We were heading to Bradenton to see the DaVinci exhibit and had planned on eating at El Durango’s, but it was closed. Alvarez Mexican Restaurant was across the street, so we ended up there instead. It took a while before the waiter came by with menus and took our drink order. In fact, while we were waiting, we watched another patron walk out due to poor service. Loren liked the chips and salsa.
The salsa didn’t look like much, but he said it was fresh and tasty. He ordered a #7 which is a taco, burrito and enchilada.
He said the enchilada sauce was more sweet than spicy. Overall, it was just plain, inexpensive Mexican food. I ordered the beef and bean chimichanga.
The cheddar cheese sauce tasted like Cheez-whiz and seemed like an odd choice. The chimi didn’t have the same crunch as I’ve had at other places. The flavors were very plain. There was just nothing memorable about any of the food. Total bill with a drink was $19.
Alvarez Mexican Restaurant
1431 Eighth Avenue West
Headed to Tampa tonight to the Straz Theater to see La Cage aux Folles and stopped at Guadalaja Mexican Restaurant for dinner before the show. Loren usually goes through two baskets of chips and salsa here.
For his dinner, he went for the beef fajitas.
He said the beef was tender and tasty. He had some leftovers, but since we weren’t heading right home, we didn’t take them. I went for a beef chimichanga.
It wasn’t very crispy and I didn’t realize it had pico de gallo inside. I’m just not a fan of raw onions & cilantro, so the whole flavor profile was a bit off for me. It’s strange because I ordered this same dish the last time & really liked it, so I’m not sure if they just changed the ingredients or they weren’t as strong the last time. Total bill with a drink was $28.
Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant
4502 W Hillsborough Ave
We decided to try Salsa’s Mexican Restaurant for lunch again today. It’s been a few months, so we were hoping things have gotten better.
Loren said the salsa was better than last time.
He said it still tasted like canned tomato paste as the base, but there were a lot more fresh ingredients in it as well. It’s amazing what some garlic and cilantro can do for a salsa.
He ordered the Speedy Gonzalez lunch which is an enchilada and taco.
Although the taco shell was a bit stale, the rest of it was ok. He said it was better than the last time we ate here. I got a beef chimichanga.
I was actually surprised that it was beef chunks rather than ground beef. The beef was a little chewy, the shell wasn’t crunchy enough and the tomatoes were overripe. The flavors were ok though.
The biggest issue this place has had from the beginning is that the service is lacking. They never come back to your table to check on you. They’ve made a few improvements in the food, but overall, it’s still lacking freshness and attention to detail. I think they give you large drink glasses so they don’t have to come back to your table for refills. It’s a quick, inexpensive Mexican restaurant, but there are definitely better places in the area. Total bill with a drink was $15.
Salsas Mexican Restaurant
3970 Tampa Road
We ate dinner at Hacienda Mexican Grill over on Drew Street tonight. It wasn’t very busy for a Friday night, but I’m all for not having to wait for a table.
They started us off with some chips and salsa.
Loren said the salsa tasted very fresh, though it wasn’t very spicy at all. He ordered the carnitas.
He really enjoyed the dish. Said everything tasted very fresh and flavorful. The pork was very tender. The guacamole had a little kick to it. The rice and beans were standard fare.
I ordered the shrimp chimichanga.
It was rather disappointing. The shrimp tasted as though they had been frozen and quickly defrosted. They just had a taste to them that was not fresh and flavorful. Definitely not good eats.
They had live music tonight, but I’m never sure what the proper etiquette is when they come to your table and play. Should you let your food get cold while you watch and listen or is considered rude to continue eating? Don’t get wrong, they were very good, but I’d just rather not have them focus directly on our table while we’re eating.
Total bill was $24.
Hacienda Mexican Grill
2551 Drew St, Ste 104
Had lunch at Salsa’s in Oldsmar today. This is the second time I’ve eaten here and it’s been busy both times. We started out with some chips and salsa and I ordered the cheese dip.
Loren thought the salsa was very bland. Not spicy at all. He thought maybe it was leftover marinara sauce from the Italian restaurant that used to be in the space. The cheese dip, on the other hand, had a little kick of jalapeno.
He ordered the lunch chicken fajitas and asked the waiter if it came with guacamole. The waiter said yes it did.
If you’ll notice from the photo, there’s no guacamole there. Unfortunately our waiter never returned to our table, so it’s not like we could order some. Both times, I’ve been here, the service has been less than stellar. They take your order, drop off your food, and then they never check back with you until you’re ready for the check.
I ordered the chicken creama.
It’s a rather plain dish, with not a lot of flavor going on. The chicken was tender though. Total lunch with a drink ran us $23.
Salsas Mexican Restaurant
3970 Tampa Road