According to their website, Bartaco is inspired by the beach culture of Brazil, Uruguay and Southern California. They create upscale street food with a coastal vibe in a relaxed environment and prepare freshly-squeezed juices, specialty cocktails and beer out of a bottle. Bartaco evokes a visit to a stylish beach resort and creates an unforgettable experience. Can you just picture it? Sitting in low patio chairs on the deck overlooking the sea. It really is an experience. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we are not able to pull up a spot at our favorite table right now, so we order take-out to enjoy at home.
I did try to write this review last month. However, circumstances were not in our favor and although we did end up getting to eat our food, it was not in the way we expected. I'll make the story quick because, well, you're here for the food not my bad luck. Ok, so we ordered Bartaco, drove all the way there, picked up our food and drove home. Nothing crazy right, well, when we got home and tried to open our front door we found a key pad with a dead battery. Why would we ever think to carry a key for a door that uses a code? This, this is why you carry a key for a door with a code because batteries die. We decided that our food was just sitting in the car getting cold, so we went to my father-in-laws work shop to eat because it was around the corner. We set up a folding table and laid out the food, and ended up eating with our fingers because not a single piece of plastic ware was to be found. After cleaning up, calling a locksmith and heading home, we were finally able to get inside our house at 10:45pm. Guess who carries a spare key now?
On to the food! Now remember, this is takeout in the time of COVID, so do not judge the packaging or paper plates. Let's concentrate on the food. We ordered one of their taco packs. Each taco pack comes with your choice of two of their signature tacos which makes 16 tacos total. As well as, salsa verde and chips, additional taco fillings and your choice of three sides. Now, Bartaco is a small chain, so check their website to make sure if your local Bartaco has the same nutrition information, but at ours, every single taco option is GLUTEN-FREE. Can you stand it? They also have a dedicated fryer for their chips, so go ahead and enjoy all the guac and salsa you wish. We always get our favorite two tacos, the pork belly and baja fish. For sides, well we have tried almost all of them, the best so far have been the chipotle slaw, street corn and fresh pineapple.
When we did get to enjoy our tacos with utensils, it was so much fun to build our own. I like mine with a lot of heat and the hubs likes his with tons of vinegary red onions. So the "make your own" option really works for us. We always have leftovers and end our meals stuffed and happy. The pork belly is #1! Hands down, the pork belly is a must get. It is sweet, savory, sticky and oh so good. Top that with pickled red onions, cilantro and salsa verde and you got yourself a masterpiece. The fish tacos, are just as yummy and come in at a slim #2. The fish is always moist and the outside tempura coating, crispy and crunchy. I like to build them with a little of the chipotle slaw, salsa verde, cilantro and a dollop of guac.
As far as dessert goes, none of the house made items are gluten-free. BUT, our local Bartaco offers gelato from a local creamery and the mint chip calls my name every time. John really likes the key lime pie and our son loves the churros. Let's not forget about the beverages, or beverage, because the margarita is the one and only drink you need. Sweet and sour with a rim of salt, their signature marg is my go-to and is not to be missed.
Although, it is NOT the cheapest place to eat around, it is worth the price tag. The quality is what you're paying for and it delivers, even for takeout. We are looking forward for the day we can enjoy a taco on the patio, but for now our takeout tacos will hold us over and I highly recommend you give it a try. Visit their website for a listing of locations to see if there is a Bartaco near you.
Colleen is an ISSA Certified Nutrition Coach, Culinary Institute of America Graduate and Your Gluten-Free Celiac Sidekick.
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