Monday, August 3, 2015
Down Home Mexican (with a Surprise!) at Santeria
This past Friday, my lovely co-workers and I headed to the well known Santeria Mexican restaurant in SW Portland. I say well known, as this place is notorious for sharing a restroom with Mary's Club, one of the most notable strip clubs in town. But before you turn your nose, reconsider both establishments (yes both), as one serves delicious down-home Mexican food and the other delivers a somewhat comical and memorable entertainment experience.
As soon as you walk into Santeria, you know it's a dive but these types of establishments can also be symbols of greatness. Sure there was absolutely no AC on the 100+ degree day we went in and no seating except at the bar, but the fact that it was so crowded was a great sign.
Everything about the decor and atmosphere is simple and no frills, but this again brings your attention to the menu and the fact that this place is always full also speaks volumes.
Even though I wasn't too hungry, I couldn't not try something and was immediately impressed with their taco selection (including the competitive prices). Also noticing their extensive non-alcoholic drinks such as homemade horchata, I was sold.
Al Pastor Taco - One of my favorite taco flavors, I was excited to try Santeria's version of the Al Pastor. Happy to see that it was packed with big pieces of marinated pork and pineapple, it produced a hearty and satisfying bite. It has to be said that the homemade tortillas withstood the generous filling of this taco. Overall, the taco more than surpassed expectations, and I'd be interested to try their other varieties as well.
Horchata - I'm a sucker for a good horchata and can sometimes be disappointed by the pre-packaged stuff they serve at restaurants around town. However this is far from the way they do it at Santeria, as it's quite evident that the horchata is homemade. I love the sprinkling of cinnamon spice on top, which adds a little something special to it. And yet another great selling point of this drink is that it's on free refills. Score!
Service and Cost:
I can't say that I was overly impressed with the service since it was quite slow and for a very simple meal should've been expedited quickly. However, all was forgotten when we got those delicious tacos and burritos - so overall, the quality and taste of the food surpasses the shoddy service.
Costs are cheap (as they should be) and therefore welcome for really great Mexican food. My taco and horchata set me back a mere $5.50 or $6.50 with a tip.
Santeria - 703 SW Ankeny Street, Portland OR 97205