We’re at Tampa Channelside and trying to decide what’s for lunch. Choice are Hablo Taco, one of the restaurants, or Hooters right next door. Gotta make a decision – either wings or tacos. Settled on tacos, mostly because of the nice trendy appearance from outside.
The inside of Hablo Taco is also clean and very ‘open’. We liked the cool looking bar area as you walked in with the bright green lights. The ceilings are high and the tables are scattered which didn’t really give an overall relaxing feel. But, we do think this is the perfect spot for a group or those that like to kick back and let loose with a few margaritas. We preferred to sit by the windows, which seemed a bit more comfortable to us and we took some time to look over the menu.
All the tacos consisted of a full meal and at this point, do we really need the side of black beans and/or rice option all the time? We think that Habla Taco is missing the ‘street taco’ trend by not offering any single tacos on their menu. There are your standard Mexican dishes here, with only a few twists that we found interesting.
Taco plates are served with either corn, flour or in ‘signature puffy shells’. Signature puffy shells are flour shells deep fried to ‘puff up’. Our server was over to take drink orders and while he was friendly, his service technique was a bit ‘clunky’.
Chips and salsa ($2.50). No free chips and salsa here, more than likely due to the ‘touristy’ location. The chips were freshly made and still warm with good amounts of salt. The salsa was a bland and when we asked for a hot version, we were told it would be another $2.50 charge. Uh, no thanks.
Fish Tacos ($10.00) – Two blackened mahi mahi tacos (flour), jicama slaw, mango salsa, cilantro and chipotle crema drizzle. These tacos are larger than ‘street tacos’ and for $10, they should be.
However, the amount of fish in each taco was a bit lighter than expected. While the fish was fresh and nicely seasoned, the sweetness of the mango salsa overpowered the whole taco. The black beans were ‘ok’ and I could have skipped this side dish.
Beef Barbocoa Taco ($10.00) – Two slow roasted beef brisket, kimchee onions, habanero salsa, shredded cabbage, cotija cheese and cilantro service in their puffy shells. The description on the menu had Jeff quite excited, but after his first bite, his look said it all. All that promise of spice and flavor fell way short.
The beef was dry and was a bit chewy and he really wasn’t that happy with these tacos. The puffy shells, while cool looking, just added more grease and calories to the meal. The side of kale and pepper was interesting and actually quite good.
Unfortunately, really didn’t enjoy our experience at Hablo Taco. While the restaurant is new, we feel that the menu is a bit stuck in neutral and should be a bit more trendy and current to match the restaurant décor. They have a great foundation here and we hope that they can tighten things up and make it a true ‘must visit’ restaurant. I guess next time we’ll go next door for wings.
Hablo Taco is located at Channelside Bay Plaza, 615 Channelside Dr #127, Tampa, FL 33602