J and I went to the BC Lions game on Saturday night and I insisted that we go out for dinner beforehand. I went onto Urbanspoon to see that restaurants were in the area of the new Empire Stadium. There are so many options and restaurants down there I was getting a little overwhelmed with choice. One place caught my eye though, El Mariachi, a Mexican place at 3853 Hastings St. I love love love Mexican food so I knew immediately this is where we would be going.
The second you walk in you immediately feel like you are in a Mexican restaurant. They have decorated it perfectly and of course play the usual music to go along with the atmosphere. The waitress was super nice and welcomed us right away. We ordered 2 lime margaritas and waited in anticipation…..could they be as good as the ones we had in Mexico earlier this year? YES! It’s hard to screw up a margarita but somehow many places, such as Earls or Moxies definitely know how to make them taste horrible. El Mariachi made them with real ingredients. They were so good that I experienced brain freeze for the first time in my life!
They start you off the chips and salsa with their homemade chips. The salsa is also their own special style which was mild but still had great flavour. I remember from being in Mexico that salsa just means sauce, so don’t expect the typical tomato style. That’s called Pico de Galo!
The Menu is pretty big since it includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts and has a pretty good variety of food. It also didn’t specify that there was a time cut off for lunch/dinner items so that made the selection even bigger. I ordered Chicken Tostados which are small flour tortillas fried until their crunchy, topped with refried beans, juicy shredded chicken, lettuce, cheese, pico de galo, and sour cream. They also serve a scoop of Spanish style rice as well. It has peas and carrots mixed in which was fine, but the rice wasn’t anything special. The chicken I assume is poached or slow cooked in a mild sauce because it was still juicy but shredded perfectly. They didn’t too much or too little of anything on the tostados and they tasted great.
J ordered Tacos de Cochinita Pibil, which were 3 small soft taco shells with shredded pork. The pork is simmered in a Yucatan style sauce which was delicious. They were served with a small dish of refried beans, pico de galo, and the same pile of rice. His tacos were amazing! They were spicy, juicy and tender! They looked a little on the small side at first but it was the perfect amount of food for J and he can eat a lot. The refried beans are also not your typical brown, mucky, peanut butter consistency stuff you get in a can. They’re almost black in colour, runnier, and the beans are still whole, not mashed up. I quite liked them.
I really liked the food here and would recommend this place for sure! The food tasted fresh and delicious, I also didn’t have that bloated feeling of, omg I just ate Mexican food. It’s not a tex mex style restaurant, its authentic Mexican food so it isn’t a kick you in the face with spicy food so if you want some extra kick ask for hot sauce, its not Taco Bell. The food is amazing and the staff was super friendly! I will for sure be coming back!