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Authentic Mexican Orlando

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Mary Jul 23, 2005 09:56 AM

I am looking for an authentic mexican restaurant in Orlando or Seminole County. Anybody?

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    Bob Mervine RE: Mary Jul 23, 2005 10:19 AM

    There are several. These are authentic Mexican, NOT Tex-Mex.
    My favorites in order of enjoyment, are Taquitos Jalisco, with two locations in West Orange County and the MetroWest area.
    I like Garibaldi Square, also two locations. One near Apopka and the other at Colonial and Semoran.
    IN Seminole, I favor the Mexico Grill on Semoran west of I-4 in the Forest City area. Try the charro beans.
    And on SR 434 in Longwood, there is Macarena Grill. Mama makes fresh tamales sometimes 2-3 times a day.
    If you go to Kissimmee, try Azteca. A brightly painted converted house just north of downtown. Very authentic. Have the menudo.

    Bob

    10 Replies
    1. re: Bob Mervine
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      Celeste RE: Bob Mervine Jul 24, 2005 12:32 PM

      I have to keep voting for Taquitos Jaliscos. I've moved 100 miles away to the Gainesville area but I drive down at least once a month to eat there - it's THAT incredible! Especially the shrimp!

      1. re: Bob Mervine
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        ahfirefly RE: Bob Mervine Aug 13, 2007 05:19 PM

        Howdy..we moved from colorado to orlando in 1996, and had a heck of a time finding a place...PR's, Pacos, Taqueria Quetalcotl, and Don Pablos were the only things recognized by local folk as being good "authentic" Mexican food. We passed by Garibaldi's for years, because we thought 1. It was Italian and 2. No one who had recommended the other places recommended or mentioned Garibaldi's..so essentially we stopped eating Mexican food for a few years...until someone said, hey Garibaldi;s is Mexican. Still a great place..we have been going there for years now. Does anyone here know the name of a new Mexican place on Semoran, down around Curry Ford,,,,authentic, no one speaks english and the food was excellent, and very inexpensive. Also, a new place near the corner of Colonial on Bennett, sort of behind the chicken place. A good meal, larger than it looks from the outside, and accommodating owners, though not very busy as it is so new.

        As an aside we visited Pacos to see if it had gotten any better in ten years. The tell is that, with the increase in the population of Mexican immigrants to the southeast, there were none to be found eating here, though the place was packed, with bubbas to the max.(I am one so I can say that)...our meal was horrible...couldnt eat it ...dry.....I wont be back and cant recommend it.

        1. re: ahfirefly
          bkhuna RE: ahfirefly Sep 11, 2007 05:51 PM

          Are you talking about the little Mexican place in the strip mall where Las Americanas Supermarket is located? We just discovered the little pupusaria a few doors down and are heading to the Mexican joint soon.

          Review to follow.

          1. re: ahfirefly
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            hellxonxheels RE: ahfirefly Oct 9, 2007 06:21 PM

            if you are thinking of the place over on semoran near the strip bars...that is one of the betos locations...and they rock all...oh and they are open 24/7!

          2. re: Bob Mervine
            katygirl RE: Bob Mervine Aug 13, 2007 07:59 PM

            I think Garibaldis has a new location on the south side-by the Florida Mall, in front of the Target Shopping Center

            1. re: katygirl
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              theflytyr RE: katygirl Aug 14, 2007 02:05 PM

              You are correct Katy and I heard it was equally good.

              1. re: katygirl
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                hellxonxheels RE: katygirl Oct 9, 2007 06:22 PM

                garibaldis is at te corner of semoran and colonial near some fan place...they are yummy

              2. re: Bob Mervine
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                skuzzy RE: Bob Mervine May 2, 2014 05:49 PM

                Sorry to revive a dead thread but since this is where I found the recommendations I will reply to this.

                Bob, after having tried Garibaldi off Semoran and being utterly disappointed with the recommendation that it was authentic much less good, I took a gamble and tried Taquitos Jalisco based on your recommendation and I must say... two different worlds.

                Taquitos Jalisco happens to be the most authentic and flavorful Mexican restaurant I have been to in the state of Florida (Went to the one off 535 and 50, West Orange County). I was born and raised in Miami and I have had a fair share of the TriCounty area Mexican food (my favorite down there being Donna Raquel's) but it paled in comparison to Taquitos Jalisco.

