A TASTE OF BAJA || Tacofino

Good vibes await.

Even before you enter, the red brick exterior with potted greenery hanging in the windows and the handwritten chalkboard sign that says 'Fish Tacos' all hint at the casual, comforting vibe within. The restaurant is designed with entrances on both ends, opening onto West Cordova on one end and the infamous 'Blood Alley' on the other. We entered from the side of the Burrito Bar, where trendy guests lined up to order their lunch. 

Walking down the corridor we could hear the excitement in the packed dining space, as guests devoured their tasty tacos, burritos, and nachos. Though it was nearing the tail end of the lunch rush, the space was still lively with energy and conversation. 

The interiors bear a recognizable Southern Californian surfer bar feel, with its bright colours, geometric graphics and open design. The eclectic mix of colour blocked walls contrasted against the red brick and multi-colour lampshades work together to create a hip and modern dining environment. 

We walked through the vibrant dining space out onto the patio and stationed ourselves at one of the tables. Meaghan, the General Manager, came by to say hi and shared that their vision for the restaurant was to create tasty food with authentic roots and flavours from Baja. As we chatted, her team served up delicious signature dishes and colourful drinks.

The nachos were the best we've ever had. The nacho chips are made in house, its thicker texture providing more room for toppings and a satisfying crunch. These special nachos also withstand the test of time and heat, whereas most nacho chips tend to become soggy after sitting for a while in open air, these nachos remained crunchy and tasty after we took our time taking photos. 

Nachos with roasted jalapenos, feta, cheddar, monterey jack, salsa fresca, crema.

Next came the crispy chicken taco and squash and cauliflower tostada taco. The crispy chicken taco's epazote chimichurri and pickled vegetables are all made in house. The pickled vegetables made the taco extra appetizing. When we eat, we experience the food with all of our senses, and the vibrant presentation of the dish, texture of the chicken, veggies and wrap, along with the flavourful scent all come together to deliver a unified experience.

The cauliflower tostada taco is an equally tasty option tailored for vegetarians, with its pickled cauliflower made in house. The taste of this dish reminds us of Asian-inspired flavours with a soy base. 

Colourful drinks to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Left to right: El Tigre, Blood Alley Margarita, Classic White Lime Margarita.

The refreshing smoked tuna ceviche, which is a perfect share plate to get everyone's appetite going, uses locally sourced tuna, and you can taste the freshness with every bite along with the radish slices and fragrant greens. 

House smoked tuna, edamame, cucumber, jicama, cilantro, lime, green peppers, corn tortillas.

After polishing off the savoury dishes, the desserts took centre stage. If I had to pick a favourite, it would be the banana churros (unfortunately only available after 5pm, so if you are looking to indulge over lunch hour you are out of luck). The toasty hot snack-sized churro bites were so delicious (and dangerous for dieters!) that I could not stop eating them. 

We were also treated to the Diablo Cookies, made using the owner's recipe. The cookies have a hint of cayenne, which gives the dessert a surprising kick, for those who want to end their meal on a high note. 

The Lime Curd Vaso with graham crumble and whip was like heaven - with an unbelievably creamy, almost fluffy texture. 

If this doesn't make you hungry we don't know what will.

If you manage to visit Vancouver during its most beautiful months (read: July through September), when the sun shines bright and the city's patios are packed from morning til sundown, you will love spending hours on the Tacofino patio. After all, who wouldn't want to try all of the items on their menu? To do that you will need to spend breakfast, lunch and dinner here and we will not discourage you from doing so. 

A big thank you to Meaghan and her team for hosting us and treating us to a lovely afternoon filled with tasty eats! 

A beautiful nook we couldn't resist taking a photo of.