I went to Bahia for lunch on Sunday at the strong recommendation of a friend. Walking into the restaurant I was amused to see that they had a large mexican candy/snacks counter set up in the front of the restaurant where diners could get some goodies to go (gotta get some of those lime/chile suckers next time I go). The restaurant seemed pretty authentic and the clientele was all hispanic with lots of large families enjoying a peaceful Sunday lunch.
We were quickly seated and given a large dish of fried tortillas and salsa. The salsa was pretty thick with some heat and a faint smokey taste. It went nicely with the freshly fried tortillas which we quickly gobbled through two baskets of during the course of our meal. While placing our drink orders I noticed they had aqua frescas, home made margatritas and your typical mexican beers, all for pretty cheap. It being a Sunday afternoon with errands to be done, stayed with water.
The menu itself was obviously slanted towards seafood but had an ample amount of your other mexican fare (burritos, tacos, menudo, etc). I made mental note to try our their breakfast one day since I have been feining for huevos rancheros and chiquilles. But today I ordered the ceviche mixto of shrimp, octopus and fish ($5.50) Others ordered the carnitas plate ($10) and a carne asada burrito ($4.50). The food came out shortly thereafter and I was a little disapointed in the size of my ceviche so I also ordered a carne asada taco ($2) to supplement. Although the ceviche was much smaller than I expected, all of the ingredients were very fresh and tasty. The little bits of serano chile added a nice contrast to the sour lime base. I really enjoyed the shrimp the most, since it was just barely cooked through with the lime juice, and was super moist unlike most ceviches that come with rubbery shrimp. Even the octopus was still moist and not the least bit rubbery. The asada taco was good and the meat had a slight char. It was classically garnished with a couple slivers of avocada, onion, smokey salsa and a slice of lime. Although the meat was a little oily, it didnt have much gristle and it made for a tastey accompanyment to the ceviche.
My friend's carnitas plate was huge, with large chunks of pork, tons of rice, pickled (vinegar?) veggies, beans and rice. Unfortunately, they only gave him three small tortillas for all this. I took a peice of the carnitas and thought it was kind of dry and salty, not something I would order. My other friends asada burrito was of substantial size and he had no complaints about the taste.
Service was very good. The sweet waitress checked in on us several times and got us refills of water/soda. Total with tax and tip was about $30.
What other places like Bahia are out there? I'm looking for authentic places but a little more formal than a taqueria. The presence of ceviche or seafood cocktails on the menu is a big plus as well as the necessity for basic mexican grub.