Mexico Lindo: An authentic favourite

Mexico Lindo's menuWhen we left Halifax in 2008, neither of us realised how much we would miss its vibrant culinary scene. Calgary and Fredericton both have some amazing restaurants, but there’s something special about the Halifax food scene. For a relatively small city, the breadth of ethnic choices and quality of the food in Halifax is astonishing.

There’s a high turnover (I still mourn the passing of the Ghanaian/Tanzanian restaurant), though, and I was delighted to find on our last trip that one of our favourites, Mexico Lindo, is still going strong.

Mexico Lindo is one of Halifax’s worst kept secrets. I remember it winning the “best kept secret” category in The Coast’s “Best of Food” poll for something like 5 years in a row. If memory serves, The Coast actually eliminated the category because Mexico Lindo – which after that many years obviously wasn’t a secret at all – kept winning.

We love Mexico Lindo so much because its delicious, vibrant, and authentic.

Owned and operated by a couple, this restaurant has the perfect recipe for success. The wife, Ana, is Mexican and an incredible chef, and she runs the kitchen. She keeps the flavours authentic. The husband is from Newfoundland and runs the front of the restaurant, and in true Newfoundland style he’s an approachable and chatty (but not too chatty) manager.

Interior shot of Mexico Lindo in Halifax

Not only is the food authentic, but the inside of Mexico Lindo’s instantly transports me to the Mayan Riviera with its vibrant walls and artwork. It’s a casual, diner-style atmosphere with a distinct Mexican twist.

I admit to a little trepidation as we stepped in this time.

Memory is often kinder than reality, especially when it’s been years since you’ve visited a restaurant. It was quieter than I’d ever seen it, but it was also two days before their annual winter shut-down (they go to Mexico every year to visit Ana’s family) and I suspect folks may have thought they were already closed.

I shouldn’t have worried, because every detail of the food was as good as I remembered. Homemade salsa and chips

Your meal always starts with homemade salsa—spicy, just the way we like it! —and nachos while you ponder what to order. I’m not actually sure if the nachos are handmade, but they’re really delicious.

The first time I went to this restaurant, a friend and I split the dinner for two so that we could get a chance to sample most of the food.

Warning: it’s a LOT of food. If you’re going to do this, sit at a table for four, you’re gonna need the space.

 

Tepa burrito with rice & refried beans

Tepa burrito with rice & refried beans

 

Being old hats at the Mexico Lindo experience by now, though, I ordered my favourite: the Tepa burrito. Stuffed with potato, spicy sausage, and spicy salsa, it comes with a token garnish of sour cream on top that does nothing to mitigate the burning.

It is delicious.

Gary and I both debated whether to order the meal with rice and refried beans. The meal is too much food for lunch, really, and we knew we’d be over-stuffed. After careful deliberation, we decided that we didn’t care – we had to have the beans. If we didn’t need to eat supper later because we were still full, so be it!

Tortillas with refried beans and rice

Tortillas with refried beans and rice

With his rice and refried beans, Gary opted for tacos on corn tortillas. A new choice, but he assured me that they were delicious.

Cantaloupe Agua Fresca (and salsa)

Cantaloupe Agua Fresca (and salsa)

To drink, we opted for Agua Fresca. This is basically fresh-pressed juice, and it’s a different kind each time we go. The watermelon is a special favourite of mine, but the cantaloupe was on offer this visit, and it was sweet and fresh. A good counterbalance to the spicy food.

Don't forget to stock up on hot sauce before you leave!

Don’t forget to stock up on hot sauce before you leave!

I’m happy living in the beautiful, small, safe, city of Fredericton, and I’m delighted that we live just a few hours away from Halifax. It’s having your cake and eating it too, which is ironic because I never have any room left for dessert when we eat at Mexico Lindo.

I’m not even sure if they offer it.

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