A brawny luchador, made mysterious by his red mask, eagerly waits at the host station for his next rival. Colorful Lucha Libre masks from previous luchadors watch over him like trophies on shelves as a reminder of generations’ worth of wrestling rounds.
A handful of restaurants across the nation share the name “Taco Libre,” but only one graces Beach Boulevard as a locally owned Mexican food joint that lives up to its free-spirited name. Colorful masks and silver star-shaped lights give this joint an easygoing atmosphere.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the salsa was just as strong as the luchador on the wall. If spice isn’t your thing, save the salsa for when you get sick. The chips and queso were as simple as every other restaurant, the only difference being the queso is served in a bowl that won’t require you to order more.
Most menu items at Taco Libre are reasonably priced — tacos are $3 with entrees priced between $7 and $14 — especially considering the large serving sizes. I skipped the tacos and went for bigger options.
Enchilada suizas are a simple entree featuring grilled chicken wrapped in a soft tortilla beneath melted mozzarella cheese and green tomato sauce. Green tomato sauce is not simply salsa that was dyed green in the way the food industry previously dyed ketchup different colors. The sauce is made from green tomatoes and has a slightly sweet taste to it.
The fajita burrito is basically an order of fajitas that decided they needed to change up the party venue. With grilled shrimp, seasoned chicken, chopped steak, mixed vegetables and salad — the guacamole, sour cream and lettuce that typically comes on the side — there’s no room for a side of rice and beans. Because this dish is as big as Einstein’s coffee mugs, you may want to consider skipping the chips and queso.
Taco Libre on the corner of Beach Boulevard and San Pablo Road is full of fun decor and flavors that are sure to make you reconsider your favorite Mexican food joint.
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