OPEN: “11:00 to late” daily
GOOD FOR KIDS: Yes
DATE NIGHT: Definitely
PRICES: $2.50 – $10 each item but you’ll want more than one if you get tacos.
PARKING: Limited parking in front of restaurant. More parking on the street.
ADDRESS: 1017 Oxmoor Road, Homewood. 205-875-8226. www.bartaco.com
Bartaco, a popular restaurant chain started in Nashville, has opened its first Birmingham-area location in the Edgewood neighborhood of Homewood. You’re probably thinking, “Isn’t there already a Taco Mama in Edgewood and isn’t it literally across the street?” You would be correct. But, I think you’ll find that Bartaco has a very different vibe and a few surprises on the menu.
When you enter the open-air restaurant, you feel suddenly transported to someplace beachy with all the white-washed wood and fun, expansive waiting area. It kind of makes you want to take off your shoes (but probably don’t). Play a game of ring toss until your table is ready or send your kids off to play so you can sit in peace.
The bar is huge and fully stocked – stop by before dinner to order a delicious margarita or caipirinha, or something more adventurous. Next time I go, I’m getting the Red Sonja, which mixes a few ingredients I’ve never heard of with lemon, ginger, and jalapeño. Their tequila list is crazy long so if you have a favorite, they probably carry it. If beer or wine are more your thing, you’re covered there, too. Nonalcoholic options include sodas, sweet tea, a variety of fun, fresh-squeezed juices, French press coffee, and mineral water.
Now for food. The menu is divided into “tacos” and “not tacos,” your first clue this isn’t your typical taco place. Try duck, fried oyster, tuna, chorizo, shrimp banh mi, or ribeye in your taco. Vegetarians can choose from portobello or cauliflower as a main ingredient. If you don’t want a corn tortilla, choose a lettuce or rice bowl instead. The “not taco” options include pork tamale, chopped salad, plantains, mahi mahi ceviche, and tuna poke. I had the last one and it was both beautiful with bright red and yellow pepper strips and delicious. Side options include chipotle slaw, black bean salad, fresh pineapple with lime, and grilled corn. My friend and I shared some guacamole, which was delicious and mildly spicy. It almost made up for the fact that Bartaco doesn’t have cheese dip (I know, I know. It was hard to hear that). We didn’t get dessert but when I return, I’ll have a hard time deciding between churros and the key lime pie in a jar. Maybe both?
If you’re looking for a laid-back lunch or dinner spot with delicious food and excellent service, Bartaco is a fantastic choice. They have a variety of seating arrangements, making it perfect for family meals, girls’ night out, a quiet lunch alone, or a romantic evening with your partner. Enjoy!