A neighborhood favorite for authentic Mexican / Yucatan cuisine on the Drive.
We visited Tio Pepe's (we aim to try all the restaurants on Commercial Drive) on a late Friday night. We were hungry and were walking by. Never knew this restaurant existed. Two of us ordered the tamale and another ordered the chicken enchilada. I thought my tamale was a little bit salty, while my friend who ordered the same thing, thought it was bland. So I really think it depends on what your taste buds are into. We all enjoyed our meals and really enjoyed the sangria! The service was top-notch. They were closing after we arrived. We didn't know this, and spent almost 1 1/2 hours there. They never complained once, and we would have never known that they were closed if he hadn't told us so. Still, he told us to take our time and not to rush, since he had to stay and do prep-work for the next day anyway. What service! And the decor of this little restaurant is such and experience! Traditional Mexican art and hand crafts donned the entire place.
Try to visit here if you can. It's tiny, but the ambience is fabulous. The food was good and the prices fairly reasonable....I really liked the chicken lime soup with corn tortillas, but avoid if you are watching your sodium intake....ENJOY!!
The brothers that run this restaurant make do with what they have -- it's a little cramped, but the complimentary homemade salsa and warm tortilla chips make you forget that. Service is always friendly and prompt, and they let you take your time. Be sure to try out the Flautas!
The sangrias... mmmmmm... the sangrias! The tamales, the... ok, look you just have to go. Try to go on a week night though so I don't have to wait for a table, I usually go on weekends with "the girls". The food is awesome the prices fair and the people are nice too. You might want to take home some of their in house made salsa.
This little restaurant is hard to spot among all the others crowding along Commercial, but it is a good find. The decor is bright and welcoming and the servers are friendly and attentive - your water glass is never less than 1/2 full. The menu offers the usual favourites - tacos, burritos and taco salads, but also offers some intriguing dishes you won't usually see such cactus pads, fried plantains, and another dish involving cornmeal stuffed with chicken and steamed in banana leaves. Unfortunately, some of these dishes can take 30+ minutes to prepare so I opted for the lamb skewers instead. Portions are generous. The lamb was not as great as Greek roasted lamb, but it did come with a zesty red wine sauce and a hearty helping of refried beans and salad. Also, you get a complementary starter dish of tortillas with a great salsa; for those used to 'chunky' salsas, I've been told that authentic salsa is more like a tomato paste with sauces and if so, then this salsa is most authentic. Overall, a cute inviting restaurant with tasty food.
my wife and i stop by this little place, the person in the restaurants was friendly and kind,
he told me they have the special two for one! it was Burritos, they were very good, my wife tried the chicken and i have the vegetarian,I really like it, not only cause the price but cause the food was fantastic, this is my fisrt time been in this little place, my beautiful wife was telling me about it for a long time?
I really i had a great time at this place, for sure I will come back soon!
I normally don't tell the owner how bad their food is.
In this case I had to tell the waitress how disappointed we were.
I felt so sorry for the owner when he came to ask why we were not happy. We had already made our decision to never eat there again so it was actually an act of kindness to explain to him that his food was wretched. Perhaps it is not too late for him to turn it around.
On a chilly friday evening at 6:00 we entered. It was freezing in there. With no customers, (because of the poor food) I guess he can't afford to turn the heat on. The Asian waitress was charming and sweet but her English was so poor that as I was explaining how bad the food was she just kept smiling and saying thank you.
Our first clue should have been the slurpy straw she served with the coke (refills .75 ). A slurpy straw ? We laughed and decided they probably had just run out of their normal ones.
Before I go any further let me praise their tortilla chips. We finished the basket. Unfortunately we were not offered more while we waited for the food.
When we looked at the menu we were a little surprised at the prices considering the decor.
Angie had the beef taco. I had the carne asada. Both meals were almost $15. We left most of it on our plates.
The carne asada was advertised as a rib steak. Hah ! When I spoke with the owner as we left he told me it was Triple A Sirloin and he had the bills to prove it. Well, thanks sir but a cheap sirloin tip is not a rib steak and it was dry as a bone and tough like the sole of a shoe.
The beef taco was atrocious. One ice cream scoop of cheap unidentifiable meat with the consistency of catfood, swimming in a watery mess on top of two limp tortillas was inedible. And Angie never did find the guacamole. Both our plates were graced with lots of Romaine lettuce proudly crowned with one teaspoon each of cheap shredded cheese and one tomatoe slice. We suspect the refritos were microwaved along with the rice. We were the first customers of the evening so there was no excuse for that.
Total cost to the owner we later estimated to be two dollars a plate.
