I love Mr. Taco. It’s in a terrible food court, in a forgettable mall, on the outskirts of the city, but I still love it.
And that’s because I miss family-style Mexican food more than I could have ever imagined when I came to Qatar. I now know it is my favorite food. I suspected before, but now I know. I have looked, and looked, and I have hoped, and this is the closest I have come anywhere in the city.
I know there are fancier Tex-Mex places and Spanish places in the hotels that can provide some cross-over. I know there are some fast-food burrito joints here and there. But that’s not what I’m after. It simply does not scratch the itch. I’m looking for family-style combo platters like we have back home. And the only place I have found that comes close is Mr. Taco.
Every time I go to Bahrain, I eschew opportunities to check out nicer restaurants in favor of AT LEAST one trip to Senor Paco’s. That’s my place. [NOTICE TO POTENTIAL QATARI INVESTORS, haha: Senor Paco’s provides EXACTLY what I’m looking for in a Mexican restaurant, and I’m not alone. Contact me if you need a consultant. We can make a killing here]. Here, my closest option is a place in the corner of a forgettable food court in a forgettable mall.
That being said, Mr. Taco is actually REALLY good. The rice and beans are authentic, and perhaps even better than I’ve had back home (and even better than Senor Paco’s). The burritos are good too. The tacos are soft corn tacos, so not quite what I’m looking for (I’m into crunchy corn, not street-style), but the taquitos provide the crunch I crave.
One thing that really makes me laugh about Mexican food in Qatar is the idea of “Mexi-shawarma.” Hahaha! That’s not a thing! I have seen this in more than one venue. It’s not bad, per se, and I know as a “trendy foodie” I should get into the idea of it as a “fushion cuisine” haha.
But I’m looking for comfort food. Don’t mess with my comfort food. Don’t fushion my comfort food. Mexi-shawarma doesn’t quite push my buttons. But I’m here, and if it’s all I can find, then I’ll take it.
It’s also amusing that lamb takes such a prominent place on the menu. Where I’m from, I am used to more dishes that contain the “meat that shall not be named,” haha. I’ve actually gotten really into lamb since I have been here, but when I see it on the menu at Mr. Taco, it reminds me that “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore,” haha.
I have not yet been lucky enough to be here during one of the days they serve tamales, unfortunately. I promise to make this a destination on one of those days and buy a cooler full to take home. I haven’t done it yet, but I promise I will.
Overall, Mr. Taco gets some flack from people who don’t seem to understand just how much of a service it provides to us expats who miss real Mexican food back home. It really does provide a sense of solace in a strange land.
It is not perfect, the portions are not gi-normous, but for what it is, what it does, and how it makes me feel when I eat it, I can’t tell you how much gratitude I have for this little spot in the middle of an otherwise unremarkable, non-descript food court.
Five stars. Yeah, you read that right. Five freaking stars. How you like me now?
Check it out. See why it brings tears to my eyes.