Heading south to Mexico … colourful times arrive at Bali’s tropical shores, writes Salvador Bali.
LA LIBRE TAQERIA
820 Jl. Raya Semer, Anyar. Tel: 0821-9929-6321
LA Libre is a small, casual, funky Los Angeles-style eatery seating 42 people. Dine inside and out in the midst of casual pop-art décor supplemented by a mix of ‘60s to ‘80s music. Making a showing without anyone knowing – no ad campaigns, just a word-of-mouth following – La Libre has flourished into a happening spot for the surfer crowd. Boasting quality ingredients, goodly portions, and friendly prices, La Libre is an all around good vibes place to relax and repast. Tacos are home made and the Big Burritos and Nachos are a definite favourite. Everything is made in-house: tortilla’s, refried beans, guacamole, salsa, hot sauces, and even the sour cream is made fresh. All vegetable and salad produce is from Bedugul and is as organic as possible. Almost all ingredients are sourced locally, promoting local farmers and producers. This may be another reason why so many Mexican restaurants have popped up; everything is available here to make Mexican food.
Jalan Kunti #6, Seminyak.Tel: 854-6262 www.tacobeachgrill.com
SMALL place, but in a big way, inside dining, seating capacity 30, décor – Mexican ghetto-chic meets upscale Tijuana. Gayle lighting, painted in orange and pink, fiesta style with Latin music and Mexican videos. Constant turn-around of clientele, with queues-in-waiting. Main ingredient: “if you don’t love it, you don’t pay for it”. Taco Beach offers a personalised menu, which means three months of recipe development. House favourites are nachos with six different seasoned fresh salsas; freshly fried corn chips; roasted sweet corn; house Batestella salsa; roasted chili and guacamole. Chili Poppers, local chilies stuffed with imported mozzarella, in a corn batter, then deep fried and served with a fresh ranch dressing which is made with fresh herbs and sour cream, mixed with homemade mayonnaise. Babi Guling Tacos – with a marinade made in a mysterious and secret way containing 16 different spices, and slowly, slowly cooked. The chef is Mexican. Presentation is first-class, gourmet style. All in all an impressive menu with many surprises, and shockingly low prices. Let’s not forget the desserts – how about this folks . . . margarita cheesecake. This is a Mexican restaurant with passion-plus and definitely striving to be the best.
Jalan Padma, Utara, Legian. Tel: 735 100/200/300
THIS Mexican restaurant is a family institution 21 years in the making. With a reputation for quality and consistency, locals and tourists alike have been coming back again and again. Poco Loco seats up to 250 on a three-tiered deck – inside and outside dining, with ample parking. Décor is in the Latin tradition with a long saloon bar sporting the biggest selection of tequilas on the island, and to encourage the fiesta feel, music on Tuesdays with The Latin Tropical band; Thursdays, flamenco guitar and Latin DJ; Fridays, Latin music with salsa dancing review. And, of course, little Madé, tequila-meister extraordinaire – 21 years on the job carrying his gun belt of tequila shots that hit you right between the eyes. His specialty is the jumbo margarita. As for menu presentation, nothing fancy, but mouth-watering and finger-lickin’-good. Selections include Cowboy Steak, Tapas Selections shared at table, Fiesta Platter, Monster Ribs, and California Tex Mex. Favourites are: Tuna Tatar – raw tuna, salsa, and guacamole mixed with olive oil, served with Salsa Rosa, guacamole, pico de gallo and crispy tortilla; Chimichanga – a flour tortilla with shredded chicken or beef, cheese, and chili sauces, deep fried, and served with Mexican rice, salsa guacamole and mixed vegetables; Sizzling Fajitas – chopped onion, green peppers, red pepper, sautéed beef filet, garlic butter, fajitas seasoning, salt and pepper poured onto a hotplate, and served with mixed green vegetable, homemade tortillas, salsa and sour cream. Desert specials include Mud Pie and Mexican coffee.
No.1 Jalan Drupadi, Seminyak. Tel: 736-733 www.lacalacabali.com Open seven days a week 11am -12pm. Local delivery.
LACA Laca is anything but a traditional Mexican restaurant. It has style all of its own. Seating capacity is 70. Post-modern décor provides indoor an outdoor diners with a warm, friendly, and cozily rustic feel. Laca Laca is renowned for its modern approach to traditional dishes. The bar, of course, serves tequila-based cocktails with a twist, including the house specialty, Laca Laca Margarita. Every Wednesday and Saturday margarita mixed drinks are only Rp.50K from 10pm onwards. Menu favorites include: Chilaquiles – mixed chilies – poblano, guajillo, pasilla, chicken stock, lime, onions, shredded chicken, and corn chips, tossed through sauce and topped with avocado, spring onions and sour cream coriander; Cornitas – very slow braised pork shoulder (the sweetest part), onions, bay leaves, carrots, orange, pineapple salsa, red onions, and lime coriander; Quesedilla – two flour tortillas, slow-braised beef brisket, tomato salsa, onion, lime coriander, and jack cheese roasted on both sides, with classic wine.
Jl. Oberoi # 177x, Seminyak.
LA FAVELA décor is based on the shantytowns of Brazil, whereby you enter a maze of overhanging tree-lined dining areas on the first floor of a three-level complex, with artistically rustic furniture … including a five-metre fiberglass statue of Jesus. Opening in early April and (initially on the first floor – seating 80) the Latin, Mediterranean and South American menu is something distinctly different. Chefs are from Peru, France and Italy. Starting with sunset tapas, the menu will quickly grow to encompass much of what discerning foodies expect of the Latina experience. Specialities: Ceviche – a typical Peruvian dish; raw fish, shallots and citrus; Ron Don – octopus, mahi-mahi, tuna, coriander, corn, mixed spices bisque, prepared two days in advance; Carpaccio – octopus, olive oil and ocean salt … very Italian.