On what started as a rainy Monday afternoon my friend and I made our way to the busy streets – even at this time – of Sarbet. At the end of the buildings that line the main street, is a cobbled alleyway that leads us down a path to the back of a building. This path was lined with small artisanal shops selling all types of crafts. One shop made all types of things from recycled magazines and another is a groundbreaking pioneer of giving Ethiopian fabrics a modern touch. Amongst these shops, one unassuming door leads to “La Morena Taqueria”, a small Mexican restaurant.
Going in, we were welcomed by the heartwarming smiles of the staff behind the service counter. The interior has whitewashed walls, refreshingly simple furniture coupled with decorations that are a fusion of Mexican and Ethiopian designs. Little sombrero hats and thin “Netela” fabrics adorn the tables, small Mexican style paintings hang on the walls, alongside mirrors creatively framed with recycled magazines – which I considered equally interesting. They also have a patio at the back, which overlooks dense vegetation and is lined with aromatic herbs. This combination of sunlight, greenery, and serenity gave me a feeling of tranquility I was not expecting.
Seated in the back patio we ordered our drinks while we decided on what to have for lunch. I went for an iced tea as the weather was changing to be sunnier and warmer. The menu offered Tacos, Burritos, and Quesadillas for main dishes, Churros for dessert, and a variety of hot and cold beverages. The restaurant allows customers to choose as many toppings as they would like to have, so every customer can curate each meal to their liking by combining the flavors they want. Therefore, orders are placed using an order form consisting of the dishes mentioned above, fillings which had the options of beef, chicken, pork or vegetables, and a selection of twelve toppings to go with your dish. I instantly went for the Quesadillas and tacos while my friend went for the vegetable burrito bowl and tacos. While we waited for our orders to be prepared, we were served tortilla chips with fresh mild, and spicy salsa as starters.
“The excellent food combined with the remarkable ambiance and friendly staff excuses their higher-than-average prices.”
My order of Quesadilla had shredded pork filling and was served with a side of guacamole, mild salsa, Pico de Gallo and cilantro. Taking a bite of the Quesadilla, I was surprised by the vibrant fusion of flavors. Although each ingredient had its unique flavor, the combination was a seamless blend without a single taste being overpowering and stealing attention. By paring the cheesy pork quesadilla with the zesty Pico de Gallo, the creamy-chunky guacamole, and the mild-flavored salsa, I was able to create a layer of flavors with each bite I took.
My friend’s build-your-own vegetarian burrito bowl had Mexican rice, black beans, spicy salsa, guacamole, onions, and cheese with the assorted vegetable mix. This meal packed a nutritious and flavorful punch. The Mexican rice – a dish I was previously not familiar with – was a delightful first experience. Again, it is the combination of each item on the plate that gets your palette excited, and since you are spoiled with a range of toppings, I suggest having fun with your topping combinations and enjoying the result.
The tacos were made with soft tortillas. My tacos were filled with shredded beef, and chicken, respectively, while my friend ordered one filled with an assortment of vegetables. In addition to the meat and vegetables, the tacos were also filled with a combination of toppings of our choice. You are also given the option of adding eggs to your tacos to turn them into breakfast tacos, which my friend did with his vegetable taco, and it turned out sublime. The beef taco was wrapped perfectly in a corn tortilla, giving the whole dish a unique flavor that was new to me, while the chicken taco was wrapped with a wheat tortilla. The shredded meats combined with the mix of toppings gave me an explosion of flavors upon the first bite. However, the crescendo of that gastronomical orchestra came when I bit into the jalapeño peppers which took everything to a new height and made both tacos unforgettably delicious.
Although I had already eaten way more than what is socially acceptable for a young man to eat in one sitting, I convinced myself that there was always room for dessert and ordered Churros to complete this delightful dining experience. Another first experience for me, the fresh Churros delivered a sweet kick I had been craving for. I was enchanted by the sugar covered pastry. Crunchy and sweet on the outside, and soft on the inside, this hot desert is one that is hard to have enough of.
This little Taqueria offered some of the best Mexican food I have eaten in Addis. The excellent food combined with the remarkable ambiance and friendly staff excuses their higher-than-average prices. In these stressful times, for those of you that would prefer to enjoy delicious Mexican food in the comfort and safety of your homes, you can place orders from La Morena on Deliver Addis.Deliver Addis.