Restaurants & Bars

Garcia's Taqueria--Seaside

e.d. | Jul 31, 200301:05 PM

I will admit up front that I am not objective about this place. Eight years ago when I lived in Seaside I first went to Garcia's and there was introduced to the joys of a real torta. It is also one of the first places I ever had a real soft taco. But I had not been back since 1997.

It was nice to see that it was still in the same place, beside the Latino Market on Broadway, which is just east of Mi Tierra Market at Broadway and Fremont. The owner/cook seemed like the same fellow I remembered from before, but it was nice to see that the place had been improved. It seemed cleaner and better lit. The menu has been expanded to include more seafood and even chicken dishes. I decided to have a carnitas torta (for old times sake) and try a chicken burrito to see how they are coping with pollo. Both were wonderful. The bun of the torta was as good as any I've ever had. The huge sandwich was piled up with succulent tender roast pork. The pork was topped with slices of avocado and a couple tomato slices. The bun had a smear of mayonaisse and numerous thin lengthwise-cut slices of pickled jalapeno. The interplay between the rich, moist, mild flavored meat and the spicy, pickled tang of the peppers was perfect. Yum. But I expected the torta to be very good. What was surprising was the excellence of the chicken burrito. First, it was gigantic, but unlike so many local burritos, it was filled with considerably more chicken than rice and beans. The chicken seemed roasted, not grilled or boiled, and huge chunks of it filled most of the large flour tortilla. This was no wimpy, tasteless bean and rice burrito with shredded chicken, but an actual chicken stuffed burrito. There were touches of tomato and onion in the filling as well. The burrito came with fiery deep red salsa that grabbed my taste buds and screamed hot.

There may be better taco/burrito/torta spots in the Monterey area, for all I know, though I cannot remember any other Mexican food on the peninsula that I liked as much. And since I'm visiting from Yuma, I rarely seek out Mexican away from home; nonetheless, I just had to try Garcia's and see if it was as good as my memory said it was. In my humble opinion, Garcia's is really worth checking out. There is no atmosphere, and I would suggest getting take-out, but there are parking places at the beach only a few blocks away, the restaurant is fast, and I had my food in less than 10 minutes after ordering.


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