Mexicanfood is up there in my top favorites, so when the people at The Lime in Tampa (@limebartampa on Twitter) wanted to get some local bloggers to come in and try their restaurant, no arm twisting was needed.
There are SO many awesome places to get Mexican food in the Bay area, and believe me, I’ve had the best and the worst, but upon looking up the menu online, I knew that The Lime wasn’t just your standard taco dive.
Their tagline is Fun, Modern, Mexican.
Agreed. Agreed. Agreed.
The atmosphere is definitely fun. When I first walked in, my eyes immediately centered on the bar straight ahead. It was bright, and packed with people watching the game (Go Rays!), drinking these obscene looking Margarita/Corona thingys (I’ll get to that in a second), and chatting it up. It’s definitely a great place to go on a first date, or with a group of friends before a big night out.
We got there around 7:15 and only waited 5 minutes or so to be seated. The hostess staff was super welcoming and offered to get us something to drink while we waited.
Of course I was still eyeing that beer/margarita monstrosity, but I politely declined as I wanted to READ about what it was before diving into something that intimidating. (Margarona. Noun. A margarita with a bottle of Corona hanging out right inside.) Whoa baby.
We sat down adjacent to the party room, which looked awesome by the way, and started to break down the menu. Our server gave us the ins and outs of what was what, and showed us a great specials list (which, he informed us, changes every few weeks or so).
When they said “Modern Mexican”, they weren’t kidding! Being a foodie, I love trying out new spins on old favorites, so I was pretty much fixated on the Lime Street Tacos section and the awesome flavor combinations described in each one.
Prices weren’t bad at anywhere from $3-$4 per taco, but for $11, you get to pick three tacos from the selection plus a side. That sounded like a great deal to me, and a perfect opportunity to get my lips around some variety, as there was just SO much to choose from!
I ended up ordering the Tuna Caliente (seared spicy tuna, julienne cucumber, avocado, scallions,
nappa cabbage, grilled pineapple & spicy aioli), the Piccadillo (seasoned ground beef, rice, refried beans, cilantro, jalapeño & salsa fresca) and the Ancho Chicken (grilled chicken breast, avocado, pickled red onions, cilantro, queso fresco & chile de arbol) with a side of beans and rice. Mr. KKM ordered the same thing, but he chose 2 of the Piccadillo tacos and one Taco Americano (grilled chicken breast, lettuce, tomato, onions, cheddar cheese, sour cream & guacamole) with a side of fries and queso blanco. We also ordered bottomless chips and salsa (we love figuring out who in Tampa has the best of the best), and I broke down and ordered the
Margarona a mango margarita on the rocks. Maybe next time, Lime, maybe next time. 😉
Within minutes we were munching on some amazingly thick and salsa worthy chips. I loved the spicy seasoning on them, and the salsa was just how we like it- a little heat, thick, not too chunky, and totally unspillable (nothing’s worse than drippy salsa!). My margarita also made it’s way onto the table. Our waiter had me sold at “our own lime juice base” and let me tell you, that freshness came through. The drink wasn’t too tart, nor was it too sweet. The mango was just that- a mango puree! No artificial flavoring here. This ‘rita was the real deal. Absolutely scrumptious. If it wasn’t for the fact we were headed to the casino afterwards, and that I didn’t want to be completely unaware of my spending, I would have had another. 😉
As we waited for our dinners to arrive, we gabbed, took some pictures and people watched. It seems as though many of the people here are SOHO locals- just walking in from the street. The place is really casual, but there were some diners there that you could tell were fueling up for a big night on the town. That’s the thing about The Lime- no matter what you’re up to on a Saturday night, this is a great stop for reasonably priced food that you’re not going to wait 2 hours for, so your night can get started that much faster.
Once our tacos made our way to the table, I immediately whipped out my camera to snag a shot. The presentation was smart and simple- a three sectioned plate with each taco placed open-faced in their own little nook, and they smelled amazing!
I took a bite of the beans and rice first. Both were good, but not the star of the show.
I decided to tackle the Piccadillo taco first. The meat was flavorful, juicy and tasted just like my Abuelita’s Piccadillo. Very, very good. I loved the contrast of the salty meat with the salsa fresca. Delish! I finished the whole thing. The second taco I dug into was the Tuna Caliente. When I go back, and there will be more trips to The Lime in my future, I will be getting the trio once again with three Tuna Caliente tacos. Good lawd, they were mouth watering. The just-seared tuna mixed with the pineapple and aioli was just amazing. Hands down the best taco I’ve ever had. It was so good that I didn’t want to eat the third taco and lose that delicious flavor that was dancing around in my mouth. But I did. I mean, I didn’t want to leave poor little Ancho Chicken out of the party. The third taco was good, but unfortunately, the bar had been set, and there would be no changing my mind at that point. Tuna Caliente hit the jackpot. Mr. KKM seemed to enjoy his meal too- especially his fries. They were seasoned and tossed with a chipotle spice mix and came with warm queso blanco for dipping. The Lime takes cheese fries to a whole new level of yum.
We were both too stuffed to add on a dessert, so we called it quits. We’ll have to go back, though, for the Banana Churritos. Drool.
Overall, our dining experience was laid back, enjoyable and satisfying (ahh, Tuna Caliente, I will dream of you). We learned all about $2 Taco Tuesdays and Brunch before we walked out. Hmm, Taco Tuesdays? Sign up me! We’ll definitely be back to check out that, and will probably bring a friend or two to introduce them to all that is Lime.
Have you tried The Lime in SOHO? What was your favorite thing on the menu?
*I was compensated in the form of a complimentary night out for sharing my opinions of The Lime by the owners of the establishment. I received no monetary compensation. The views expressed are solely my own.