Tucked away on a quiet street in Covent Garden is Cafe Pacifico, the UK’s first ever Mexican cantina opening in 1982. Being the first of its kind, it’s been giving London an authentic taste of Mexican food, tequila and culture for 40 years as the self-proclaimed father of Mexican restaurants in London.
A rainbow of traditional Mexican decorative banners called papel picado hangs over brightly coloured mismatched tables and chairs, as Mexican music plays through the restaurant which was once a former banana warehouse. Cafe Pacifico is an explosion of colour and flavour. The menu is extensive, featuring all the Mexican classics we know and love, with even one or two dishes that have a fresh twist.
This vibrant cantina has seen the likes of Freddie Mercury, Kenny Everett and Cleo Rocas come through its doors with Freddie Mercury even donning a Cafe Pacifico t-shirt during a European tour and on TV interviews. Cafe Pacifico’s founder, Tomas Estes, has long been passionate about Mexican culture and food having been introduced to it by his Mexican neighbours whilst growing up in California. He eventually took on the role of European Ambassador of Tequila and started his own tequila brand called Tequila Ocho. Tomas travelled to Holland in 1978 to set up the very first Cafe Pacifo before heading to London to open the restaurant on Langley Street which still stands today.
Think crispy empanadas drizzled with crema Mexicana and tomato chipotle salsa, Tex-Mex deep-fried burritos and fajitas served on sizzling skillets bursting with flavour. Cafe Pacifico is a whizz with tacos and offers a whole array of them including pulled pork chilli, Baja style seabass and king prawn, and homemade chorizo and potato tacos. They’ve even experimented with some unexpected flavours with their duck tacos in mole rub with goats cheese and rocket and raspberry salad, quinoa and avocado tacos making their menu all the more exciting.
Of course, a visit to a Mexican restaurant would not be complete without some tequila and margs. Having won the Margarita Rumble as having the best margarita in town for the third time in a row, Cafe Pacifico is certainly the place to down a marg or three. If you’re feeling something else tequila or rum-based they’ve also got you covered, along with a hefty and impressive tequila and mezcal offering for all of you agave aficionados.
Head to their official website to find out more.