My goal in life is to find the best salsa outside my dad’s kitchen. There was a Mexican restaurant in Davis, CA where I went to college and I was there no less than 3 times a week. The food and the salsa were to die for and after graduating my husband had a friend drive some down for me for my birthday! It was probably the best I’ve ever tasted but unfortunately the restaurant has since closed down and I’m still on the hunt! I found more great salsa just this side of the border…well the border of California and Nevada that is, just right off Lake Tahoe Boulevard in Heavenly Village called Azul Latin Kitchen.
We offer a “lighter, fresher and healthier” take on Mexican and South and Central American cuisine. We are committed to using local, organic, and sustainable products whenever possible to provide the highest quality foods to our customers. Don’t forget about our drinks, which consist of a variety of tequila and non-tequila options, and are made with fresh-squeezed juices instead of mixtures.
When we heard it was the sister restaurant to Base Camp Pizza Co., we knew Azul Latin Kitchen was going to be good! Walking up, we noticed they have space for outdoor dining, there was a musician outside and a few firepits to warm you on those chilly mountain nights. Inside you get a great feeling, great aromas from the kitchen, and the bar area was lively and fun! Dining and drink specials are in colored chalk on the columns and you’ll find great food, farm, and cultural artwork around the restaurant. After being seated we were served chips and a red salsa. Oh I couldn’t wait to taste that salsa and to my glee, it was so good. Fresh and bright with a citrusy tang, I couldn’t stop once I dipped my first chip! The chips are not free like you’ll see in many Latin restaurants, but they are worth trying and they also offer a green salsa and a jicama-pineapple! The vibe was great in the restaurant, super great music playing but not too loud you’re yelling at eachother from across the table. Unique side dishes like cucumber salad and cinnamon cranberry quinoa will have you curious, I opted to share one of my favorites, a beet salad! Not too many people I know enjoy beets, I have and always will. Dill, mint, red onions, spicy pepitas, (minus queso fresco for me) blended with golden beets was such a refreshing bite before my main course. So for the main meal you have a choice of tacos, enchiladas, stir-fry, flautas, soup, quesadillas, burritos, basically what you find traditionally. My husband and I wanted tacos and there were so many great choices! For about$12-13 you can get a plate of 3 mix or match. Here are mine, I have to list them like the menu so you get the gist of what’s in them, they’re chock-full of great ingredients!
Pork Belly: Ancho Pork Belly, Shredded Cabbage, Black Beans, Pickled Mango, Cucumber Jicama Pico, Salsa Verde
Crispy Fish Taco: Panko Battered Pacific Cod, Pickled Red Onions, Shredded Cabbage, Cilantro-Pineapple Pesto, Cucumber-Jicama Pico, Fresno Chili Tartar Sauce.
Thai Curry Taco: Malaysian-Thai Curry Roasted Chicken, Candied Jalapeños, Pickled Mango, Chopped Cilantro.
My husband’s plate:
Street Taco: Roasted Verde Chicken with Cabbage, Cumin Crema, Jack and Cheddar Cheeses, House Red Salsa.
Crispy Calamari Taco: Crispy Calamari, Pickled Red Onions, Shredded Cabbage, Cilantro-Pineapple Pesto, Fresno Chili Tartar Sauce.
Phew, did you take that all in? Okay so our tacos were like a flavor explosion in our mouths! My pork belly taco was very good, I LOVE pickled mango I’m finding and I loved the added black beans, but the pork was chewier than I liked. The fish taco was my favorite, the cilantro-pineapple pesto and the Fresno chili sauce were something I could pour on any food and love! As mentioned, this is the sister restaurant to Base Camp Pizza Co., and there we love the Thai curry pizza, so I wanted to see if the taco with the same flavor matched up. Oh my word, I want a jar of candied jalepenos please! With chicken and more of that juicy mango, yep another hit!
My husband loved my fish taco and also the roasted verde street taco. The calamari taco he mentioned was a bit much, like too much flavor, too many combinations of tastes, too much! The calamari was cooked well and the cabbage is one of his favorites, but his palate was on overdrive.
What we found was that tasting 5 tacos in one sitting can be a touch overwhelming, but was necessary for us to find our favorite. Next visit the chips and salsa are a must and we’ll choose a few tacos of one flavor. I’m a huge chorizo fan, so I’d love to try the empenadas and even their veggie chili sopa sounds delicious on a cold day! With a full bar and amazing drink options, we stuck to a local beer on our first visit. The restaurant is family-friendly with a kid’s menu and also offers desserts like churros and tres leches cake and it’s definitely a place we’ll visit again!
Our visit was hosted, gratuity and opinions 100% ours.