Thanks to my friend, I fiiiinally got to try the infamous bartaco last weekend. We had a date to walk in Chastain Park, and she suggested we grab lunch at bartaco Buckhead beforehand. I had been wanting to try bartaco for the longest time, but rarely get over to Atlanta’s Westside, so I was ecstatic to learn that there was another location in Buckhead near Chastain.
Upon arrival on a sleepy Saturday morning (a few minutes before noon), bartaco Buckhead was still fairly quiet, but I could tell that the staff was busily preparing for an onslaught of guests. I was first captivated by the cozy, beachy outside seating, then meandered inside for a peek. The inside was huge, open, airy and bright with lots of blue and white nautical themed décor. I almost felt more like I was in a home goods store versus a restaurant.
While the inside was indeed cool and different, I preferred the more traditional, restaurant-like setting outside. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of choosing a table by the air conditioning unit. It wasn’t running when we first sat down, but soon made it difficult for me to hear my friend – well that and the plethora of young children sitting around us. As I suspected, the patio filled up fast – mostly with families. I’m guessing that the Westside location has a different/younger vibe, but I could be wrong.
In any case, there’s still lots to love about bartaco Buckhead. For one, our waitress was the sweetest and most helpful person I’ve encountered in a long time. Secondly, the menu, while limited, is very creative. And most importantly, the tacos are mind-blowingly delicious!
The tacos are small, so I ordered three of them – the duck, sesame rib eye and pork belly. In hindsight, I probably should have gone with just two since we also ordered chips with salsa and guacamole and the spicy cucumber salad, but it was very hard to decide amongst all of the exciting options. Typically when I go to a place like this that serves a bunch of different kinds of tacos (Verde and Taqueria del Sol come to mind), there’s always a taco or two that stands out from the rest. Not so at bartaco – they were all utterly amazing!!!
In addition to the salsa verde we ordered, there were also various free salsas on the table. Typically I douse everything I eat in sauces, but these tacos did not need a thing. I never even tasted the salsas on the table because each of my tacos was cooked and flavored to perfection. I dare say these are the best tacos I’ve had in Atlanta.
As for the other things we ordered, they were just okay. Salsa verde, guac, chips – all just fine. The salsa verde was unusual in that it was very sweet – I still can’t decide if that is a good thing or not. I was disappointed with the spicy cucumber salad though. The cukes were all spice, no flavor. Even my friend who did not eat any of them pointed out that they needed a lot more juices just by looking at them. I concur. These issues won’t stop me from getting at those tacos again though!
If you go to bartaco early like I did, be warned that they will serve you a French press of coffee if you ask for it, but they don’t have iced coffees or anything fancy like that. Boo. They do, however, have plenty of alcoholic beverages.
Everything at bartaco was very affordable except for the guacamole which was $9 for some reason. This standout taco joint has several locations on the East coast. Hopefully you can find one near you at http://www.bartaco.com/.Tags: Atlanta, atlanta restaurant, bartaco, buckhead, Chastain, Mexican food, tacos