Bar Bites: Mexican, Spanish, and beyond
The best for when tacos or tapas, margaritas, or more are the exact right flavor for the evening...
Location: Boston, MA
Eat: Walking into this brand-new coastal Mexican hotspot you’ll be transported instantly to a world of warm weather and low-stress decision-making, (AKA vacation mode) which is exactly how I like to feel when enjoying delicious food and standout cocktails. My husband and I recently went to this new downtown restaurant with another couple visiting from out of town. Since it would be a new adventure for everyone, I deemed it appropriate for a fun Saturday night out. Success!
Not only is the food awesome, the drinks entertaining and yummy, but the menu clearly states the gluten free options! Our server was well versed in my dietary restriction and I ordered without worry. We purposely chose only items marked “GF,” but I have a feeling additional menu items could be adapted as well. For example, we ordered the tuna ceviche special which was off-menu, but we cleared it with our server who said it could be safely made gluten free. Lucky for us because it was one of our favorites of the night!
Next time we go, and I can’t wait to go back, we will definitely order many of the same dishes such as the guacamole with house-made tortilla chips, crispy chicken wings, simple Jonah crab tostadas, and the Pasilla braised beef cheek. All delicious and all shared easily between me and Seth. Our guests ordered many dishes as well and we were super full, and happy, by the time the check came. They told us next time they visit Boston, we are going to go here again. Fine by me! Plus! The cocktails are wonderful - I recommend The Devil’s Sweat. :)
Grab your friends, or enjoy a fun date night in the lively bar area, for a delicious night of Mexican treats (served tapas style) that you’ll want again and again. They even have (gluten free) dessert! :)
Location: Allston, MA
Eat: The tacos reign supreme, and my personal favorite is the Carnitas, followed closely by the Chorizo and Dallas Spicy Beef. Margaritas made perfectly by the fun and kind staff, who are happy to adjust a cocktail recipe to your exact preference. For me, I usually order the Mexico City and sub in Mezcal. Smoky and served straight up. We've been coming here since it opened and it still our top spot for a fun evening, or lazy afternoon, filled with delicious tacos that will always make you wanting just one more. Note: all tacos are gluten free except for the Barbacoa and Crispy Fish.
Location: Brookline, MA
Eat: A reliably terrific spot for a fun Friday out (or even a weeknight!), this relatively new restaurant to Washington Square has it all - tacos, tequila, and a upbeat happy vibe. Fantastic tacos, I love the Mahi mahi, and other shareable items such as the yummy chicken tamale are a great way to begin the evening (or brunch!). And be sure to order the queso fundido (any variation) asking for warm corn tortillas instead of the chips to make your own table-side quesadillas! Drinks run the gamut from margaritas to beer and back again with a special tequila-tasting flight if the mood suits. Terrific bartenders that customize your drink upon request, we've inadvertently become regulars and always look forwarding to hanging out at the bar to have a spicy margarita and really delicious food. Note: reservations strongly recommended for groups and arrive early for bar seats. It really does fill up quickly!
Location: Brookline, MA
Eat: We love this spot for an easy and ultra-quick meal and the food is excellent and fresh. A variety of fish tacos, and my favorite grilled veggie, cover the menu as well as taco bowls and even a couple salads. The price point is awesome so this place can easily fit into a weekly taco night.
Location: Brookline and Boston, MA
Eat: For a terrific spot for a celebration, I recommend heading here for the large Tapas menu that spans all tastes and flavors on your mind. Large tables fill the happy room where everyone is enjoying wine, Spanish Tapas (I love the vast majority of the menu), and great conversation among friends and family. Plus! Their GF bread is house-made and amazing.
Location: Boston, MA
Eat: A feast for your eyes and stomach, this restaurant is a total joy. Beautiful food and drinks, and a knowledgeable staff regarding food allergies. We went for a special occasion and it did not disappoint, and I cannot wait to return. The paella was superb. Just remember, reservations cannot be made, so prepare for a wait if you'd like a prime meal time. Or, get there extra early, like we tend to do, and enjoy the atmosphere as it ramps up throughout the night.
Location: Cambridge and Burlington, MA
Eat: OK, it's slightly cheesy and very crowded, but I had to include this funky (and very affordable) spot as it's where my husband and I had our first date, over six years ago! Unlimited chips and salsa, plus some great, easy GF dishes, and those large margaritas makes this spot an easy option for a group or a last-minute dinner out. Also, if you're in Harvard Square, it's an awesome "easy afternoon" lunch option or even an entertaining date night (college crowds abound in Cambridge), but also very(!) family-friendly in the Burlington location.
Location: Brookline, MA and South End in Boston
Eat: A great, lively restaurant that has a wait for tables most nights and a small, but joyful bar area, I love coming to Orinoco for their fabulous, entirely gluten free arepas which are served with a variety of fillings - each one more flavorful and yummy than the last. My favorites are the Pelua and Pernil!
Venezuelan food served hot, fresh, and as authentic as I know (having never been to the country), I love dropping in for an early dinner before the bar is too packed, or making a reservation with my friends for a fun night filled with rounds of arepas, cocktails (get a mojito!), and some of their delicious featured dishes such as the Adobo-smoked Churrasco or the Pabellón Criollo. As usual, I tend to over-order and leave quite full, but the food is just too good! In fact, I think it's been a while since I visited - time for an arepa!
Note: all arepas are gluten free and much of the menu can be adapted to be gluten free (or is already, naturally). The staff is terrific and extremely accommodating for food allergies and restrictions. A welcome feature for such a fun spot!