Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Las Margaritas - Mexican so good, even the haters love it.

I have a confession to make: I hate Mexican food. It seems like all the fundamental ingredients are on my “can’t stand” list: sour cream, guacamole, refried beans and so on. I say this because if a Mexican restaurant can impress me and make me want to come back, it really must be something! Las Margaritas is just such a place; its warm and quirky atmosphere is very inviting, and their high quality dishes are enough to tempt even my picky palate.

About the restaurant: Las Margaritas is situated on 4th Avenue in Kitsilano, a young and trendy area lined with boutiques, tapas bars, and other hidden gems.  The exterior is quite distinctive, an echo of the adobe walls of traditional Mexican buildings. The interior is a similar attempt at capturing a Mexican ambience, with low ceiling fans, colourful walls and wall hangings and Mexican posters. While many might find it totally unauthentic, it has at least a certain kitschy charm to it. The servers are helpful and very willing to explain the menu to new customers and those who have not tried Mexican food before. Overall, the mood is lively and cheerful, no doubt helped by the large and well stocked bar.

The food: The standout quality of Las Margaritas is its freshness and high quality ingredients. Nothing tastes processed or frozen; the meat is juicy, the veggies crisp, and the tortillas only just prepared. I particularly like the baskets of tortilla chips they offer free with every meal. They’re still warm from the fryer, and the salsa has just the right amount of cilantro for a nice eye-opening kick. The menu is the usual selection of tacos, burritos, enchiladas and fajitas, all of which my friends swear by; according to them, the beef and chicken is particularly moist and savory, and the blended cheese is strong. For myself, I like their chicken flautas (and the appetizer-sized version of them, taquitos), seasoned chicken rolled in a corn tortilla shell then deep fried; the chicken is flaky and tender with a slight spicy edge, and the usual toppings (sour cream etc) aren’t loaded on like on other dishes. I also enjoy Tacos de Carnitas, a seasoned pork taco with fresh tomatoes.

Las Margaritas also features some great desserts, my favorite being churros (deep fried, donut-like sticks with a crispy outside coated in cinnamon sugar). And of course, there are plenty of margaritas and cocktails to sample with your meal.

My favourites:  Taquitos, Chicken Flautas, Tacos de Carnitas, tortilla chips, churros.

Cost:  Quite reasonable for the most part, if more expensive than lower end Mexican options; appetizers are $7-9 each, while a beef burrito is $14. For those that want to sample a wider range of dishes, combination platters are available for $15-19. Margaritas are $7 for a regular glass, and bottled beers go for $6.

Take-out?:  No, but you are welcome to take leftovers with you.

Delivery?:  No.

Licensed?:  Yes. As the name suggests, margaritas are the drink of choice, in a variety of flavors, but tequila and beer are also available.

Location(s): The restaurant is at 4th and Maple. Link to Google Maps.

Website and menus: Here.

Summary: It’s a rare Mexican restaurant indeed that can get my vote of appreciation, an even rarer one that brings me back a second time. If you’re looking for excellent and memorable Mexican food in the heart of Vancouver, Las Margaritas is the place to go.

Las Margaritas Mexican on Urbanspoon


Tia said...

I totally agree!

Post a Comment