Saturday, November 18, 2006

Restaurant Review - Salsa Taqueria & Tequila Bar, Florida Mall next to Macy's, Orlando, FL

Last Saturday, the boys and I were at the Florida Mall shopping when I decided they needed to let off some energy at the playground. After nearly an hour of chasing each other around, my Big Boy (BB) declared he was hungry for lunch, and my Little Boy (LB) seconded the notion. BB looked over and pointed at Salsa Taqueria and asked if we could eat there since we hadn't been there in a while.

Salsa Taqueria is conveniently located right next to the playground at Florida Mall (and between Macy's and Harry & David's) and is brought to you by e-brands, the same folks who manage Timpano's and the Samba Room on "Restaurant Row" (Sand Lake Road). Salsa presents a somewhat "nouveau" traditional Mexican experience. So, don't expect the crunchy yellow tacos that you get at Tex-Mex restaurants. Here, the tacos are made with white corn and they are soft, thick, and well, small. Think of the size of silver dollar pancakes and that's about the size of them. They are also filled completely with meat, no need for fillers such as lettuce and cheese. Also, you'd better like cilantro. It's the seasoning of choice here and if you are wondering why the rice is green, I'll give you one guess (p.s. it's called cilantro rice on the menu).
Salsa Taqueria does a nice job with the space they have at the Florida Mall. It is designed with big open windows and a patio inside the mall which makes for some nice people-watching. We were seated promptly at a table looking at the Harry & David's next door, with enough room to store our stroller and our packages without being in the way. Kids get their own paper menu with crayons and all kids entrees are $3.95 and include french fries and a soft drink or milk. Warning: I asked for a lemonade for LB and wasn't aware that they charge extra for that since it is a special "homemade" lemonade. It cost the same as my iced tea - $1.99. The server didn't let me know so I'm letting you know - stick to sodas, iced tea (that's included with kids' meals), or milk. Juices would have been extra as well I found out. There are lots of good choices for the kids: chicken tenders, mini dogs, cheese quesadillas, Mexican pizza, and then chicken or beef taco. Both boys picked the Mexican pizza which I was told was more like a open-faced quesadilla. For adults, there are lots of choices from appetizers, salads, sandwiches, enchiladas, tacos, burritos, fajitas, as well as other entrees. If you are going for lunch, though, I've found the best deal to be the Salsa lunch box. There are three to choose from, ranging from $10.99 to $12.99, and include a sampling of entrees, salad, black beans and cilantro rice, and a small tres leches (a cake soaked in three types of milk - yummy!) for dessert. I went for the South of the Border lunch box which came with two chicken tacos (remember, they are small), a chicken flauta and the rice, beans, salad, and tres leches. After taking our order, our server brought over fresh chips and salsa. The boys were happy to munch on that and color until our food arrived.

The boys' pizza was indeed an open-faced quesadilla with no red sauce so don't expect it to be like a pizza. Also, I think the cheese had some cilantro in it - what a surprise! However, both said it was good and BB finished all of his. The french fries are great - really thin and crispy and not too salty. LB apparently was more interested in my black beans than anything else so I scooped up a big portion and put them on his pizza in the hopes that he would eat then. My lunch box looked great! The salad comes as part of the meal so don't look for it in advance. The salad had a nice mild vinaigrette and had mandarin oranges and pumpkin seeds in it - very tasty. The chicken tacos were wonderful as well - very flavorful bite-site pieces of chicken tucked in the soft round tortilla. The only problem is that the juice from the chicken tends to make for a messy taco experience so I opted for the knife and fork. And, I actually like cilantro so the rice was nice with the black beans. As we were finishing up, the server came by with my slice of dessert. It was topped with raspberry and mango sauce and looked great. The boys hovered over it so I had to share. Everyone loved it. It was sweet (one of the milks is sweetened condensed milk) but the fruit sauces helped to even it out. All in all a very nice, relaxing lunch at the mall without having to go near the crowded food court.

Click here to post your comments:

Copyright © by Restaurant Mom. All rights reserved.