Hands up who likes Mexican food?
Firstly, let me say that we really are very lucky in this lovely city of Dublin at the array of good value restaurants that are on offer. I think Ireland has one of the best quality cuisines in the world and there is always somewhere you can enjoy a lovely meal for a price that won't hurt your purse (or wallet, I don't discriminate). As you all know I love my early birds and generally getting anything for good value, and this post is centered exactly around that topic. Good value means quality for less. It doesn't mean crap food, it doesn't mean smaller portions and it certainly shouldn't mean restrictions and a lesser version of the normal priced menu. When I leave a restaurant thinking that was "good value", chances are I've had a beautiful meal for a price that felt slightly less than it should be, i.e it actually deserved to be more expensive. This is a very good feeling. I had this very experience this afternoon in one of Dublin's absolute gems when it comes to good food, atmosphere, and all sorts of lovely things like deep fried ice-cream. Sound weird? Don't judge, I'll get to it!
Acapulco is one of those restaurants that not only has an early bird alongside a normal evening menu, but also an extremely reasonable lunch menu that really does offer excellent value for money. Having recently had an early bird dinner there (and muchly enjoyed it) I decided to stop by for lunch today with my beautiful little (not so little, she is almost 21) sister Leanne. Before I go on, does this look like the face of someone who has had a lovely meal? Why yes it does. Looking good Leanne!
Let me add here that Leanne was mostly fascinated by the tiny glass bottles of milk that are served with the tea, and to be fair they are seriously cute.
Let me start by saying that this was not my first time to go to Acapulco. Far from it. I have been going to this restaurant for many years now and I am a huge fan of Mexican food. In my opinion this is the best Mexican food that Dublin has to offer and it is only further improved by the amazing location, decor and great staff. It has also recently had a little make-over of sorts, and we all love a little make-over don't we?
When you walk in to Acapulco it is as though you have been transported to some sort of funky psychedelic dream. It is so brilliantly colourful. The seats and tables are all painted in bright colours, there are some funky decorative features that hang from the ceiling and there is always nice music and a relaxed and friendly atmosphere waiting for you when you open the doors. This place can get busy (a good sign) so it is recommended to book a table but luckily we sauntered in on this fine Saturday afternoon and it was nice and quiet (but not too quiet). We arrived at 3.30pm and when we left at bout 6pm (long lunch, we talked a lot, and ate a lot) it was completely buzzing and the manager was trying his best to accommodate large groups of walk-ins that had not booked a table. This is a very good sign!
Ah there she is, in all her colourful glory.
There was a lovely selection of food to chose from in the lunch menu, but you could also order from the main menu if you wanted to. The lunch menu is excellent value and contained pretty much everything we wanted which was great. There was a choice of nachos (whole dish, big portion), tacos, tostadas, burritos, burgers and salads to name but a few things. In fact, here is the menu if you want to have a little look, but we warned - even reading this menu will make your mouth water - http://acapulco.ie/lunch/
My sister and I decided to treat ourselves to a starter as well as a main course(because we don't half love ourselves) and we opted for the 'platter for two' from the main menu. It is a combination platter of all sorts of delicious foods such as chicken wings, onion rings, home-made nachos, calamari, chilli sizzlers (deep fried sticks filled with cream cheese and red peppers - so ridiculously good) and quesadilla and of course the customary beautiful trio of dips being guacamole, salsa and sour cream. There was even a little salad there to add a bit of green to an otherwise naughty starter. Leanne and I didn't want Calamari so the lovely waitress kindly let us change that for some extra wings instead.
The starter platter... (stop drooling, people are watching you)
After the delicious platter, we awaited for our main courses which arrived a nice amount of time later. There is nothing worse than your main course arriving before you've barely had a chance to swallow the end of your starter. I went for the chilli beef nachos and Leanne went for the chilli beef tostadas (all of the works on top of a crispy nacho tortilla, not to be confused with 'taco' which are the soft wraps). Both came with melted cheese, guacamole. salsa and sour cream.
Just look at those beauties...They are definitely the best nachos I have ever had in my life. They cannot be beaten. As you can see we were also drinking water, how very saintly of us. This restaurant happens to do some incredible margaritas, if you are that way inclined, or just not pregnant!
After the main courses we probably didn't speak to each other for a good twenty minutes other than the occasional "can't cope, too full". At this point the waiter approached us and asked us if we enjoyed our meal etc and Leanne responded with "It was amazing but we can barely breathe because we're so full" and then followed it seconds later with "can we see the dessert menu?". That's when 'it' happened - a rather naughty explanation of the desserts on offer in Acapulco. The waiter (also manager and all round lovely fella named Ben) described the two desserts that he would recommend and I could actually feel the calories approaching us as he merely described these 'bold' desserts. The words 'like a melted mars bar' and 'deep fried ice-cream' were used in a rather casual manner, and it all got a bit out of control. We knew we had to order both. A few more minutes past, and we still didn't talk much, still incredibly full and a little bit in denial about the fact that we still had a dessert each to tackle. We both agreed that Ben was such a lovely guy and it really made all the difference. Then, they arrived.
See that one closest to you? Firstly, yes it is flirting with you. Well, let me just say that words do not quite do this dessert any justice at all. Cold vanilla ice-cream which is perfectly soft (but not melted) has been deep fried in what can only be described as a little jacket (for the cold weather, aah) of crispy, crunchy... stuff. I don't even know what you would call it. It's not pastry, it's not biscuit, it's not nutty, it's just... divine. As if that didn't have your heart beating fast enough, the bloody thing is served covered in only the nicest butterscotch-type sauce ever. Oh, and let's not forget the little berries there too. One of our five a day. No? Right so...
Dessert was devoured, many "oh my God"s were said, and we ordered a nice cup of tea to round it all off. My sister sneakily paid for the entire meal (isn't she lovely?) when I was in the bathroom (which were lovely and clean by the way) and we sat and relaxed for probably another twenty minutes discussing the amazing meal that had just been had and perhaps less positively about the absolute rain-storm that awaited us outside the restaurant. When we were leaving, Ben (the lovely friendly/helpful waiter/manager) offered to give us an umbrella which was just such a lovely gesture and we sauntered off in to the night in search of the 77A bus. We were stuffed and only delighted with such a fabulous experience and long-lunch at the wonderful Acapulco. If you haven't been to this restaurant you simply need to go, and if you have been before you might not have noticed their new exterior. It's very lovely.
It used to look like this from the outside...
And now it looks like this. How very swanky!
For two huge starters (we shared one for two people), 2 mains, 2 desserts (bold) and two cups of tea, the bill came to just under €42 which for a four course meal of this quality is absolutely outstanding. I believe this lunch menu is served until 5pm, and as you can see it is incredible value for money. Pretty much €20 for four courses of high quality and beautifully presented Mexican food in the ideal location of Georges Street, a little haven away from the rain or the busy shopping streets of this fair city.
You can find more information about Acapulco restaurant on their lovely website at http://acapulco.ie/ and they can be reached by phone, email or on any of their active social media outlets.