One of the beautiful things about globalisation is that, regardless of where you live, you can grab food from all different parts of the world. That is why, if you are in the western Algarve and you feel like taking a Mexican journey into some real flavours, you can head to Praia da Luz and look for a new place called Puerto Escondido Beach Bar Mexican.
Not only is the place owned by four surfers who all admire the famous wave of Puerto Escondido (Oaxaca, Mexico), but also the restaurant is in a hidden (escondido) site of Praia da Luz. “We had the idea in our heads. We just needed to find the perfect place to implement it. We are all Mexican food lovers and there was that gap in the market here in Praia da Luz, so as soon as we found the place, it took us a month to have it all set,” says Beatriz Silva, front of house manager.
Authentic Mexican food with a Portuguese twist is what makes this menu a very interesting one. Kacper Lustyk is one of the four managers and the main chef who conceived the menu, together with sous-chef Gonçalo. “The most important thing is that a lot of what we have is homemade, including our corn tortillas. All the vegetables are the freshest possible, and soon we want to grow our own,” Kacper shares. The fish in their tacos is codfish, and you can also find tuna, octopus, and prawns on the menu. “That’s our twist, authentic Mexican food with the integration of some Portuguese treats, which is why we stand out from other Mexican restaurants,” he states.
The four owners, Rui Carnaxide, Inês Magalhães, Kacper Lustyk and Beatriz Silva, who also run a coffee shop named Café do Burgau, wanted a space that could be a representation of their lifestyles. Laidback vibes, friendly staff, fresh margaritas, Mexican tunes, and smiley faces is what everyone can expect from a visit to Puerto Escondido Beach Bar Mexican.
The décor was thought to make the space look like somewhere relaxed, suitable for foodies, surfers, and all beach culture lovers. The menu is also apt for vegetarians, vegans, and brunch lovers who want to try fresh smoothies, açai bowls and natural juices named after the west coast beaches. There is also a kids’ menu, so the whole family is welcome.
“My sister’s husband is from Mexico, and our families would get together often. We ended up mixing both cuisines, which is why the curiosity for exploring Mexican food grew inside of me. Anytime I need to know something or ask for advice, he is there to help me,” Kacper explains.
As for the back-of-house part of the business, he reveals the most important ingredients in a Mexican kitchen are corn, beans, chilli, and avocado. “Having the freshest ingredients possible and trying to have essential things like homemade tortillas is crucial. In Mexico, they add cactus plant to their food, and we will consider doing the same in a near future.”
Meanwhile, Beatriz expresses gratitude for having a team that is always ready to smile because “customer satisfaction is the top priority, and the goal is to provide everyone with that sense of kindness and care all the time”.
“The feedback we have been getting is very positive and gratifying, especially when we had a Mexican group who ate with us and told us they felt as if they were back home, tasting authentic flavours. That was very inspiring to hear from real Mexican people,” she adds.
The five best-sellers here are the beef taco, chicken taco, the 3 sista (a combination of butternut squash, corn, beans, Manchego cheese and sour cream), the nachos and the tuna ceviche. And to drink, fresh margaritas are flying out the door. Desserts are also available, such as flan and sweet rice, which are typical in Mexico.
The idea coming from this enthusiastic team of surfers and Mexican food lovers is to try to remain open during the winter, adapting the menu to the cold season and suiting the local audience. “We would also like to have a cocktail bar, so we could give our friends the chance to gather in a safe environment, for some fun and chilled vibes.”
Diversity, authenticity, and uniqueness are fair keywords to describe an experience in Puerto Escondido, and more than the food journey, no one will be indifferent to the unique social experience.
By Margarida Pimenta