“ MEXICAN. 5 Langley Street, WC2. Tel: +44 (0)20 7379 7728. Fax: +44 (0)20 836 5088. „
I like Mexican food and for me Cafe Pacifico is one of the best Restaurants in London, based on Langley Street down a quiet little side street off the main area of Covent Garden this is within 3-5 minutes walk of both Leicester Square and Covent Garden Tube Stations.
The place itself is set on one level and has an air of cool Mexican chaos you can see the kitchen, the staff are generally of Latin American origin and have a good knowledge of their subject. Cocktails are distinctive and authentic and I love Corona so the beer is perfect for the food, fruity to match the spicy rich nature of the food.
I thought this was a ramshackle authentic joint that just got by with its great menu but I understand there is also a Cafe Pacifico in Amsterdam and Sydney and sister restaurant La Perla in London and Paris.
In terms of menu, it is rich, authentic and hearty. I'm a massive eater and can generally finish someone elses plate but have to admit after eating at Cafe Pacifico I didn't need to eat for the rest of the day and I went for lunch.
Typical Mexican fare here with Burritos, Fajitas, Tacos, Nachos and Guacamole, all are great bar foods, great to snack on with beer or tequilla. All have strong flavours and come in really good sized sharing portions, prices are generally around £5 but they are good value and the bar food menu even suggests the best beer to combine with the snacks.
Enchilladas in a variety of flavours are the order of the day, fajitas are also a house speciality too and are so enormous you'll struggle to finish them, Chile Con Carne is fiery, spicy and damned tasty and Degustacion Del Pacifico is my personal favourite being a combination of Taco, Enchilada, Quesqidilia and Guacamole. All meals include rice and beans which are incredibly filling.
Desserts vary from Ice Creams to Mud Pie to Brownies, there are also a decent selection of teas and liquors.
Prices are decent with main courses costing around £8-£12 and they are incredibly filling. If you like decent hearty food at reasonable prices, and slightly off the beaten track in busy Covent Garden, this is a great place for a long leisurely lunch or a fun evening.
Oh and did I mention the Tequilla's, head down there and check them out, it'll be a night to remember....or not, if you have one too many tequilla's!!!!
Title: Mexican food and margaritas
Advantages: The margaritas!
Disadvantages: The cost of the margaritas!
My colleague and I wanted to have a nice lunch to celebrate the end of a project. As we are conveniently based near Covent Garden, we had a wealth of choices, but Mexican food appealed to both of us, so we ended up in Cafe Pacifico. Although it is down a small road and isn't particularly visible to the majority of people shopping in Covent Garden, it certainly attracts a lot of people and I wasn't all that surprised to hear that it has been in business since 1982. It certainly deserves a good reputation; the food was fabulous and the margaritas were perfect. We only meant to have one, but ended up having three each! Well, it is Christmas, as we kept telling each other to make ourselves feel better about going back to work rather the worse for wear.
5 Langley Street
Tel: 020 7379 7728
Langley Street is literally 30 seconds walk away from Covent Garden tube station, so don't be put off at the thought of having to wade through millions of people before you can get to your food.
It looks very like every Mexican restaurant I've ever been in; decorated in reds and earthy colours with a lot of Mexican-style paintings and ornaments. It is quite dark inside despite large windows, but I could see well enough to see what I was eating and that was all that mattered. There is a long bar across one side of the room with plenty of space to sit. The restaurant can seat about 130 people; the day we went, it was packed to the gills, including several Christmas parties.
When we sat down, we were brought a bowl of nachos and a dip. The dip was absolutely delicious, which boded well for the rest of the meal - it was really quite spicy, which I love. The menu was excellent and had everything I associate with Mexican food, including quesadillas, burritos, fajitas, enchiladas and chilli. I chose the chimichanga (try saying that in a hurry!), which, for those of you who don't know is a flour tortilla filled with chicken or beef (I had the beef), onions and cheese, covered in a sauce with guacamole and sour cream. It was accompanied by refried beans and rice. It was excellent. The only thing I can find to criticise about it is the calories, but I'm going to worry about that after Christmas! The portion size was generous, so much so that I struggled to finish it, but managed to force it down!
My colleague had the burrito, which is a flour tortilla filled with cheese, beans and meat, covered with a sauce, cheese and sour cream. Again, it was served with rice and refried beans. Like me, she really enjoyed it.
Next time I go, I want to try the fajitas, which are pieces of meat, onions and sometimes peppers, fried on a sizzling hot plate. The plate is delivered to your table and you can then make up the fajitas by wrapping the food up in tortillas. The people at the next table had them and the smell was fabulous.
We didn't have a dessert, we were both too full, but the menu looked great, including such specialities as mud pie and chocolate mousse. There is also a wide vareity of coffees.
There is an enourmous drinks menu and I can imagine that many people come in for just drinks. On offer was all types of tequila, margaritas, daquiris, mojitos and a full wine list. I was tempted by the daquiris, but opted for a margarita in the end. I had a Mora Lisa (that's not a misspelling) Margarita, which is Andean blackberries, lime juice, triple sec and Don Agustin Blanco 100% Agave served over crushed ice with salt around the rim of the glass, then I tried the Margarita Anejo, which is Gran Centenario Anejo, Cointreau and fresh lime juice. Both were delicious; sharp and salty, but a little bit sweet at the same time. There was a generous amount of alcohol in them, which was just as well considering the price (see below). I would definitely go back just for another one of these, and to try the daquiri. Had we known we were going to have more than one, we would have ordered a jug, which are better value than ordering glasses.
