Newest Review: ... 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 b... more
Mexican food and margaritas
Cafe Pacifico (London)
Member Name: sunmeilan
Cafe Pacifico (London)
Advantages: The margaritas
Disadvantages: The price of the margaritas
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.
Summary: A fabulous experience, but you pay for it