Day of the Week: Saturday, 12/22
Total Bill: $121.63 (before tip)
Breakdown: 4 drinks, 2 appetizers, 1 entrée, 6 tacos, 3 desserts
Pros: Excellent service, 350 types of tequila, creative food, bad ass decor.
Cons: Really can’t think of any!
Verdict: We’re excited to go back next time we’re in Orlando.
After running some pre-Christmas errands near my in-laws’ we realized we were famished for lunch. We were originally going to go to Amura (one of our most favorite sushi spots EVER) but Hubby spotted the sign for Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar and we decided to check it out. I pulled up a menu on my phone and we said to each other “That looks pretty cool.” The outside of the restaurant is really enticing because there are all these Dia de los Muertos-style skeletons and some funky Mexican-looking lanterns and all kinds of cool knick-knacks on the outside bar, hanging from palm trees, etc. The theme continued perfectly into the dining room (and bathroom, but I’ll get to that later).
We took a seat at the front bar and were waited on by Fernando and Ron, both of whom could not have been friendlier or more attentive. I don’t usually drink tequila but, as I said to Fernando, “when in Rome” and I asked him what margarita he would recommend. He suggested the passion fruit margarita with Milagro tequila ($9.50), which was really perfect for a non-margarita drinker like me. The tequila bite was very light and the passion fruit was perfectly tart. Hubby started with a Cadillac margarita ($12.50), which came with lots of great puns from Fernando (“It’s got a lot of horsepower”). Fernando said he loves margaritas, and I think it really showed.
We ordered the jalapeño poppers ($11) and Rocco’s tacos ($14) to start. The jalapeño poppers are sliced in half length-wise, lightly breaded and fried, drizzled with queso crema, and served with a really delicious, creamy dipping sauce. The Rocco’s tacos are three mini tacos filled with tuna cruda (chopped raw tuna), avocado, lime, cilantro, and pineapple salsa. Both were fantastic. I had to restrain myself because I could’ve eaten every jalapeño on the plate. But I wanted to save room for my main course.
After the appetizers, I went to the ladies’ room. They are some of the coolest bathrooms I’ve ever been in. There are framed Mexican comics on the wall (that’s the only way I know to describe them), really neat sinks, and TVs in the stalls that show kitschy old Mexican movies and TV shows. It’s hard to describe but really cool. (And the bathroom was very clean.) It was so awesome to see the theme of the restaurant carried so completely into every nook and cranny – literally – of the restaurant.
On my way back from the bathroom, I noticed what an awesome view the back of Rocco’s has! The rear bar faces a lake and there’s a deck with seating out there. This would be a great place to sit outside when the weather isn’t too hot. Just a little tip.
I ordered the chimichanga nationale ($12), which is “spicy chicken, red onion, chihuahua cheese, spicy white rice & black beans, red and green salsas.” The rice, beans, and salsas were delicious, and Rocco’s does use authentic Mexican cheeses. But the filling of the chimichanga was far too salty for me. I wouldn’t get it again. HOWEVER, you should know that I really don’t like salt in my food (I cook with very little of it, rarely add salt to anything, etc.) so if you like salt, you’ll love this.
Hubby ordered a selection of tacos (which I’ll let him speak about in more detail) but the breakdown was two chicken tacos ($2.95 each), two pork tacos ($2.95 each), one mushroom taco ($2.95), and one chorizo taco ($3.95). (You can also get a platter of two tacos with rice and ensalada mixta for prices ranging from $10 to $12.50.) The tacos come in soft flour tortillas by default but you can also get them in a crispy shell or a corn tortilla (Hubby got them crispy). Hubby declared the pork the best of his selection. I tried a bite and agree the pork was fantastic; I would probably get pork tacos or pork enchiladas next time.
For dessert we ordered the churros ($5), tres leches ($5), and flan cheesecake ($4.50). The churros (served with two scoops of vanilla ice cream) were really good, although they were drizzled with caramel sauce, which is just not necessary and makes them a little too sweet in my opinion. If they were going to be drizzled with anything, I think it should be chocolate sauce. The tres leches was better than what you usually get in a restaurant. It wasn’t quite as mushy. I actually really enjoyed it. The flan cheesecake was basically flan de queso, which is a cream cheese flan. I thought it was good but definitely not the same as homemade.
Hubby got a dessert drink, too. He asked Ron to make him something with Patron XO, so Ron recommended XO and Godiva white chocolate liqueur ($10). It was really good and I helped Hubby drink it. It was kind of like coffee with white chocolate and cream in it.
We were really impressed with Rocco’s and will definitely go back at some point. It’s yummy and close to the in-laws. Most impressively, though, was the service. A lot of restaurants in Orlando, even the “nice” ones like Roy’s that aren’t in really touristy areas, have lackluster service. We assume this is because they get so many people just passing through they don’t expect they’ll get much repeat business regardless of what they do. So, if you’re on the west side of Orlando and looking for something quality and unique, try Rocco’s.
Postscript: I just started reading the Urbanspoon reviews of Rocco’s and I am SHOCKED at how negative many of the reviews are. I really do not know what 99% of these people were thinking. Even though I thought my chimi was a little oversalted, I wouldn’t be as hard on this place as these people were!!!