Kevin Godbee · Feb 20, 2018 · 3 min read
We recently published the 10 Best Mexican Restaurants in St. Pete, for which Casita did not appear.
Suddenly, the villagers were chasing us down with torches in hand, ready to hang us from the rafters.
We had been to Casita Taqueria on 4th Street North a few years ago in its current location. I thought it was pretty good, but Lori's experience was marred by an employee that didn't get it that Cilantro tastes like soap to her—even the slightest bit will ruin an entire dish, or in this case, a taco.
Another experience at 4th Street, even further back, when they were on the other side of the street where Trader Joe's now resides, was memorable for two reasons. 1. The tacos were quite good, and 2. when one of the guys that works there saw me taking pictures of my food and posting it, he exclaimed, "I love you man!"
For my visit on January 17, 2018, I decided to try the second location in the Grand Central District at 2663 Central Avenue. There's indoor and outdoor seating with picnic tables outside, and high tops and tables inside. It was nice cool weather in the 60s, so they had the large garage door opened letting the fresh air in. The atmosphere is fun and festive, and the staff really seems to be enjoying what they do. You order at the counter, and then take a seat and wait for them to bring your food to you.
Casita makes their own fresh corn tortillas in-house, as well as their own chips, salsa, and guacamole. The fresh homemade ingredients really do make a difference. They also have a daily soup made from scratch. There are sandwiches, bowls, and burritos, but the tacos are the star of the show here. The menu designates items that are spicy, so I narrowed down my selection from there.
The three spicy tacos that I had were the Barbacoa - Braised and shredded beef with pico de gallo, queso fresco, and cilantro. Chorizo - Spicy Mexican sausage, topped with onions, queso fresco, cream and cilantro. Camarones - Garlic sautéed shrimp topped with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, chipotle mayo, and cilantro.
There are also a couple of different house hot sauces if you want to kick it up a notch, which I did after tasting the food as it comes.
The Barbacoa was moist and juicy with the lovely exotic spices of cumin, garlic, cloves and chiles.
The fresh house made corn tortillas go beyond the utilitarian duty of holding the other ingredients, and add a nice flavor that balances out the spicy meat. It seems that many people, including my girlfriend, prefer flour tortillas as they have a more mild to neutral flavor, whereas corn tortillas can sometimes be a little too sharp and distracting from the rest of the food. Casita's corn tortillas are flavorful, but also mild enough where they harmonize with the other ingredients.
The Chorizo was piquant and savory with delectable flavors of pepper, bacon, pork, saltiness and a nice chewiness. The queso fresco on both tacos was mild and sweet, providing a nice counterpoint to the spicy meats.
The Camarones were also a good choice. The shrimp was moist, plump and perfectly cooked, tasting sweet, buttery, salty and spicy at the same time.
Overall, a great experience with excellent food, fun casual atmosphere, and extremely friendly staff.
I love soup, so next time I go back, I have to try the homemade soup of the day. Look at how delicious these soups look.
Above - Puréed black beans simmered in a poblano sofrito with a savory veggie stock, topped with green olive relish and cilantro.
Casita Taqueria should definitely be on any taco lovers short list. It's definitely a kid-friendly place with plenty of outdoor space, and a "Para Niños" (for kids) section ion the menu. There's a small taco, chicken fingers, and other items that come with applesauce and a kid's drink.
It's Taco Tuesday, so go today and tell them St. Pete Foodies sent you!
Casual Mexican restaurant featuring tacos with housemade tortillas & salsa, plus beer & sangria.