16 December, 2012

Mexican at the Foot of Acropolis

(The photos were taken with i-Phone and are not as good as the usual camera photos. Apologies).

It has been quite a while that I wanted to visit this Mexican restaurant, reputed to be THE ONLY real Mexican in Athens, Rincon Mexicano. And finally the opportunity turned up.

Here it is.

It is situated in Koukaki or Makryanni District of Athens and it takes 5 min walk from Acropolis Metro station.

Knowing that the restaurant is super-small, I booked a table in advance, at 6 o'clock on a Wednesday (they told me that the place is open from 3 o'clock in the afternoon).

When I arrived at 6 o'clock, I learnt it wasn't that necessary. It was totally empty and it continued to be so until around 7:30. Then the tables quickly filled up and it was full-ish at 8. When we left at 8:30, there were people waiting for table.

Based on this experience, my advice would be that if you want to make sure to be able to eat here, either you get there before 7:30 or reserve a table.

The interior is quite humble and the décor does not say much. Besides, although there was no ash tray on the table, there were people who were smoking. Fortunately they were not many, but if there were, it would be a hell, as the space is very small.

The menu is composed of starters, salad, side dishes, cooked to order dishes (or, dishes of the day), and Mexican specialities, about 20 items in total. Not many, but the place being so small, I think it is wise to keep the menu short.

This time we were four, so we picked various dishes randomly and shared among us.

For the drink, we ordered 1 Margarita and a half litre of Sangria. Sangria costs 6 Euro, which I think is not cheap considering that it is just a mixture of wine and juice. In fact, half a litre of wine also costs 6 Euro, which is again expensive by Greek taverna standard.

And the food. Guacamole was from "side dish" section.

Tasted fresh and quite good. 3 Euro.

And another side dish, Nachos, 1.50 Euro.

The white stuff on top is cream cheese and the red is chopped tomatoes.

Here is tacos dorados from "Cooked to Order" or "Dishes or the Day" section.

Corn tortilla was filled with chicken and roasted (or in reverse order?). On top are salad, salsa and cream cheese. Crunchy tortilla had a nice flavour. 5.50 Euro.

Tacos Barbacoa is with soft tortilla instead. Sorry for the lousy photo.

Filling was pork roasted in banana leaf (not that I saw the banana leaf, but it was the description printed on the menu). Served with salad, cream cheese and rice. The meat had a delicate orange taste. 7 Euro.

This is Tamales de Etole from Mexican Specialities section of the menu.

Corn flour dough filled with chicken and cooked in corn leaves. We enjoyed corn flour flavour. 5 Euro.

Chili con Carne came quite liquid.

The quantity of meat was rather disappointing, but the soup had a very distinct chili flavour and all of us agreed this was the best dish of the day. We even ordered the second serving. 5 Euro.

As the portions were small, we added two burritos.

Here are burritos with meat. The brown sauce that looks like sauce is stewed beans.

This costs only 4.30 Euro. Very good value for money.

Here is vegetarian burrito.

I think the filling was the bean stew in the above photo and rice. Different from the meat burrito, this was either baked or fried.

At this point we were moderately satisfied and, seeing people waiting for tables, asked the bill. It was about 12-13 Euro per a head with everything together. Not dead-cheap, but well below you expect to pay in ethnic restaurants in Athens.

One thing that I noticed was that the smallness of the portion. It is all right, as the price is accordingly low. However, in my opinion, the Greeks prefer to see more food on each dish even paying for more money. Visual satisfaction is very important for them. That said, if you want to try different dishes, these Mexican mzedakia are good samplers.

Probably worth mentioning that all four of us liked the food. Definitely worth trying for the sake of food, if not for the environment.

Rincon Mexicano
Dimitrakopoulou 5, Koukaki, Athens, Greece
Δημητρακοπούλου 5 , Κουκάκι
Tel. 211 4063349


George said...

I visited this place a while ago... we were a group of 6-7 guys that like their food (if you know what I mean)... I think we ordered a round of almost everything and were still hungry by the end of it. The food was ok, we all liked it, but instead of having another round, we left, walked to Colibri, and had a round of burgers (not something I'm proud of). At the time, I figured it was just boys being boys, but it's very interesting that you noticed the small portion. I think you're spot on in saying that Greeks prefer to see more food on a plate even if it costs more and the visual satisfaction of it!

mesogeia said...

Hi George,
It is a hilarious episode! Certainly we could not eat burgers after the meal, although we did not get the feeling of "skasame".
The Greeks like to order more food than they can eat. When I came to Greece some years ago, I was surprised by the amount of food the Greeks used to leave on the table. Now that the things are difficult, certainly they do less so, and when they do, they pack up the left-over food. In any case, the over-abundance of food seems to me an important part of joy of eating for the Greeks.

kat said...

A few things come to mind when I read your review.
-- Sangria is not Mexican, it's Spanish.
-- Are you sure the white stuff on top was cream cheese? I think it's sour cream.
-- I've never seen chile con carne on any authentic Mexican menu, but OK. Btw, it's not supposed to be a soup.
-- How spicy was it? I find that most Mexican restaurants must dumb down the food and leave out jalapenos and any kind of chili pepper because Greeks won't eat anything if they're used. I find this ridiculous and a waste of money, which is why I make my own Mex food at home.
-- 5 euros for a tamale is very expensive.

Come to my house. I'll make you a tray of beef enchiladas, beans, rice, guacamole, salsa, burritos and nachos for 12 euros. All made from scratch, except the chips.

mesogeia said...

Hello Kat,
It has been a while. Happy New Year, fist of all.
Responding to some of your comments...
The white stuff on the food was described in menu as "cream". It tasted like cream cheese (sort of Philadelphia), but it could have been sour cream as you say.
The chili con carne looks soup in this photo, but there was quite a lot of solid part and it was not exactly a soup.
The only thing spicy (with chili) in this blog post was chili con carne. One of my dining companions commented about it to the waiter, who said we could have told him that we wanted the food spicy when we ordered. But I cannot imagine that they would make them really hot with jalapenos, but they could have put some more chili powder.
Regarding the price of tamale, I would like to remind you that a pita-souvlaki costs 5 to 7 Euro in some other countries outside Greece. Price is a relative thing.

I understand that there are people who think eating-out is waste of money. But I think eating-out is a totally different experience than cooking/eating delicious food at home. If you do not enjoy eating-out, you don't go, and if you do, you go. No one gets harmed.

By the way, if you know somewhere I can buy Central/South American grocery anywhere in Athens, please let me know. There was a shop in Piraeus, but it changed hands and they do not have it anymore.

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