My meat, perhaps $1.25 worth.
Romaine lettuce, add 20 cents.
Teaspoon of cheese, 20 cents.
Slice of tomato, 10 cents.
Rice, 10 cents.
The beans, 10 cents.
Half a basket of tortilla chips, 5 cents. .. total $2.00 value for $14.95
I could get with that if it was lovingly prepared but sadly it wasn't.
It is so sad when a restaurant descends into this downward spiral. If there is not enough money to pay the lease; skimp on the hydro. Customers disappear. Now there is no money for the hydro so skimp on the food costs. More customers disappear. And so it goes and the owners get depressed at having no customers and stop caring. I don't think they will be in business much longer so go there while you still can.
I had to apologize to my wife for having suggested dining at Tio Pepe’s. One more disappointment in the Mexican category of the Vancouver restaurant scene. The food was mediocre at best, the lime margaritas had not seen a lime anywhere along the way (looked and tasted like made with commercial chemical mix, a kind of automotive antifreeze looking goo) and the service lacked much Mexican hospitality. I kept hoping that at any time during our dining event there would be a redeeming quality that would surprise us, such as perhaps this place would serve the best flan in town, but unfortunately that did not happen. I’m sorry, we don’t have deserts, the teenage spaced out waitress giggled.
I’m sorry Tio, we’re not coming back to your joint...
My family moved to Commercial drive area during summer and we try to eat and shop in our area. Help the local business. My husband loves Mexican food and always wanted to try this place. I was so disappointed that the food, service was so poor. We got seated right away but after that we waited for 30 minutes till our food and our waitress never said anything to us about why the food was late. They were too busy in the back to notice people coming in, more water and etc.... Our dinner was so salty that we couldn't eat and ended drinking so much water. I think the chef has a taste issue or maybe the waitress made the dinner due to chef was not working... Anyways, we would never go back and tell our friends as well. I felt that this place needs some work in the kitchen and front. Fish always stinks from the head!!
I've given these folks a couple chances over the years. The food has never been very good. In fact it's down right pitiful. I've never been to Mexico, but I'd be unimpressed even at an all-you-can eat buffet if this kind of food was served.
I don't know why they have won awards and been open for so long. I guess, again, people are just so used to crappy food on Commercial. Even the Margaritas were below average.
Both my girlfriend and myself felt unwell quite soon after our visit. We both had upset stomachs.
Please dine elsewhere.
count me among those who loves mexican food and has been to mexico enough times that i constantly scratch head at why nobody in vancouver can get it right on a consistent basis. i've had food cooked in powerless huts on the beach that would put anything in this town to shame.
so with that, last night is the fourth and last time my partner and i will ever eat from Tio Pepe's. Now affectionately known as "Tio Poopy's".
i'm not here to put down others opinions here, but how on earth so many people are impressed with a basket of over salted prefab chips and salsa made from canned tomatoes, onion and salt to start their meal is beyond me. next up comes the worst excuse for sopa de lima ever made. watery, limey, tomatoey juice filled with a sh*t mix of poorly cut, inappropriate veggies. what on earth is broccoli, cauliflower, carrot and celery doing in that soup??? broccoli with lime is about as gross as it gets. no tortillas, no chilis, no queso. instead something that looks like the remains of the drain trap after doing the dishes. follow that up with an entree that tastes like everything else on the menu. low grade greasy tough meat, bathed in salty, unspiced canned tomato sauce with a side of wet lettuce, canned beans and undercooked cold rice.
seriously shameful, and obvious that they've got it down to a system that wastes nothing and ensures that every meal is made up of the same 4 things. so in keeping with the rest of the bad food on Commercial, Tio's is straight up crap :)
Were my expectations too high? I don’t think so. I heard that Tio Pepe’s was at one time rated one of Vancouver’s best locations for Mexican cuisine. In a nut shell I was really disappointed with Tio Pepe’s. To me Mexican food is fresh, flavourful, colourful food. I was less than thrilled with the salsa which basically tasted like SALT with some pureed canned tomatoes thrown in there. My main course was very dry and bland. The rice and beans both tasted like they had been sitting around uncovered for hours, the salad was just dry ol’ lettuce with a carrot string thrown in there and the burrito was indistinguishable; just a tortilla filled with the same dry, lacklustre refried beans and rice. The service was just as bland as the food. The man serving us didn’t even crack a smile and the water was room temperature. I love little diners and am all for supporting any independent, small scale operations in this city but honestly, considering the forty dollars me and my cohort spent on a lousy, dinky little appetizer and two lower than average meals I probably would have been more satiated hitting up red burrito or even taco time for half the price. No Joke!
