Contributed by J & C (the tell-it-as-it-is food critics)
Ed’s Note: Food Finds is a review segment by our contributors — Metro Manila-based entrepreneurs, J & C.
Voucher/s Used: None
Number of Diners: 3 (Adults)
This dimly-lit watering hole-cum-Mexican taqueria is located along a small alley in Makati’s red light district. The very long waiting line that greeted us hinted that we may have bumped into a culinary goldmine. We battled through the heat, smoke, and flickering lights of this al fresco-but-not-so-fresco chug-and-chow place all for the promise of good food. Will the case of gastronomic treasure hunting (there were times when we didn’t actually know what we were eating because of the very poor lighting) bring us delight or disappointment? Let’s find out.
What We Ordered:
Chili con Carne & Tortilla Chips (Bowl) @ PhP230
This bowl was nothing special — just a run-off-the-mill chilli. Cumin was a bit overpowering and the tortilla chips were definitely not freshly made.
Carnitas Burrito @ PhP318
This pork burrito was another pedestrian dish. It’s good to fill one’s hunger, but that’s about it. It did its job too well and too soon though that it failed to pose for the photo op. Sorry, guys.
Baja California Fish Taco @ PhP125
This was one of their best tacos. The fried fish was light and flaky and really went well with the cabbage and salsa toppings. We would have given this a perfect 5/5 stars if not for the mayo-like dressing, which was waaay too much.
Camarones a la Diabla Taco @ PhP145
This taco was heavenly. The shrimps were succulent and had that beautiful crunch, which signified true freshness. We never expected to get such fresh and well-cooked pieces of shrimps from a mid-priced taco shop. The heat was on the extreme end though. We were all dumbstricken by THE Diabla! Our chatty companion wasn’t just shut up by this evil taco, he was also made to bow out of our pig out fest because of nose bleed (literally)! Imagine that kind of heat!
Lengua Taco @ PhP125
The lengua was way under seasoned. This dish tasted more like a toppings-only taco than a lengua taco.
Cabrito (Spicy Goat) Taco @ PhP150
Wow, this was definitely the star of the show! A must-try for all foodies. If we may take a guess, this may be their signature dish. If not, then it should be. The goat meat was very tender and well-seasoned. The dish had the right amount heat and acid (from the calamansi). It reminded us of a great caldereta but in taco form. This dish may well be El Chupacabra’s (a lendary goat-sucking creature) favorite.
Carnitas Taco @ PhP95
If we could redo our visit, we wouldn’t order this dish again. The pork pieces were a bit tough and it lacked the umph of a well-made taco. We might as well have tried a different kind of taco from their wide selection. That being said, it kinda made us feel okay that we forgot to take a picture of it.
Chorizo con Papas Taco @ PhP125
This was easily one of the most forgettable of the bunch. We honestly couldn’t remember how it tasted. The only thing we recall was that the meat was dry and tasteless.
Chicharrones en Salsa Verde Taco @ PhP95
We took one bite of this dish and put the rest of the thing away. From the name “chicharonnes”, we expected a taco with crunchy crackling pork rinds, but were served the opposite. It was a taco with too much soggy, fatty and under seasoned meat.
It was a great case of hits and misses. The well-made tacos were a joy to eat, however the bad ones made us want to shoot ourselves in the head. If they were positioning themselves as a good Mexican or Mexican-inspired taqueria, they should have just removed from their menu the tacos that didn’t make the cut.
The servers were all over the place. You have to really call their attention for you to get noticed. And since according to sources the place is always jam-packed, expect to wait in line for about 30 minutes and another 10-15 for your orders to be served.
Value for Money:
A lot of people come here for the affordable beer. But since we don’t drink, we solely based our rating on their food. The tacos ranged from PhP95-150 apiece, which is not that bad. For the best bang for your buck, we suggest coming here in groups of 2-3 persons so you can each have a bite or two of their wide array of tacos. (Just pray that you choose the right ones. )
Will We Go Back?
The good tacos are really craveable and worth braving the heavy Makati traffic. But the thought of the long and uncomfortable waiting time to be seated may play a big negative factor. Really tough call. So guess if we were in the area, we’d stop by for a bite or two, or better yet, just order for take-out. We can always eat inside the car! By the way, parking is difficult. You may want to park one or two blocks away.
Location: 5782 Felipe St. near cor. Polaris St., Bel-Air, Makati City
Contact No.: +63-2-8951919
Hours: Sun-Wed @ 2pm-12mn
Thu-Sat @ 2pm-2am
Let our palates and our pockets be your guide,
J & C