The best Mexican restaurant in Tallahassee, like a superhero, wears a disguise to conceal its identity. Unless you look very closely or are already in on the secret, I would not blame you for thinking that the Tiendita was just a convenience store, quietly minding its business on a busy stretch of North Monroe Street. To put it mildly, they do not go out of their way to advertise the fact that they offer sit-down dining!
But for those of you who are on the hunt for tasty, authentic Mexican food, this is actually a really good thing. Despite the delicious meals that are to be found inside, there is never a wait to get one of their few tables. Once you know this place exists, it is like getting the secret password to a hidden wonderland of awesome tacos hidden right under your nose.
After you walk past the shelves of consumer products and head for the back of the store, you’ll find a small little dining room with a window looking into the kitchen. The walls are painted bright colors and there are table-cloths to cover the folding plastic furniture. Sure, it’s not going to win any design awards from Fussy Dining Monthly, but honestly, who gives a shit? Grab a beer from the cooler, peruse the menu, and get ready to have some excellent food.
Personally, the tacos are my favorite. Served on warm, soft corn tortillas, topped with crisp little pieces of raw onion, fresh cilantro, your choice of salsa, and a squeeze of fresh lime, they always put a smile on my face. I like just about every filling I’ve gotten (although the one time I tried to be cool and get a brain taco, I will confess to regretting it). But the carne asada, the lengua, or the al pastor (which mingles juicy, spicy roasted pork with tart fresh pineapple) are all delightful.
They also do burritos, tortas, and a variety of other standard Mexican fare. If you go for a weekend lunch, you will find that they offer a few extra dishes, including fresh ceviche and savory menudo and pozole soups. Once you have filled up, grab your cash and head for the register (they do not accept cards), and be prepared to be dazzled again by how cheap such good food was. There is a good chance that, as you leave, you will feel a little bit like a superhero yourself.