Mexican Taqueria Style Restaurant. Extra casual counter service. We pull our meat!
A friend, my gf and I headed over to the island on the weekend, and we wanted to make the most of it so we kept this place in mind. Hungry and weakened from the blistering heat, we hoped the 4 blocks from the edge of Downtown was worth the trek, it was disappointing. It's on the corner, tucked away from the traffic and desolate buildings. The decor is minimalistic and rather ratty.
We weren't prepared to stuff ourselves, but wanted a good hit to get us back. We ordered various tacos, tostadas, a tamale and a plate of nachos. Of all the fillings, the Rajas Con Crema was the best, consisting of a melange of corn, poblano chilis, onions and cream. The meat fillings were especially comparable to fast food/cafeteria quality. Dry, stringy and oily, it was neatly lumped on from the warming trays and does not qualify as fresh. Our chicken and mole tamale was at best decent; you could tell it was reconstituted back to life from frozen. The tortilla chips for the nachos were oversalted though it did come with a half decent cast of salsa, guacamole and sour cream. The lower than typical prices are reflected in the smaller portions, but is par with other so called authentic Mexican eateries in this part of the country.
Cafeteria service, but the fellow assembling our order was friendly.
We were all at a loss the moment we stepped in, and was only solidified during and after eating the abysmal food. I'm no expert in Mexican cuisine but while the bones are present to be really good food, the food lacks care and quality, and it shows.
The flavours of Mexico actually CAN be brought to Victoria! Nice size portions for a shared snack or a meal, with good flavour, fresh salsas and homemade-tasting chips! After having lived in Mexico, I've been waiting for something that actually reminds me of the food there, and the Tamales and chips at Orale are as close as I've found yet in Victoria! Cafe Mexico is Tex Mex, Hernandez is good but not what I ate in Mexico. Orale obviously has taken some recipes straight out of Mexico- I go back as often as I can! Everyone there is nice and friendly and there is a very casual ambiance.
to the food prepared in a Mexican restaurant. The first time I ate there, I was starving and the food was well-portioned and tasted great. It's been downhill ever since.
What happens? We order, and they screw up the order. It arrives, they take it back and fix it (add the meat, remove the meat, what-have-you) but when we finally eat it, it's COMPLETELY flavourless, and no matter of hot sauce or salt (at that point), can fix it.
They need to flavour the food (PLEASE USE SALT!) and spice (+cilantro) in the food. We always leave the place unsatisfied anyway. They have messed up our food 5 times, but we still go back hoping to recreate that first tasty experience. Now, we look fondly as we drive by and just skip the place.
The owner of Orale apparently 'borrowed' much of his recipes from a friend's family taqueria in Mexico City. It certainly tastes like it. I often see many of the same people here with this gleeful look of anticipation on their faces. This place is super casual. You walk up to the back counter, check out the chalkboard menus and as you name things you want, a member of the friendly staff put it all together for you right there. All the meats are pulled fresh 'off-the-bone' and feature a mix of chicken, beef and pork. There are about a dozen different taco fillings like Cochinita Pibil (spicy marinated pork), Chicken marinated in Mulato chilis, Tinga (just awsome!), and spicy marinated cactus. Tacos are served in 4 inch grilled corn tortillas and they stuff them full. Also the only place in Victoria with tamales on the menu, they have 3 different varieties. All are light, fluffy and delicious. Lots for vegetarians to choose from and they even have desserts and cocktails.
Sunny bright patio and the value rating of 5/5 is because this place already has a reputation of being CHEAP. 3 of these tacos for $5. Many will only want 3, I'm a BIG guy and I'm done in $10. Super value for the money.
I love the ambience here because this is just how they do it in some of my secret 'off the tourist path' places in mexico. The music is fun, but there are NO pretentions. There is a marketplace kind of grocery area on one side, and when stock comes in, sometimes it'll be stacked in the seating area...I say 'charming'.
At Orale you order at the counter, and the food is quickly prepared in front of you. There is tap water in a jug with stacks of clean glasses. It's a nice setup for someone who wants a quick, reasonably-priced meal.
Service has always been quick and friendly. The food is easily the most authentic of any Mexican restaurant in Victoria of the many that I've tried. The value is reasonable but not outstanding: you can have a decent lunch for about $10.
I went with a friend to Orale's, it was both our first experience at this new restaurant. My friend was overwhelmed with the high quality and low cost of this Mexican restaurant - he couldn't say enough good things about the food. I thought the food was fine, it certainly tasted fresh.
This is more of a "tapas" style restaurant, the individual sized portions seem to be more for sampling a variety rather than one meal. Initially, I found I was staring at the blackboard menu for a while before I figured out how the combinations worked. However, the very friendly staff were quick with explanations and were helpful with recommendations.
As far as ambiance, we sat outside on the patio which was nice (it was a warm day). I think that for a good, quick inexpensive lunch (there are items for $5), this place is pretty good value.
The first time I went here I just wanted a quick mexican snack. had a tamale with mole & a tostada. I took it to go and it was okay. I've had worse. The tamale was a bit dry and the tostada soggy but like I said it was decent. Now I went back last night to try some other items on their menu. The girl overcharged me and left out some items I ordered. To top it off the soup wasn't packed correctly and I lost half of it from the lid opening and making a mess all over the place. The tacos were bone dry and they didn't give us any sauce on them. The tamale w/salsa verde was very dry and they forgot to give me my rice & beans. Well this time I was ticked so I called the girl over there. She apologized and said she would give me my $9 overcharge back if I came by. I did the next day but I'm not going there ever again.