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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mexican Restaurant Review - Taco and Salsa, Sukhumvit 18

Tacos & Salsa - Mexican Restaurant at Sukhumvit 18, Bangkok




Overall Score  8/10
Taste   4/5
Ambiance  4/5
Service  4.5/5
Value   4/5

Tacos & Salsa - Authentic Mexican Restaurant on BUmres.com (For more pictures and menu)


Typical Thai people may not be so familiar with Mexican food as much.  For me it is a different case, when I was studying in the U.S., Mexican food culture was overwhelming in the Southwest region, especially in Arizona where I lived.  Honestly I love Mexican food as much as I love Mexican girls.  Coming back to Thailand,  one of the things I miss a lot is the Mexican food.  Since the Hispanic food culture isn't so popular here, there are only a few good mexican restaurants in Bangkok.  Prior to finding the Tacos & Salsa in the tripadvisor, I went to the Crystal cafe at CDC for their small selection of Mexican dishes.  There were more than a few good reviews by non Thai customers, which surely convinced me that this Mexican restaurant was the one.  They even had the Pinata hanging on the second.

With its simple and straight forward name, Tacos and Salsa couldn't refer to any other types of food.  Tacos and Salsa are the basic of Mexican cuisine.  To Thai people, they might have the puzzled look on their face hearing the names of Mexican dishes but I am sure that many people coming from the Western countries have had the Salsa at least once in their life time.  Especially in the U.S., with the influences from the immigrants, Mexican Taco shops are everywhere; like finding sushi shops in Bangkok nowadays.

The hidden location of this restaurant is a disadvantage.  There is no way you would run into this place by an accident.  It is at the dead end of the Soi Sukhumvit 18; just right before turning left to go to Soi 20, go straight into the little alley and the restaurant is on the left.  Decorated with the bright vivid color scheme, very fun and lively for such a tiny little shop.  There are about six tables on the first floor and about the same on the second floor with an area with bench seating.  Wall ornaments were mexican hats and wool blankets and national flags, and so on; very Mexican.  





I went to the Tacos and Salsa with a Thai friend who isn't completely new to the Mexican food.  He probably has had Mexican food about 4-5 times.  He knows the basic menus like the tacos, nachos, quesidilla, and fajitas.  Well, these are the common Mexican dishes that you may already know.  However the Tacos & Salsa, with its humble name, I was surprised to find rare items like the Tamales or Chimichanga.  The variety of Mexican dishes in the menu was incredible to me.  Plenty of authentic dishes that I thought that I would never find in Thailand.  I was so happy that I found this place, the Tacos and Salsa.  Average food prices weren't expensive, about 200 Baht per dish depending on what you order.  There is no vat or service charge added to the bill like many restaurants in the business district.  About the service, the owner was taking good care of our table.  Staffs were well trained with good manner.

To drink, we got the Margochela (a bowl of your favorite flavor of margarita topped with cold corona beer - 650 Baht), served in a huge bowl with a bottle of Corona tipping over it.  The owner is the bartender, carefully mix each cocktail drink or magarita for all customers.  In this Margochela; we have tequila, triple sec, blue caracao, and the corona.  Considered the price, for 650 Baht I could easily share with two or three other people.  My friend and I got a nice buzz and we didn't even finish the whole thing.  The taste was great, not so much bitter flavor of the alcohol, so it is a perfect drink for girls.  Be sure to take it easy because they are generous on alcohol here.  





The first dish was the Tortilla soup (Crispy corn tortillas chips in a tomato and chicken based soup, served with avocado cheese and sour soup - 190 Baht).  I would say that the corn chips are the highlight; of course, they are homemade.  The chips were even more delicious with thick tomato soup; so delicious, a little spicy and rich with the cheese.  It was a wonderful starter dish.  

The second dish was the Quesidilla (Flour tortilla stuffed with cheese and grilled until gratin, plain or with any of our filling ingredients, accompanied by fresh season salad - 180 Baht).  This one appeared just like any regular Quesidilla; in fact, not beautifully arranged but after the first bite, there was no need to care for its look.  It was really tasty, lightly crisp on the outside and the stuffing was full of flavors.  





Next up was the Nachos (Mexican chips topped with yellow cheese, beans, olives, jalapeno peppers and sour cream - 125 Baht).  To me, this one was the least exciting.  It was just a simple dish, nachos chips with cheese and other toppings.  Perhaps I was more into the first two dishes.

The Mexican Ceviche (Fresh fish cooked in lime juice mixed with onion, tomato, chili peppers, coriander and avocado, served with flour tortillas chips and sour chili sauce - 200 Baht).  I have always liked Ceviche to begin with, so I was definitely enjoying this dish.  Nicely done with fresh fish and all other fresh ingredients.  Served in ice cream glass, just seeing the concoction was appetizing enough.  My friend and I were all over this one, gone in sixty seconds.  Amazing dish for the summer! 





Chicken Fajitas (Grilled chicken mixed with sliced bell peppers and onions served in a sizzling hot plate and accompanied with guacamole, Mexican fried rice, refried beans and 4 tortillas).  This one lets you have some activity on the table.  Wrapping your own with what you like, add some spicy salsa of your choice.  It was pretty good.  I enjoyed it with the rice and the refried bean.  

Taquitos (Two corn tortillas with beef and pork filling ingredients, topped with chopped onion and coriander and served with fresh season salad and lime - 190 Baht).  Simply done, authentic style; similar to what I remembered having in the past.  It came plain, so you need to add some salsa of your choice.  We had five choices of salsa; drunken salsa, green chili, tomato, Pico de gallo, and chili oil.  I was mostly into the drunken salsa because of its spiciness.  The Pico de gallo was also refreshing.  Be sure to try all of them to see which one you like most. 





Tamales pork (Two corn dough patties filled with pork wrapped in dry corn leaf and steamed, served with Mexican rice and beans, covered with any of our signature salsas and topped with sour cream - 250 Baht).  The rare item.  I never thought I would find this dish in Thailand.  I have had it before.  Tamales is difficult to make, takes time so it is worth the try.  The outside is made with crushed corn.  It was wrapped in corn skin and then steamed.  Usually not many people like this menu but I do.  Tacos and Salsa did a pretty good job.  The best Tamales I have had was my Mexican friend's mom's.  And her Chicken mole was just to die for.  Chicken mole is a chicken in chocolate sauce.  You gotta try it once in your life.  I bet you will love it.  I never thought that chocolate would go well as a savory dish but Chicken mole is an exception.  I wish they have it at the Tacos and Salsa.  They should add it to the menu.  

Lastly the Churros (Deep fried pastry covered with cinnamon sugar and chocolate sauce / condensed milk on the side - 70 Baht).  I have only had it at state fairs, usually a longer ones.  This is a short version.  I liked the texture though its sweetness was too much for me, especially with the chocolate dip.  Good dessert to try! 



The Tacos and Salsa was a specular place to get authentic Mexican food.  Hidden in the alley of Soi Sukhumvit 18.  I was so happy to find this cozy little Mexican restaurant.  To all Mexican food fans, this could be your heaven.  You have to check it out.  I promise you won't be disappointed.  Parking may be an issue, so I suggest taking a taxi or BTS and then motorcycle taxi.  



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