Being that commercial drive has so many good places to get a bite, i will not return to Tio Pepe's. One reason i go out to eat is to experience something i can't create at home. In short, we would've rather ate at home. The food was bland and it didn't represent what Mexican food should be. Colorful, zesty, and tasty. It was none of those. I hate to be critical and i love supporting the smaller restaurants but they have to step it up. We had calamari to start which was not very good. The same you would get at all you can eat sushi. The salsa was too salty. The water was warm. The burrito plate, the rice was dry , the beans were dry and bland. Salad looked like it was thrown on the plate as a filler. Mexican food should be fresh and tasty. This wasn't. There was no sign of cilantro anywhere. Bad sign. Save you money and go to the red burrito.
Tio Pepe's is one of my favorite restaurants to frequent on the Drive. The servers are friendly and helpful, the drinks are tasty and refreshing, and the food is delicious and filling. The salsa that comes before every meal is addictive...mmmm fresh cilantro! The place is pretty tiny, so sometimes you are bumping elbows with your neighbours, but the decor is fun and bright.
I went to Tio Pepe's for a friend's birthday and had a nice time. Despite the "Tio Salty's" review below, nothing had our tongues shriveling up in dismay. The complimentary tortilla chips and salsa were very nice; the chips were light and crunchy, while the salsa warmed us up slowly but surely. I really liked that it was made in the restaurant and that you could taste the cilantro.
My sister had been there before and enjoyed the carne asada once again, while I tried the conchinita pibil (I asked for the tamale, but they were out. Gah!) and my boyfriend had the red mole chicken. All of our plates were huge. The portions are quite generous and I have to say that nobody was disappointed.
The servers were very friendly and attentive, making sure that we were taken care of. I have to give them credit because I'm a compulsive water drinker. Everybody said that the sangria was fantastic and a little strong. No complaints there! One of my friends ordered a quesadilla and was mistakenly given something else, but they took care of it right away. Oops!
I would definitely go there again. The decor is cute, the food is good, the service is better than a lot of places I've been to. Give it a shot!
We've come to Tio Pepe's a few times. It's been great every time. They start you out with corn chips and the best home-made salsa. Recently I had their fajitas and burritos which were very yummy. The platters are big enough, that most people won't finishe it all. We will be back soon!
I have tried so many restaurants and so far there are few that I have been disappointed. Tio PePe is one this restaurant as I was expecting the closest mexican cuisine the I could get but I wasn't impress. I just hope that the chef realize his mistakes in the back end as well as the front end or this restaurant won't be there for too long.
Good Luck Sir.....
This was a restaurant with what appeared to be authentic mexican cuisine - different than most - surprisingly though the food was not at all hot in the spicy sense but that was probably more in keeping with real Mexican dishes. The food, we all agreed, was excellent. The environment was cosy and comfortable but we would recommend going early to avoid getting a seat by the drafty door in the winter season.
I had been here years ago and enjoyed it, and decided to take my wife for some 'authentic Mexican...'. What a mistake. First off, we are both industry professionals with experience in dozens of restaurants between us, so we are aware of decent standards. Having said that, neither of us is particularly picky at all; in fact we are quite forgiving and enjoy well-made, simple food. Now to the meal... my wife's "Margarita" was disgusting; cheap bar lime and Margarita Mix thrown in a blender. I'm a mixologist, and this was just an insult, especially in a Mexican restaurant. The kind of drink you'd expect at a crappy sports bar, maybe. The Nopales salad was OK, but the Uno Combination plate was totally awful. I don't want to know what he's serving as 'Puerco', but it literally tasted and smelled rotten and was as tough as chewing a dishrag. My wife and I each had two small bites and it ruined our appetites. It was just freakin' DISGUSTING. The Chorizo had a nasty texture and was unpleasant tasting as well. Nice plantain side, but how hard is that? I'll give him credit for taking the dish off our bill, but holy god, it was seriously the worst meal I have ever been served anywhere, and I've eaten in some really sketchy places in a lot of developing countries. We could not believe that this was being sold in any restaurant, anywhere. Shameful.
I love this place, but I think , they need a change menu and style,ok
this mexican restaurant need to improve the food Low in salt and more to the next level of cooking,, I don't know if they really have a chef or they have untrain person!! I been in this place for few yers, but I still have hope they'll improve the menu and the service.
cause I been in mexico and the service are fast with a BIG smile in their face, here is like a zombie, not a crack of smile, they need somebody who can take it to the next level,, I'm experience chef and don't want to put anybody donw, But you need to improve everything . the soon the better!!! All my best !!
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