#RestaurantReview: Read this and don’t forget to dine at Besito Mexican, on your next US trip| The Urban Vibe Travels
Get ready to kiss Besito hello.
We dined at Besito Mexican recently on our trip to Tampa, South Florida. Besito without a doubt is a solid sophisticated spot for dates, serving inventive takes on Mexican classics in a dramatically decorated room. The interiors are seriously attractive, from a long gleaming wooden bar to a broad wall of hundreds of flameless flickering candles and a cheering outside seating area.
“When you walk into a Besito you are instantly overwhelmed by sort of the spirit of Mexico,” says owner John Tunney. “The smell of the chiles. The sound of the music. The vibe in the place. The textures. The materials. The authenticity. That when you walk in the door, you know it immediately, you’re in a Besito.”
The eatery serves tacos, enchiladas and seafood options; fresh guacamole prepared tableside; over 75 tequilas and updated versions of classic margaritas. And all of this takes places in what the brand calls a “rockin’ hacienda” environment.
For instance, the restaurant team will greet guests with a smile and “Buenos Dias” as they enter the Old Mexico-style restaurant lit by flickering candles. Menu favorites include the Panquesito de Jaiba, a special take on the crab cake, which is served with a smoky, roasted-tomato chipotle cream sauce and topped with roasted corn, as well as the Pescado con Pipian y Atole, which is pan-seared mahi mahi with a blue corn and crab crust atop crunchy squash and peppers.
Locations around USA
The original Besito, meaning little kisses, opened in 2006, and was founded by John Tunney. Since then, he has opened six locations, including New York, Connecticut, Philadelphia and Massachusetts.
Besito is known for its farm to table concept. They really take this model seriously as all their ingredients are freshly sourced from Mexico- everything is made in house including their chips and sauces and they don’t have refrigerators to store anything that is cooked extra. Which means no wastage of food too!
With its ingredients imported from Mexico, handmade artifacts from Oaxaca and a wall adorned with 150 candles, Besito Mexican in WestShore Plaza is a monument to the love and respect for ancestry and heritage. Oh we loved our first visit, it was perfect!Known for its tableside guacamole which is made right in front of you, which can be made as spicy or mild as the guest would like, this Mexican restaurant takes on a more white-cloth dining concept. They also provide healthier options, such as substituting jicama sticks for tortilla chips.
Start with chips, salsa, and fresh made guacamole, move on to some tacos or a cheese smothered steak, finish with fresh fried churros, and don’t forget the margaritas. When great Mexican is what you crave, you need to go to Besito.
Introduction is a basket of warm, thin, house-fried chips and a chunky pureed salsa with a medium kick, best paired with something from the extensive tequila list (you can put together your own flight of blancos, reposados or anejos, the comparisons yielding glorious nuances — this one peppery-spicy, that one melony and floral). The house guac ($9.95) in the traditional footed molcajete (mortar and pestle) is a nice foil for the salsa, but on two visits it was super heavy on onion, which takes away from the velvety plushness of the avocados.
Among the starters are a number of successful options, several of them laudably vegetarian: Tiny empanadas stuffed with goat cheese and mushrooms ($7.95) came with a bright, tangy green salsa, that same salsa showing up as a stylish accompaniment to a squash blossom quesadilla ($8.95) with just a touch of roasted green chile heat and more mushrooms. Presentations are a step up from most Mexican restaurants in these parts, with adorable little covered baskets of warm corn tortillas and communal bowls of black beans and rice for the table. Five iron skillet options : one of our top most recommendation here, really the house interpretation of sizzling fajitas, bring nice combos, from a mixed grill ($20.95) to straight-up skirt steak ($18.95) with a savory, cuminy oomph. But in general, dishes aren’t off-the-hook spicy, often accompanied by one of seven or eight different house salsas, queso fresco and a flurry of herbs. Not every dish we had was scintillating, but the kitchen exhibits a clear effort to send out every plate with juxtapositions of colors and textures. They have the best hot sauce ever, in case you like to add a little bit more spice to your meal just go for it. It’s worth it!
And at meal’s end? Yes, there are flan and tres leches and competent spins on classics, but each table gets a complimentary bag of sugar-speckled warm churros to take home, along with tiny worry dolls to tuck under your pillow to let you sleep in peace.
Address: 205 WestShore Plaza, Tampa
Phone : (813) 287-4800;
Website : besitomexican.com
Hours: 4 to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, until 9 p.m. Sunday; lunch starts May 11
Details: AmEx, V, MC, Disc.; reservations accepted; full bar
Prices: Appetizers $7.99-$10.95; entrees $17.95-$24.95
Rating, out of four stars:
Food: ★★★ Service: ★★
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