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The Dartmouth
May 23, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Tasty or Tacky? A Review of Tacos Y Tequila

One writer shares her experience dining at Hanover’s newest Mexican food joint, Tacos Y Tequila.

Tacos y Tequila.jpg

There’s beauty in living in the middle of nowhere — my friends and I relish the opportunity to ice skate across Occom or go stargazing on the golf course. However, it’s around week four or five that our thoughts start to turn to the outside world, and we ask ourselves, “what if we didn’t study for this midterm and just hopped on a Coach to Boston?” Our desire to go to the city is rooted specifically in cuisine. 

While Foco tries its best, there are just some flavors that mass school dining cannot hope to replicate, like good Mexican food. Although Hanover has a few quasi-Mexican joints around town, such as the ever-controversial Boloco, something is sorely missing. Perhaps this is why Tacos Y Tequila has made its way onto the center stage as one of the newest restaurants in Hanover.

Owned by Ramiro Bravo, Tacos Y Tequila is part of a chain of Mexican restaurants scattered across the East coast. It’s nestled within the complex that former breakfast spot Skinny Pancake used to reside in. In an interview with The Dartmouth back in September of 2021, Bravo said that Tacos Y Tequila would offer “a casual fine dining experience” as Hanover’s “one-stop-shop” for Mexican cuisine. A one-stop-shop for Mexican food sounded like the ideal cure for the incoming onslaught that is week four. So I, along with Elyjah McRae ’25 and Adamari Benavidez ’25 — two students from Los Angeles, CA who are self-proclaimed experts in Mexican Cuisine — decided to review the new eatery. 

Located on Lebanon Street in the same complex as Base Camp and Han Fusion, entering Tacos Y Tequila feels less like entering your typical Mexican restaurant and more like a modern rustic farm-to-table joint. Wooden chairs and tables flood the room, with a few carefully chosen pieces of colorful artwork adorning the walls.  

“It’s a very modern contemporary take on small-town Mexican food,” Benavidez said. “The New England is really shining through.” 

Other students that have visited the restaurant have also noticed the rustic vibe. For Clara Goulding ’25, it was one of the first things she noticed when entering the restaurant. 

“When I first walked in, it was very open and spread out,” Goulding said. “It did feel a little bit empty because there weren’t any decorations.”  

While the tables weren’t filled when we made our way into the restaurant, we were promptly informed by wait staff that they would all be taken by the end of the night. Tacos Y Tequila runs on a reservation system for in person dining, which has led to busy hours during prime dining nights. Reservations are available by phone or on the Tacos Y Tequila website — just make sure you have the Hanover location, because there are apparently numerous restaurants in the New England area with similar names (my public apology to the Tacos Y Tequila in Maine — I did not mean to leave you hanging.) 

After being led to our table, we were given complimentary chips and salsa and scanned the QR code on the table to read the menu. 

“I was not a fan of the QR code menu,” Goulding said. “When we went, our table didn’t have the code, so we couldn’t actually order for a minute.”

Luckily for the three of us, our code was up and running. The chips and salsa were also a hit. 

“They’re good quality chips; they have the right amount of salt on them,” McRae said. 

She was right. A lot of what makes Mexican food good is the ratio of flavors. Both the salsa and chips had just the right amount of lime and salt to make them delicious preludes to what the menu had to offer us. Prices at Tacos Y Tequila are reasonable for a modern Mexican restaurant, especially given Hanover prices; it’s around $4 for a single street taco and around $15-20 for a main course item. 

For appetizers, we ordered the OMG nachos and the mango ceviche. Our food took a little longer than usual to come out, possibly because the restaurant was filling up fast. But when it did come, we were in for a surprise. 

The OMG nachos were not styled like a typical plate of nachos — instead of being piled high with chips and drizzled with toppings, each chip was laid out on the plate separately, with its own serving of garnishes. Initial reactions were full of shock and pleasant surprise. 

“It’s definitely different,” Benavidez said. “Each chip is laid out and has the perfect ratio of meat and toppings. It’s good, but I’m conflicted, just because I’ve never seen a presentation style like this before.” 

The ceviche was not quite as out-of-the-box, and it unfortunately did not impress our resident seafood lover. 

“I’m used to my ceviche having more of a lime undertone,” McRae said. “It’s still good, just not my style.” 

When our main dishes arrived, we were slightly worried about any potential mix-ups. 

“When I went with my friends, they mixed up two of our dishes and we didn’t realize it until after we started eating,” Goulding said.

Luckily, each of us ordered very distinct dishes. Benevidez ordered the fish tacos and pozole — a traditional soup made of hominy and meat that Foco also tends to make — while McRae stuck with one street shrimp taco. I ordered a barbacoa taco and a bandera enchilada. 

For Benavidez, the pozole was different from what she is used to. 

“This is a lot thicker, almost as thick as tortilla soup,” she said. “It’s still definitely better than Foco’s pozole.” 

McRae was disappointed with her street taco. 

“It’s a bit dry,” she said. “There’s nothing else but meat and onions; I think adding some sauce would have made it taste better.” 

While the menu says that sauce is included on the street tacos, it also notes that customers can pay an additional 25 cents for extra salsa on the side. Unfortunately, my barbacoa taco suffered the same dry fate, as well as having surprisingly tougher meat than expected. 

“The whole process of making barbacoa is cooking it for hours on end,” Benavidez said. “Traditionally you would put it in a pot in the ground and wait until it’s tender, but I don’t think yours was cooked for long enough.” 

Unfortunately, she was right. That day I also had eaten the Collis special of the day, a barbacoa Mexican dish, where the meat was far more tender than my taco. 

Although there were a few disappointments, there were also some pleasant surprises. Benavidez’s battered fish tacos were the perfect main dish.

“It’s just battered all over really well; the meat tastes good, too,” she said. “Definitely my favorite item of the meal.”  

My bandera enchilada, although a little salty, was also enjoyable and generously portioned with a large mound of rice and refried beans. We also received a free refill of nachos (but not the salsa). 

While there were a few critical offerings that didn’t quite satisfy our taste buds, Tacos Y Tequila is a great spot for a casual Friday night dinner. With an amazing wait staff and a solid amount of offerings, it’s definitely worth trying — especially whenever you feel the urge to hop on the Coach to civilization. Make sure to try out the fish tacos and the bandera enchiladas for maximum deliciousness.