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Pacifico Mexican Bar Restaurant, Beirut
Pacifico Passes the Test of Time... Relocating Soon...
After long months of waiting, I finally got a reservation to dine at the new Pacifico. The new location, just a few blocks up from its old location on Monot Street is quite impressive. A reference for Mexican food, Pacifico is to Mexican food in Lebanon just like how Al Halabi is to Lebanese food – well in my opinion dispite the fact that the food is more of texmex.
Enjoy the grand Mexican vibes as you walk into a nicely designed space, where high ceiling and warm arches fill the space. Wooden tables fill the space surrounded with wooden chairs and a white bench; a long one which follows the walls around the restaurant. I love how street lights are reflected through the windows, creating a dance of shadows...
Facing the bar are many high tables with high chairs for a more casual dining experience. Behind the bar is a large mirror, the signature of Pacifico and Habana, hung on the white wall made of bricks. You can also book a table outside on the terrace and garden where smoking is allowed, but you'll have to bare the heat.
It’s a full house of people happy to be here; happy to meet and share the positive vibes that overtakes the space. We reserved to sit indoors where the air is fresh. The air conditioning keeps the mood cool, while Mexican tunes play in the background.
You are welcomed with a smiling staff before moving forward to your table where chips and tomato sauce are served. We asked for the cheese sauce as well, served warm and blending perfectly well with those freshly baked crunchy nachos.
I love how the faces of the staff are familiar. They have been working here for so long, wearing beige aprons, white shirts and neckties. As usual, Paul served us. Paul is a pillar at Pacifico. He is a professional, smiling and welcoming waiter who has been working at Pacifico for over a decade. I'm not sure how long Pacifico has been open, but surely Paul has enough experience to tell you about the thousands of customers he has met.
The menu is still the same: Starters, Salads, Plates, Quesadillas, Specialties, Orders from the bar and desserts.
So let the margaritas flow. Mango and triple sec with tequila in a mix of crushed ice. A Drink with light sweetness, a subtle mango taste, crushed ice and freshness. A good drink that's not too strong yet not too light... Not too sweet and not too dull. A flavorful mix… but pay attention not drink it all in one go. It’s freshness is tempting, but it can hit strong!
- Squid taquitos, quesadillas cheese and quesadillas shrimps served all together in one plate with guacamole and sour cream pots and jalapeños on the side with another pot of melted cheese. Lovely is the least that can be said. Well cooked and generously filled, the quesadillas are delicious, the light envelope is well toasted and filled with juicy ingredients. The cheese rolls are extremely crispy with tender heart
- Nachos: a round plate covered with nachos and melted cheese with diced tomatoes in top. Not too neat but wait until you bite into the first one. Warm nachos produced in house are crunchy and fresh, and generously topped with melting cheese. Each explodes like dynamite while the cheese gives it flavor. Some diced tomatoes and bell pepper add the freshness. They are one of the best nachos I've had in Lebanon.
- The Caesar salad: This is not your conventional salad but one that looks like a little mermaid out of her shell. A large fried bread like a bowl filled with iceberg lettuce mixed with chunks of chicken and croutons. I loved the tender well-marinated chicken, the size of the chicken chunks and their color; but the sauce lacks flavor; it tasted kind of neutral. It looks amazing but I expected more flavor and more taste.
- The burger looks like a typical Lebanese burger with toasted bun covered with sesame seeds, stuffed with a thick piece of meat and a slice of cheddar cheese. On the plate is a cup of ketchup and cocktail sauce and three half potatoes, each covered with cheddar cheese. Next to it is a salad mix of lettuce, corn and tomatoes. I loved the potatoes, cooked al dente with a light crunch and warm melting cheddar cheese. The burger is not as bad as I thought but not great enough to order next time. The bread is too commercial, like the ones you buy at Pain d'Or and the meat is excessively and unpleasantly peppery and covered with sauce, lettuce and tomatoes.
- Fajitas: Two generous pans filled with meat and condiments. We ordered one with meat and pineapple and the other with shrimps. I love their fajitas. The filling is delicious, tender and well balanced.
- The chocolate fondant is exquisite. Well cooked and exquisite in taste, the fondant’s not too molten, warm dark and intense heart is covered in a thin envelope.
- The cheesecake is not exceptional. Not as heavy as the one I had the last time I was here, but it still needs some work, some freshness… more taste… and it should be colder.
As good as you always expect it to be, Pacifico is a restaurant that has survived the test of time… as it continues to amaze you.