There was no beer in the fridge. There was no beer in the fridge and it was an extremely hot August evening in Puerto de la Cruz. We had two options. We could pop to the supermarket… or we could use the beer shortage as an excuse to eat out.
It was a no brainer. And, anyway, the sultry summer evening had ignited a yen for Mexican. Poco Loco it was.
Restaurant Poco Loco in Puerto de la Cruz
Poco Loco (a bit crazy) is one of those restaurant that proves you don’t have to be in the perfect location to be successful, you just have to have something that makes people seek you out and keep them coming back again and again. Despite it being hidden away from the main road through the top of the town, near Sitio Litre, Poco Loco has been feeding people with the best Mexican grub for nearly two decades.
It’s like a little Mexican cantina in the middle of a concrete jungle; cobbled entrance,leafy plants, Meheecano paraphernalia, rough stone interior walls, brightly coloured seating, sombreros on the wall, a kitsch Mexican mariachi painting, chequered tablecloths and a bar lined with glasses that make it looks as though the place is set for a tequila party. It isn’t it’s just a normal night at Poco Loco.
I’d have preferred to sit inside (better lighting for pics) but despite a fan, it was just too warm so we opted instead for one of the outside patio areas. Our timing was almost perfect, within seconds of sitting down every exterior table was filled as a couple of Spanish families arrived at the same time as two Scandinavian girls and a smoochy young couple who I thought at first were hearing impaired. It turned out she was Spanish, he was French and neither spoke the other’s language so lots of hand gestures.
A Touch of Spice: The Food at Poco Loco
First things first. It was a lack of beer that motivated this visit so a couple of cool ones were promptly ordered – a classic Coronita for Andy and a Desperado tequila beer for me.
I love Mexican food but I’m useless at choosing from menus because I want to try it all. Poco Loco’s combo plates help solve this problem. Their Taquería (a mix of antojitos – Mexican street food) for two people cost €12 and consisted of nachos with guacamole, flautas (fried pastry cylinders filled with chicken or beef), cheese enchiladas and three dips with melted cheese, spicy salsa and more guacamole.
It was the perfect savoury mix for a sultry night (especially if you’re a fan of fried pastry and melted cheese) and would have been enough. But we’d already ordered a main course each.
Noting what the people around us were drinking, it became clear why the bar was jam packed with glasses. The done thing at Poco Loco is to order a half litre of their special margaritas (strawberry, lemon, pineapple and lemon, mango and lemon…) at €4 a jug. Every table except ours had a frosty carafe. That’s a tip for next time.
For main, Andy went for the do-it-yourself chicken fajitas which came on a plate overflowing with red and green peppers, red and white onions and chicken strips. I chose pajarito – chicken filled with melted cheese and accompanied by chipped potatoes, guacamole (luckily I love guac) and a salsa. The ingredients were fresh and the food freshly prepared and zingy.
Andy’s fajitas totally defeated her, which I was secretly glad about as it meant I got to try one even though my gut was pleading ‘no more, no more.’
The menu at Poco Loco isn’t massive but, apart from the well known dishes, you might need to ask the waiter what things are. I didn’t know what pajaritos were and, looking at the menu now, still don’t know exactly what tinga or cuates is. But that’s part of the fun and, as well as the setting, what makes Poco Loco different from a lot of Mexican restaurants. There was no separate vegetarian option but there seemed to be a few non-meat choices on the menu.
All in all Poco Loco is a delightfully laid back restaurant with extremely amicable staff and Mexican food that strays a little from the norm. After dark it feels as though you could actually be in Mexico rather than Tenerife.
I was really glad we’d run out of beer.
Poco Loco, Camino Los Dragos, 7; (+34) 922 385 662; open Monday, Thursday-Sunday 1pm- 3.30pm and 7pm to 11.30pm, Wednesday from 7-11.30pm, Closed Tuesday; Main courses average around €9.
Jack is co-owner, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to lots of other places. Follow Jack on Google+