This weekend sure was focused on trying new places and eating our weight in food. On Saturday night, Erick and I went to a Miami spice restaurant named Mercadito in Midtown. During last year’s Miami spice time, I kept coming back to this restaurant on the website and wished that I had enough time to go. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out last year but timing was on my side( especially since Erick feels as if he has to spend every waking minute with me that he isn’t in school, to balance out his new busy and nerdy lifestyle- I AM NOT COMPLAINING J )
The restaurant was quite a drive from my house, roughly 20 miles away. That’s not really far in Miami but it doesn’t mean I like it. Being in cars for a long time, especially if I am not the driver, freaks me out. I get really nervous and suffer from some strange and inexplicably high amount of anxiety thinking that people suck at driving and will inevitably crash into me. I know, strange thoughts but everyone has them! The restaurant was very full and the atmosphere was very relaxed and pretty awesome. They have both outdoor seating (think lots of twinkly lights and bohemian outdoor seating) and indoor seating. Erick selected indoor seating so we had to wait a little for our seats, which gave me loads of time to scope out the place and pay attention to the smallest details.
From the menu, it seemed that Mercadito is centered around family style/ordering loads of small plates/small bites/ tapas type/you might go hungry of restaurant. As a disclaimer, I must confess that I dislike frufru restaurants where the food is smaller than a utensil and they make you feel as if you left hungrier than when you arrived. I was deeply afraid for the restaurant. Fortunately, Erick had pizza a few hours before we got there and I just had finished a post run protein shake that we weren’t ravenous and hungray( being mad because we are extremely hungry- this is an Erick word, I did not make it up)
The ordering process was a little bit tedious since you and your dinner partner have to select the exam same thing to eat because you have to share everything( I told you it was strange!) After you order your drink, you select two types of guacamole, we selected the elote( with corn and cheese) and the traditional one. The chips that came with the guacamole were very delicious. It reminded me of Stacy’s Pita chips except these were warm and had no salt.
The guacamole was followed by a second appetizer of melted cheese topped with wild mushrooms and served with a spicy sauce and four small warm corn tortillas( yes, we had two appetizers. This was also very good. I love cheese and you can serve it to me any way and you’ll never hear a complaint from me.
The main course of meal were a selection of three types of tacos( two came per serving) that you shared, that way each of you gets to try a taco. We ordered Taco’s Al Pastor, Carne and Baja Style. For sure, hands down, the best taco was the Al Pastor. It was the perfect combination of spicy from the chipotle sauce and sweet from the roasted pineapple. Erick isn’t a huge fan of pork but these tacos were amazing. The Carne tacos were somewhat disappointing and lacked flavor and substance. I also thought it was strange how they had potatoes in a taco. The Baja Style tacos were enjoyed solely by me since Erick wasn’t feeling the fish. It was beer battered and fried to a crisp and topped with a refreshing coleslaw that had excellent crunch.
After our main course, we received our side dish of macho plantains which consisted of sweet plantains with a jalapeno ginger sauce. Now, please don’t ask me why we received our side dish after we ate our tacos because three days later, I still don’t know. The sweet plantains however, were very very good. Im a huge fan of fried sweet plantains(although when I ordered this dish I would have sworn on my life that I ordered fried green plantains also known as tostones and not sweet plantains but oh well) I actually also enjoyed the jalapeno ginger sauce much more than I ever thought I would.
Dessert was also a pleasant surprise, to share we had a cheesecake with passion fruit and hibiscus syrup. I didn’t care for the cookie part of the cheesecake but the passion fruit and hibiscus syrup were AMAZING. Perfect combination of sweet and tart and all yummy.
Overall, I gave the restaurant a B grade. Beautiful decorations filled the large open concept of a room, the atmosphere was welcoming. However, the food wasn’t anything I would recommend someone MUST try. If someone told me they were in the area I would recommend they stop by. The one thing that I wasn’t crazy about was the 1468138746974 little food on huge plates and the small portions of food. I consider myself a practical person so I never understand why restaurants are obsessed with bringing your food in large plates and never fit on your table. At one time in the evening, Erick and I both had our individual tasting plates, two glasses of water, our fancy water bottle(that we did not request but did pay for), my margarita glass, erick’s beer, and 3 large taco plates. We barely had any space to breath. The waitress also forgot about us for a little which made for some perfect staring competitions between Erick and I.