San Miguel - Simply Authentic or Just Too Simple?

Hubby and I love us some good Mexican food. Tex-mex, Cali-mex, Ameri-mex or just good old fashioned Mexican - we love it all! So, when a neighbor told us that their favorite Mexican restaurant in Tallahassee was San Miguel - a place we had never heard of before, we decided to track it down and give it a try!

Located on Tharpe St, just off of Monroe, it's not necessarily off the beaten path, but it's never really caught my eye. And that's surprising, seeing as how San Miguel makes its home within a bright yellow building across from the Lake Ella CVS. The entrance to the restaurant does not face the street however, which could contribute to it's un-eye-catching-ness. One rule of thumb that hubby and I have is that if the parking lot is empty, or you never see people going in there - it's likely not very good.

But, we had made it this far, and weren't about to back out now. We entered and were seated promptly in a wooden booth, surrounded by wall murals and paintings of the pueblos and scenery of Mexico. As you would expect, we were brought out some chips and salsa and ordered up a couple of margaritas. Let me tell you - their salsa is NO JOKE. This stuff is fire-extinguisher worthy! I was licking the salt off the chips just to ease the burn until our margaritas arrived. And those puppies were nothing to fool around with either! They were truly a tall drink of tequila! After 2 each, hubby and I were feeling significantly fuzzy brained. But hey - that's how I like it.

We also ordered up a side of queso for the chips, because well...we just can't help ourselves. Although the cheese had a nice flavor, it was a bit runny and could have used a bit more thickness in order to really coat the chips. We felt a little bit like we were playing slip and slide with the queso as we tried to keep it on our chips. Let's just say - it's no Morelia's queso.

For our entrees, hubby and I decided to shake things up a bit from our usual fajitas order. He went for the Shrimp Quesadilla and I ordered a Beef Enchilada and Chicken Taco. Each of our meals also came with a side of mexican rice and refried beans. Honestly, we weren't very impressed with any of our entrees. While all of our meats were perfectly cooked, we found it really hard to find flavor among any of the dishes. Again, I found the enchilada sauce to be a bit runny, which just made the tortilla soggy. My chicken taco was made with pulled chicken that, while moist, was not marinated in anything or coated with any spices. The taco simply included chicken, cheese and lettuce and could have benefitted from a sauce with a nice zesty kick. And while hubby's shrimp quesadilla was exactly what you'd expect from a dish with that name - it too, was a bit underwhelming. The shrimp were red, which probably means they were coated in some type of spices - but they didn't really taste like it. I don't know about you - but when I eat mexican, I expect spicy food with flavors that burst in my mouth. Here, the food was so bland, I was bored.

Now, sometimes simple means authentic. Sometimes we, as Americans, decide to add crazy sauces, spices, marinades and toppings that aren't exactly traditionally Mexican. I get that. But simple should still be savory. It should still make you want to groan with its goodness. San Miguel didn't. So if you're looking for flavor, you might want to look elsewhere.

Tally Foodie Rating:
Atmosphere - B- (it was clean, but seats were hard)
Taste - C
Presentation - B
Service - B+
Price - $

Restaurant Info:
San Miguel
200 W Tharpe St
Tallahassee FL 32303

San Miguel Mexican Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Scraps July 12, 2010 at 12:18 PM  

For the record, the building used to be a pale blue which made it even easier to miss.

We'd heard for years how awesome this place was but after visiting I have no idea why. The food, as you experienced, was nothing special, when it's busy in there (and it surprisingly is from time to time) you can't hear yourself think and it's just plain uncomfortable.

Go up the street to El Jalisco or across town to Morelia for far better fare :)

NPocock July 13, 2010 at 6:42 AM  

San Miguel's is great, but my fav Mexican place here in town is Pepper's on Capital Circle across from Sam's. Their salsa is flavorful, but not too hot and their queso is to die for. I always get the taco salad, but my husband swears by the enchilada plate and my parents love the fajitas. You should try it out!

About this blog

This blog is dedicated to giving you honest reviews of local restaurants in Tallahassee and the surrounding area. I won't hold any punches, you'll hear about it all - the good, the bad and the (hopefully infrequent) inedible!

This blog was written from July 2009 - August 2010 and is now retired. I currently live in Sarasota, FL...stay tuned for more on my adventures there!