizer was brought to the table and it was delicious! It had the perfect amount of lemon and salt, the cilantro was very fragrant, and it was incredibly fresh. This tasty guacamole helped me finish the rest of oil-ridden wonton-pita-tortilla chips with ease.
For my entrée I ordered the Flautas De Pollo, which are crispy rolled up tacos filled with chicken that are garnished with guacamole, sour cream, and lettuce. I ordered these prior to tasting the fried chips, so it was a bit of an unexpected oil over-load, but the flautas were surprisingly pretty good. The only thing that took away from the dish (other than the oil of course) was that they used dark meat chicken. Why is it so difficult to use all white meat chicken?!? I mean Chipotle is a fast food chain and they serve all white meat chicken…for less than (drum roll, please) $6!!! I think it is unacceptable that any restaurant serve dark meat chicken, with the exception of Taco Bell maybe…you can’t be picky when you’re paying less than a buck! But then again, McDonald’s manages to serve white meat chicken. Sure, its mystery meat…but it’s white! Anyways, I am finished with my digressing chicken tantrum so let me get back to my review!
My boyfriend ordered the Quesadilla Gringa for his entrée, which should probably just be called the Quesadilla Gorda, considering it is a cheese quesadilla packed with both beef steak and the ever-fattening chorizo (aka Mexican sausage). To reduce the likelihood of his arteries clogging after the first few forkfuls, he substituted chicken for the beef steak, which made the dish a little lighter. Although I did not try his dish, my boyfriend described it as “good but nothing special.”
Overall, I wasn’t terribly disappointed but I was certainly unimpressed. There were reviews online claiming that this place was “the best kept secret” in Miami, but I beg to differ and propose instead that Taco Rico is the Mexican restaurant in Miami. If you are looking for great, cheap, authentic, Mexican food, then go Taco Rico! It doesn’t look like much from the outside, and it is no fine dining experience, but you will have a delicious and filling meal.
Don’t waste your time on Taqueria El Mexicano, its just average.