I really cannot fault the service. Despite the volume of people, we were served quickly and efficiently by three different waiters/waitresses, all of whom were friendly and helpful. The food and drinks were served quickly, but at no point did we feel that we were being hurried. The toilets were clean and perfectly adequate, so no complaints there.
This is the downfall. The food isn't priced too badly; both our dishes were around £9 and there were few dishes about £15 - those that were were specials. Starters were generally under a tenner, except for specialities like lobster. However, the drinks are astronomical. I suppose I don't usually drink cocktails, so maybe they are similar prices elsewhere, but I still thought it was over the top. One margarita cost £6.95! As we had three each, this bumped up the bill quite considerably - we paid £70 in the end. Eating in Covent Garden is always expensive, but I've never paid that much before.
Despite the price, I can certainly recommend Cafe Pacifico. I will not be going back unless it is a special occasion though - I just don't earn enough. I would go back just for the food, but I think that the temptation to have a drink as well would be just too great. The problem is, once you've had one, you want another! However, as a special treat, it is certainly worth it for the food, drink, service and atmosphere. If you don't drink of course, or can avoid the temptation, I'd certainly recommend it for the food, which was really very good.
On a girls night out with some old school chums, we were trying to decide where to go to eat. Being still fairly new to London, we decided to play it safe and go somewhere one of us had been before, so we chose Cafe Pacifico, a Mexican restuarant in Covent Garden. I really enjoy eating out, but I always seem to end up slurping spaghetti or battling with an Indian (meal). Mexican food had never appealed to me - I always imagined it to be too dry and too spicy - and my limited experience with dusty nachos and rubbery cheese did nothing to entice me. However, I have to say it was one of the most enjoyable meals I've ever had in a restaurant. There are a few steps leading up to the restaurant, which make it inaccessible to wheelchair users, unless there was another entrance that I did not notice. Inside, the restaurant is fairly large (the name is misleading, it is much more a restaurant than a cafe), with lots of tables, but without being cramped. It looks exactly as I imagined a Mexican restaurant to look, lots of orange and yellow hues, wood and a bit of a Wild West theme going on - in fact, I noticed on the menu (I can't remember what dish it was) that they actually serve cacti!!! I was surprised to read in another review of this restaurant that it is normally packed and advisable to book. Whilst I can imagine it being like this on weekends, we went on a Monday evening and the place was no more than half full. There was a mix of customers - a birthday party, a few couples. I didn't see any kids but I don't see why you couldn't take kids there, apart from I'm not sure if it had a non-smoking section. We were seated straight away and presented with a bowl of tortilla chips and some spicy dip, I think it had pickles in it, and it was hot. We swiftly ordered a bottle of Pinot Grigio and carried on munching. I was bewildered by the menu, not knowing what most of the dishes were. Eventually I decided upon Chimichanga del Mer to satisfy
my usual need to eat seafood when I dine out, although I was not entirely sure if I was going to like the Chimichanga part of it. This translated as crab, cod and some other fishy things wrapped in some sort of bready stuff and served with rice and beans. My friends chose beef and chicken quesada, and chicken fajitas. I aked my friends opinion of the quesada today (we were too busy eating last night to discuss the food, apart from 'mmmm', 'mmm mmm mmm', and some more 'mmmm'). She replied that hers was ' very nice, beef was very tasty and not masked by the sauces, and the portion was just the right amount. Rice was nice, wasnt sure what to do with the orange segment though!! Not very spicy, or maybe that was just in comparision to the dip we got with the tortila chips!!'. I know that my other pal was impressed with hers as she is normally a very small and very finicky eater, and she almost finished hers! Plus the fajitas came served in a ferociously sizzling pan. My meal was delectable, the tastes went together very well, and the texture of the Chimichanga was perfect (if the Chimichanga was what everything else was rolled up in!). And the melted cheese was heavenly. I ate every last morsel, and then went back onto the tortilla chips! We didn't get starters, but main courses range from about £8 to upwards of £15. For our 3 meals plus 2 bottles of Pinot Grigio the bill came to just over £60. It was not cheap, but I don't mind paying for good food. I did not like the way that our change was not returned after we had paid - whilst we had intended to tip it is nice to have the option. The service was fine though; friendly and very quick - we didn't have to wait any longer than 10 minutes for our meals. I will definitely go back to this restaurant, and I have now been inspired to try out some more Mexican restaurants, and I am delighted that a whole new world of culinary delights has opened up to me. I would recommend t
his restaurant whole-heartedly to anyone who enjoys Mexican food, or to anyone who just fancies something different.
With 39% of its population Hispanic, you can’t go far wrong in Los Angeles if it’s great Mexican food that you are looking for. So it came as a surprise to me, while on a visit to LA, when a local told me that the best Mexican food that he had ever eaten was in London; the place in question being Café Pacifico in Covent Garden. Being something of a fan of good Mexican food I just had to try it out. The restaurant itself in Langley Street is a little bit spit and sawdust but then what would you expect from a Mexican cantina? The ambience is very good, the restaurant is always busy and always has a great atmosphere. The first time I went there with a friend we made the mistake of ordering Nachos Grande to start followed by Fajitas. The Nachos alone were enough to leave us stuffed, the problem being that they were so good and so loaded that we couldn’t stop eating them! Then came the Fajitas…! Booking seems to be more or less essential as it is always full. You can always have a drink at the bar with a good selection of Mexican beers, tequila, margueritas etc. Food quality is excellent, always freshly cooked, generous portions and not overpriced. Service is very good and reasonably efficient. I once found a small piece of porcelain in my food and on reporting it to the waitress didn’t pay a penny for my meal. Nachos and Fajitas were my choice on my first visit and still are my favourites but all the regular dishes that you would expect, such as burritos etc. are there as well.