Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Los Tacos de Mauro - Eclectic yet Charming

I am sure I am the last in Ottawa to make it to Los Tacos de Mauro in the Byward Market area. I first heard about this place last year from a neighbour. He gave it a reserved but positive thumbs up. Now, it seems that everyone has tried it already. They either love it or well, not so much. I can't tell if this reflects on their past authentic Mexican experiences or if it is just a matter of taste. Despite a few dissenters, the theme seems consistent - the place is eclectic and the service is charming.

Located at 349 Dalhousie Street, across from the hotel Courtyard Marriott, there is small signage on the building and also a bright, colourful sandwich board propped on the sidewalk. By now everyone knows it as the place upstairs in the discothèque, discoteka, which operates as a restaurant by day and a dance floor by night.

It's true. I lunched in a disco lounge complete with at least six glittery disco balls. Six! Maybe more.

Tempted with their non-standard soda choices, all made in Mexico, I selected the fizzy Grapefruit. Very refreshing. I found my neighbour's soda Sangria to be too sweet. Both were $2.20.

My eyes stopped at the Tacos de Carnitas (Michoacán-style pork tacos) 3 for $8.50. You can check out the rest of their menu on-line.

My lunch came with a salad. Basic, fresh, filling and loaded with chunks of avocados. We were also served a starter of large wedges of tortilla chips and guacamole. Although I found the purée of green a bit too salty, it was an excellent addition to my carnitas, where seasoning was needed for the pork.

The condiments offered with my dish were: a squeeze from fresh limes, chopped cilantro, diced onions, salsa verde with a jalapeño bite and a piquant red sauce.

In addition to slathering on the guacamole, I also pulled on a few pieces of the queso blanco cheese. My two 'cheats' made the dish since the pork, although very tender, was a bit bland. The soft corn tortillas were supple but sturdy and carried the load well.

I tried a bite of my neighbour's Tacos de Papas Con Chorizo (a mix of potato and Mexican chorizo) but it wasn't to my liking. Too mushy and plain. A bit of a surprise considering the addition of chorizo. She also had the carrot soup. I winced at the school of Goldfish crackers swimming on top. I took a pass on a taste.

The service was caring and attentive. So pleasing. Even the chef came to the table to help deliver our lunch.

This is a CASH ONLY shop. For $10.70 before tax and tip, I had an exceptionally filling lunch. Depending on your menu choice though, it could be hit or miss. It is a long way to climb, but I would enjoy lunching on those carnitas again.

Read what others had to say:

Professional food critics from local publications
Shawna Wagman at Ottawa Magazine
Anne DesBrisay at Capital Dining, printed in The Ottawa Citizen
Colleen Johnston at Ottawa XPress
Shari Goodman at Metro Ottawa

Review sites and bloggers
Ottawa Foodies
Kathy Eats
Simply Fresh Ottawa
365 Days of Ottawa Food

Les Tacos de Mauro
349 Dalhousie Street
Ottawa, Ontario
Facebook: Los Tacos de Mauro (Authentic Mexican Cuisine)

Tues to Sat: 11 am - 9 pm
Sun: 11 am - 5 pm

Los Tacos de Mauro on Urbanspoon

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