Seeking the flavors of Mexico and delicious, deceptively alcoholic, Margaritas, Ellen Hockley samples what Mexicana in central Tel Aviv offers.
Living “abroad”, as in not in your country of birth, there are many things one often misses. For me, one of those staples is Mexican food. I have lived out of the US for nearly three years and have, until now, been unable to find Mexican food that resembles anything I grew up on. Of course it is also hard to say if what I know could really be considered Mexican food, but for today let us just say it does. That said, it is time I inform you of Mexicana, a quant little Mexican restaurant in the heart of Tel Aviv.
After months of walking past, I finally had a chance to venture inside. Greeted by a welcoming aroma of salsa and tortillas I knew it was time to dive in. As per my usual dinner acquisition, my dining companion and I began with Margaritas and appetizers. The “Mexico City,” or classic Margarita, was a strong but tasty drink and quite a good way to ease into the evening. Along with our first drinks of the evening, we decided food would be our next move. We started with Flautas and Muchachos; of the two the Flautas were my favorite, but I am a sucker for cheese. They are tortillas filled with mozzarella and garlic, served alongside a “salsa blanca” or white salsa. They were wonderful! The Muchachos similar to what I know as Nachos were also quite tasty, but I was expecting more cheese. However aside from that, I enjoyed them.
After our large starters we took a short rest, finished our first set of drinks and moved on to the second. We had another Margarita, but this one was special known on the menu as “Cancun;” one can only imagine what it must have in store for you. It is a Lychee-Passion Fruit drink that I probably could have consumed all evening and never would have known I was drinking something that strong. It is a light and sweet drink with a fair amount of Tequila in it, leaving nothing else to be desired.
While slowly sipping on our Cancun, we began our adventure in the main courses. Having the Chili Con Carne (Beef Chili) and the Enchilada Con Pollo (Chicken Enchilada), we were extremely satisfied. The Enchilada had a unique flavor and offered a good spin on one of my favorite standard Mexican dishes. It was the tamer dish of the two, as the Chili was quite spicy and provided us with a more traditional-seeming Mexican flavor. Both were tasty and very large. We could have easily eaten one starter and one main and been perfectly full.
Of course a night out is not complete without dessert! We decided on the Cinnamon Star, which was wonderful. Comprised of deep-fried sliced tortillas and dipped in cinnamon and sugar served with ice cream and a berry sauce, I was one happy camper.
I must say, I enjoyed the restaurant: it provides an Israeli spin on Mexican food. It might not be exactly what you are used, but it is worth a visit. With a warm and welcoming environment and attentive staff eager to suggest a tasty dish to anyone there is no reason I can think of not to give this fun little place a try!