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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

CLOSED! revisited/mexican: AMIGO

CLOSED 3/2016
No. 28, Lane 280, Guang Fu S Road
(02) 2771-1188


Visit reviewed: 3/13/2007

The thing that cracks me up about living in Taipei so long is that we settle for things that we normally wouldn't back home. Food adjusted to Taiwanese palates, showing up early and waiting in line for a decent Western style breakfast, enjoying a plate of tacos and... fries? Everyone I've talked to about Mexican food in Taipei mentions a handful of restaurants that have managed to stick around, but the best we can say is usually, "It's not bad for Taiwan."

Unfortunately, it's sad, but true. Personally, I don't understand why some bold chef or entrepreneur doesn't at least TRY to have authentic mexican food here? Or was the entrance and exit of Taco Bell a result of the dire lack of interest in soft tacos and burritos here. (Not that Taco Bell is entirely authentic either). Is anyone out there that we can hire to maybe just host and cook a dinner once a month who can make some decent carnitas and guacamole?

Amigo opened a new location a few years ago with the same bright colors and appearance as its to-go box I sampled from so many years ago. However, the night we went it was pretty much empty for us when the entire time we ate, in contrast to all the loud and fun gatherings I've had at Tequila Sunrise. The menu is in English and Chinese, complete with pictures and the servers are quite friendly and helpful (which I found to be lacking at Tequila Sunrise).

We ended up ordering some food family style- the combo appetizer, two tacos plate and fajitas plate. The trio combo appetizer included hot wings, nachos and quesadillas. What can I say- it came with fries?

The quesadillas were passable, even pleasant, served warm, while the "hot" wings tasted out of microwave from a frozen bag from Costco. The chips with cheese were not really nachos, but at least they weren't stale.

The tacos, again, were passable- with more lettuce than anything else on the base- the shells crispy, the insides assembled. The rice is this mysterious rice that I see at other Taipei mexican eateries- a curried yellow rather than the tomato-ish red Spanish rice I see in the states.

My friend seemed to enjoy her fajitas, although for me, the guacamole and salsa makes the dish for me.

Will I be back? More likely, I'll go back for enchiladas at La Casita or for fajitas and guacamole and pico de gallo at Chili's. But I'm not ruling it out, since *sigh* it's not bad... for Taiwan.

PS Interestingly enough, while I couldn't find the business card for this Amigo, I was doing an internet search.. I guess there is another Amigo, but not related to these two? The photo of the burrito with the article in Taipei Times doesn't look half bad.. Might have to give it a try- anyone else tried it?

85 Linsen S Rd (at Renai Rd)
Telephone: (02) 2393-2488
Open: Every day from 11:30am to 9pm, except Tuesdays
$ (cash only)

previous review on 10/14/2005

AMIGO Around-Mexico
202, FuXing N. Rd.
(02) 2515-6633

pricing: $$

review ordered: 10.14.05

For awhile, I had been craving enchiladas. The closest one I could find from home were the ones from La Casita, but since our last experience there, no one wanted to join me. I decided to order to-go from Amigo, since it was one of the last Mexican places I hadn't tried yet in Taipei. I ordered the chicken enchilada set which came with rice, fries, sour cream and guacamole. I asked the restaurant if they could recommend anything else, and he said, you should come into the restaurant next time, we have a lot to choose from. I wish when you ask people to recommend something that they would offer up a few suggestions.

chicken enchiladas?

When I got my to-go dinner, the box was cute and colorful. The weird thing is that my enchiladas were not really enchiladas- you can see in the picture. Instead of a corn tortilla it was a flour one; the sauce was in a separate foam container rather than poured on; the chicken inside resembled fajitas grilled chicken rather than shredded; the whole thing seemed recently assembled rather than baked with the sauce and cheese on top. It looked like a reject hybrid of a chimichanga and a fajita that couldn't make up its mind what to be. I was VERY disappointed. If I wanted to eat a fajita, I would have gone to Chili's. If I wanted to eat a chimichanga, I would have ordered one.

I gave it try. Overall, the flavor was not bad, if you ignored that it was supposed to be an enchilada. Interestingly, there was corn kernels inside with the chicken, and there was only a little bit of cheese. The fries that came on the side tasted good. The rice tasted like rice I had eaten at other Taipei Mexican restaurants, not spicy or red, but a yellow sticky rice that has an indistinguishable flavor. The guacamole was really sour, it almost tasted as if it was on the verge of going bad. The bottom line is that it just didn't hit the spot because it just WAS NOT an enchilada.

I will have to go another day to try something else and see what the restaurant is like in person. I hear the tortilla soup is not bad and that their beef dishes are better than the other meats. But if you ever want to eat an enchilada, do not go to Amigo.


Anonymous said...

Del Taco here in the states offers fries with their tacos. :D I like it.

Anonymous said...

I've been to the other Amigo's. I always stop by when I ride through that area just to support a purported Mexican eatery. However, it's more of the same, come on everybody, let's all say it together, "It's not bad FOR TAIPEI/WAN".

It has that outside bar like area, so it has that roadside feel option. I've never sat inside and treated it like a restaurant. It seems pretty basic, passable for Taiwan.

I can recommend giving it a try as long as expectations are kept low. If you keep your expectations low, you won't be disappointed. Haha, I'm surprised I haven't gotten that in a fortune cookie. In bed.

joanh said...

keauxgeigh: hahah. Thanks for reinforcing my theory. That's too bad that it's not good.. i've seen pictures from Good Day Cafe that look promising!!

Doug W said...

You asked, "Is anyone out there that we can hire to maybe just host and cook a dinner once a month who can make some decent carnitas and guacamole?"

Ola Kronkvist at Flavor ( will make you a Mexican meal that is pretty good. While he has a Swedish restaurant, if you have a group together and give him some notice to get the food, he does a very nice job.

joanh said...

doug: i just saw this comment! Ola makes Mexican food?!??! I do have to find time to go back and have some meatballs and apple cake. :)

Doug W said...

Ola's Mexican is pretty good, and he is always happy to make it. You just need to get a group of about a dozen people together, give him some notice, and he will make a feast - Doug