There are some experiences that you remember better than others. Unfortunately, this is not one of them. I find that aside from the proverbial La Taqueria, good Mexican food is hard to come by in this city. Of course, as I’ve never really been to Mexico (or anywhere south of New York City for that matter), I’m not exactly the best judge of Mexican food. Sure, the whole Tex-Mex taco thing is fun to eat on occasion, but is this what they eat in the slums of Mexico City, one of the world’s most populous cities? Are bags of processed cheddar and mozzarella cheese really a thing down there out in the harsh dessert conditions? I really don’t know, but perhaps the folks at Las Margaritas in Kits do. At the very least, they apparently pride themselves on using fresh ingredients and food free of additives, preservatives, and MSG.
After doing The Chief one day, a friend and I ended up making our way to Kitsilano as we returned to Vancouver. After contemplating on where to eat for quite some time, we eventually just settled on Las Margaritas. Although we walked in at around 8pm, we still had to wait a bit for a table. I suppose my hunger resulted in some muscle fatigue in my arms, leading to some shaky photographs. The hostess and people at the front of house were pleasant enough as we waited.
Luckily, we eventually got one out on the patio as the sun was setting. The outdoor seating was lively, spacious, and even somewhat festive. I suppose I photographed the salt and pepper shakers for fun, as they were in these used beer bottles.
As we were ordering, we were given a complimentary basket of nachos and salsa to munch upon, an act typical of Mexican restaurants. They tasted relatively standard; the chips weren’t stale, and the salsa was tangy. Both are apparently made fresh in-house everyday.
As it was truly a dog day (of summer, that is) we opted for a half-pitcher of sangria roja ($14.25) to cool down and refresh ourselves from our glorious trek. As per usual, the drink, of course, was of the bright pink variety. It is apparently made from fruit juices blended with red wine and a splash of brandy. It was quite tasty, with the fruit juices neutralizing the acidity and sharp taste of the red wine. In particular, there was an abundance of apple slices, which soaked up the flavours and mixed well with the drink.
My friend ordered the cochinita pibil ($13.20), one of the house specials. Consisting of achiote marinated pork that is oven-roasted in a banana leaf and served with pickled red onions, rice, and black beans, it is apparently a famous dish from the Yucatan area of Mexico. I recall the food taking quite awhile to arrive; so long that night fell and some orange patio lights turned on as we waited. This attributed to the subsequent beauty of these photographs. Smiley face. Anyways, this was again a case where my dining companion ordered a dish that I had been eying, as the banana leaf sounded quite exciting. However, it apparently did not bestow too special of quality upon this dish regardless. The pork was soft and marinated well. It was also served alongside a large, flat pot of thin shell tortillas.
On the other hand, I ended up opting for the Tacos de Pescado ($14.05), two soft corn tortillas filled with cilantro pesto, marinated wild BC salmon, red and green cabbage, cheese, and pico de gallo. It was also served with black beans and Mexican rice. In spite of everything else going on in these tacos, the salmon was still quite noticeable. This was definitely a good thing, as it tasted to be quite fresh and roasted nicely. Surprisingly, the distinctive Tex-Mex cheese enunciated the flavour of the salmon well, while the pico de gallo salsa made each bite taste fresh and distinctive. The accompaniments were relatively normal, as they represented obligatory carbs.
Las Margaritas is touted to be a local favourite of sorts, and I suppose I could see why. Given the alcohol-happy, tequila-loving nature of such Mexican restaurants, Las Margaritas is also an enjoyable location for birthday gatherings. The service, while friendly, was a little hard to track down at times, but I suppose it was friendly enough. In the end, while I wouldn’t return to Kitsilano just to try out this establishment again, it certainly wasn’t a bad post-hike meal. This was especially since the carbs were just so abundant.
Conclusion: Andy ate a fair amount.
1999 W 4th Ave