Taqueria Playa Tropical
I’ve got to admit it. I’m slightly ashamed. Over the past twenty-five years I’ve trekked across a good chunk of Mexico attempting to discover it’s wide and varied cuisine. In all that time I’d barely cracked the surface. Back home, it turns out, there’s a spot just three blocks down the road that I’ve been sorely neglecting.
Taqueria Playa Tropical has been putting up Mexican fare in uptown New Westminster since 2011. Since their inception, they took over the space next door and doubled their size. When I heard they expanded, I knew full well that good eats were afoot. I dragged Uncle Ben from Chowtimes away from a busy day to join me in a mini-Mexican feast.
Right off the bat you’re served complimentary tortilla chips and squeezable salsa. There’s not too many restos that will toss you free anything.
Most would prefer salsa fresca or salsa crudo, but these ones hit the spot. The Salsa Roja con Chipotle has a mild, smoky punch. Really good. But the Salsa Verde beats it hands down. It starts off sweet and garlicky then the slow burn works itself in. Very, very addictive stuff.
Having had Ceviche on only a few occasions, I’ve not a lot to go on. This version is quite solid. Very fresh. The whitefish is firm. Avocado, cut fresh. A good whack of cilantro and it’s quite tangy from a load of lime. Nicely done.
Taqueria Playa Tropical puts up some mean tacos. Today’s highlight, really.
From left to right, Choriqueso, al Pastor, Carnitas and Pescado. Unfortunately, Ben & I had to divvy these up. Next time this will be all mine! My portion was the first two. Both top notch. The chorizo is prepared in-house. It’s how Mexican chorizo should be…loose, chile-laden ground pork, oozing with fat. A beautiful, moist taco topped with queso blanco and the freshest guacamole. The Pastor was also something to behold. The grilling these took imparted some serious flavor. When I go back, it will be primarily for the Pastor. Soooo goood!!
The Burritos were passable. Not bad. Just heavy on average. Ben got the Pastor Burrito with the outstanding crema artistry!
I went with the Carne Asada version. It was nicely presented but just a slight bit dry. The crema, guac and salsa verde fixed that in no time!
With only a minor complaint on an overall great meal, I plan to revisit Taqueria Playa Tropical many, many times. After many service issues raised among the reviews on Urbanspoon, TPT seems to have taken notice. Not the speediest of service but friendly and very helpful. Alongside what my neighborhood has to offer, these folk really stand out for their authenticity.