[Pictures: David Straight]
At Mexican Specialities, you might have to share your table with a wooden skeleton, or you may have to sit below a wall of crucifixes. The restaurant is very small and it is in a forlorn shopping centre in suburban Ellerslie. It’s only open three days a week, for lunch, and it is always very busy. Service can be intimidating, even irascible, and you may not all get your food at once. The food is wondrous.
Owners Jose Carlos de la Macorra and Maria Batiz came from Mexico a decade ago: they started selling food at markets before opening Mexican Specialities, where they are mostly consumed with selling South American and Mexican food, handicrafts and religious artefacts online. Thursday to Saturday, de la Macorra does the cooking and Batiz takes the orders. He is occasionally flustered; she doesn’t mess around.
But who cares, when the food is this good? The beef taco is a soft corn taco, filled with strips of succulent, smoky, grilled beef, zingy with lime, served with a side of jalapeno so you can adjust the heat. Guacamole is light and lumpy and made fresh each day – as are the light, crunchy corn chips. Chicken enchiladas are just really quite wonderful. Juices are a highlight: we like the mandarin. You should eat here and eat here often. SFG
HOURS Thursday and Friday, 11am to 2pm; Saturday 10am to 3pm.
ADDRESS 5/92 Marua Road, Ellerslie, ph 580-2497. www.mexicanspecialities.co.nz
IMPORTANT DETAILS Unlicensed. Also: aside from its limited opening hours, Mexican Specialities is occasionally closed for other reasons, so be sure to check.