Friday, June 1, 2012
Who do you think has the best Mexican food in town?
Friday, June 1, 2012
Summer is here, and everybody's looking for something new to do. What better time to revisit the best local hot spots in Clearwater? Until July 8, we collected nominations for Readers' Choice 2012 in 25 categories, from the best gym in town to the best zoo in the Tampa Bay area. Voting runs through Aug. 17. Which local Mexican restaurant would you recommend? Nominate your favorite in the comments below. And don't forget to nominate your favorite local places in the other 24 categories, too!
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
The new spot near downtown offers a large lunch menu full of traditional Mexican meals.
Yecid Cardenas knows he is in for a challenge by opening a new restaurant on the fringe of Clearwater’s somewhat sleepy downtown district, especially in this still recovering economy. But he hopes that by offering tasty, traditional Mexican meals and all day 2-for-1 drink specials, people will soon flock to his Tequila's Mexican Grill & Cantina at 401 S. Fort Harrison Ave., a spot that was home to Harrison’s Grill for many years. “We serve authentic Mexican food with the focus on lunches, since we know we have a good lunchtime crowd around here,” Cardenas said. “We have 22 different dishes for lunch at special prices, and you can get them seven days a week.” Cardenas has made many sacrifices to open the restaurant. He moved with his …
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Unremarkable yet reliable Mexican fare.
Tucked away in a small plaza off of Drew Street, Taqueria del Valle is the type of place you can drive by a 100 times and never notice it’s there. That’s because this small, unremarkable restaurant at the back of the lot where the Red Fox Lounge is located has no discernable features that make it exceptionable. In fact, if you’re coming from the east end of Drew Street, you will be forgiven for passing right by the place: the marquee on that side only advertises the lounge, a dog groomer and a travel agency. But the real trouble with Taqueria del Valle is, once you’ve eaten there, you still might not remember you’ve been there. Despite the plain façade, spartan interior, and a menu that offers a few standard Mexican dishes, we know from …
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
The name may have changed, but this Clearwater classic is still going strong.
Throughout the ‘90s, the name Los Mariachis was synonymous with Mexican meals in Pinellas County. Known for its heaping plates of affordable, authentic Mexican food, not to mention gigantic “Monster mugs” of beer and margaritas, Los Mariachis was an ideal dining destination for businesspeople on lunch, frugal families, and young people looking for a cheap night out. Since that heyday, the options for Mexican food in Pinellas County, and specifically Clearwater, have changed and multiplied, with taco joints now seemingly occupying every other corner. Heck, even the name of Los Mariachis changed – the Cleveland Street location is now called Los Mayas due to new additions to the menu, although the Ulmerton Road branch still goes by the …
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
This quaint taqueria serves tacos every which way you can think.
Many of the establishments we've visited for this feature serve a standard selection of tacos - chicken, pork, beef, sausage and lamb - prepared one way, normally in a soft tortilla shell. But at La Palma on East Bay Drive, diners can chose from a wide variety of tacos and taco variants served in a myriad of ways. La Palma features 11 different soft shell tacos, from the standards to diverse choices like buche (pig “tummy”), cabeza (cow head) and pescado (fish). I had to try the fish taco, since this is the first place I’ve visited that served one, and I must say it was worth the wait. While the fish wasn’t any exotic species, just your basic tilapia, there were enough flaky and flavorful slabs inside for it to be satisfying, and the slice…
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Tacos from a gas station-turned-produce stand never tasted so good.
Tres Hermanos is not what you would call a conventional taqueria. Located on North Highland Avenue in what used to be a gas station, the family-owned establishment isn’t really even a restaurant; it’s actually a produce stand and meat market that specializes in catering and carries enough groceries to complete a shopping list. But Tres Hermanos also happens to serve some of the best tacos in town. The shells are of the homemade corn tortilla variety, prepared fresh daily on site according to Oscar, one of the three brothers in the ‘tres hermanos’ moniker. Inside those soft shells are large shreds of delicious lamb, pork and chicken, tastefully seasoned and enhanced by onions and sliced cactus; sprinkle some homemade salsa on top and be …
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
The Drew Street restaurant has the look of a large chain but feels like a family-owned eatery.
The Hacienda Mexican Grill is a unique restaurant. It has the size, look and menu of a large chain restaurant. Yet it features an array of homemade dishes and a quaint setting that give it the feel of a family-owned eatery. Perhaps the reason for that is because the Hacienda is family-owned. The Cortes family began with a single restaurant in Pinellas Park five years ago. They branched out to include this Drew Street location, which opened six months ago, and another spot in Tampa. The father and two brothers run the three stores. Despite that kind of business success, there was no guarantee the food would be able to match the stylish Mexican décor. But I’m happy to report that the taste of the food is even better than the looks of the …
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
The Missouri Avenue restaurant has a friendly atmosphere and great tacos.
While we’re learning through this series that little taco shops are plentiful in Clearwater, we’re also realizing that some stand out from the others for different reasons. Some have more variety of tacos than others. Some are larger and more modern inside, while other shops are quaint and old-fashioned. But one thing they all have in common is that they have their own unique take on the time-honored Mexican treat, the taco. Los Amigos, located on Missouri Ave right on the Clearwater-Largo border, mixes many of these ingredients and comes out with a winning combination. The interior is bright, spacious and modern, but done in a traditional Mexican décor. Flat screens hang in the front and rear, and a juke box stands in front of the picture…
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
This low-key Drew Street restaurant serves a mean, authentic Mexican taco.
The interior of the restaurant is cozy, the décor is early cowboy and the plates are no-frills. But boy are the tacos good. Los Vaqueros, located on the corner of Drew Street and Hercules Avenue, is a quaint Mexican restaurant that serves all the traditional dishes such as enchiladas, burritos and quesadillas. They also offer dinner plates featuring steak, chicken and seafood, with prices ranging from $7.99 to $11.99. And unlike many Mexican places, Los Vaqueros also has a substantial breakfast menu. But the purpose of this piece is to talk about their tacos, and we’re happy to report, they pass the test. Five varieties of tacos can be had in either hard or soft shells, all for just a $1.50 each. Staples like pollo (chicken) and bistec (…
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
This Drew Street establishment offers more than just its name.
The name might suggest this Clearwater restaurant specializes in one thing, but like your mom always said, don’t let a name fool you. Sure the House of Enchiladas features 14 different enchilada plates, enough to cover one whole page of its extensive menu. But like any good Mexican restaurant worth its Margarita salt, they also serve lunch and dinner staples like burritos, flautas, chimichangas, and of course, tacos. For the purpose of this feature – it’s not called Taco Tuesday for nothing – we sampled the traditional taco lunch plate. For $6.99 the meal comes with three tacos in your choice of chicken, beef or pork; you also have a choice of corn or flour shells. The dish is served with rice and beans and a side of chips and salsa. The …