                I highly recommend the taco lingua y el taco chorizo en una tortilla de maiz con todo. Their salsa albeit a bit runny was 100% fresh and rightly unapologetic about their heavy use of cilantro.

                1. re: skuzzy
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                  TastyChomps RE: skuzzy May 12, 2014 10:57 AM

                  try Border Grill off of Conroy / Kirkman

                  1. re: skuzzy
                    Sandwich_Sister RE: skuzzy May 13, 2014 09:52 AM

                    Girabaldi's seems to be having some issues lately with cooks and service.

                    Even some of my friends who are very loyal have mentioned it hasn't been up to snuff lately.

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                  Bob Mervine RE: Mary Jul 23, 2005 02:02 PM

                  Can't leave Beto's off this list. Two locations, original at Semoran and 17-92, in the Bed and bath strip mall and the other on the South Orange Blossom Trail. Open 24/7, serving cheap, huge portions of everything from fish tacos to 8-inch carnitas tortas, topped with lettuce and guacamole. The dining room has two sauces plus fresh pico de gallo and carrot/jalapeno salad. Authentic Mexican fruit soft drinks, if that's your thing. Their carne asada fries, a plate of freshly-fried potatoes topped with marinated, griled steak chunks, grilled onions, guac and sour cream. Hit that baby with freshly squeezed lime, some salsa verde and I'll bet you can't clean the mound of food off that 10-inch plate.

                  Bob

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: Bob Mervine
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                    Big Bad Voodoo Lou RE: Bob Mervine Jul 23, 2005 02:26 PM

                    I live near Beto's on 436 and 17-92 and have never tried it for whatever reason. I'm going to have to check them out! Thank you, Bob.

                    I also drive past that brightly-colored Azteca house on my way home from work in downtown Kissimmee every day. One of these days... I wish my friends were more adventurous eaters, though!

                    1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
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                      Bob Mervine RE: Big Bad Voodoo Lou Jul 24, 2005 10:45 AM

                      Lou:
                      Just don't do them both in the same week, or you'll be paying a plumber!

                      Bob

                    2. re: Bob Mervine
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                      Mish RE: Bob Mervine Jul 23, 2005 06:50 PM

                      Tried Beto's the other day (per Bob Mervine's recommendation from his book Orlando Chow--which I love BTW). Great food & EXTREMELY cheap (I over-ordered because prices were so low). Could only eat 1/2 of my chicken burrito and was stuffed. Came with small containters of hot sauces that perfectly satisfied my pregnant craving for anything spicy. Definitely recommend it--thanks Bob! :o) Oh, I went through the take out window so I can't comment on dine-in experience.

                      1. re: Mish
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                        Bob Mervine RE: Mish Jul 24, 2005 09:34 AM

                        I warned you about over-ordering in the book! I did it twice.
                        Inside the Altamonte location (they also have one on the South Orange Blossom Trail), things have improved. Overall, the place is cleaner, there are a few decorations and new paint and a few less point-of-sale sign-up applications for buying time share or a fitness center membership. Their signage has changed to add photos of some of the items, and occasionally I'll notice a small price increase on an item.
                        They moved the condiments out into the center of the room, so, most importantly, you missed the luscious carrot/jalapeno salad and the fresh pico de gallo.

                        Bob

                        1. re: Mish
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                          Mary RE: Mish Jul 24, 2005 10:29 PM

                          Where does one get this book?

                          1. re: Mary
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                            Mish RE: Mary Jul 24, 2005 11:04 PM

                            Ordered the book on amazon.com after another chowhound posted the link below (a review on the book). The day it arrived I dug right in and didn't put it down until I was done. He touched on many places that I never heard of (I've lived in Orlando 7 yrs) and a long list of places I'm now dying to try...just have to wait for those babysitter nights before I can! Enjoy--I certainly have!

                            Link: http://www.roadtripamerica.com/read/O...

                        2. re: Bob Mervine
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                          Big Bad Voodoo Lou RE: Bob Mervine Jul 29, 2005 06:34 PM

                          A friend just brought me to another great Mexican place in Orlando (Winter Park, actually): Paco's, which is on Fairbanks right near the I-4 exit. It's a tiny little hole-in-the-wall, down the street from all the chain restaurants along 17-92. Delicious food, and the place smelled fantastic as soon as we went in. I ordered a chili-chimi, this huge chimichanga smothered in spicy red chili con carne, melted cheese, and sliced jalapenos. My friend got a beautiful-looking enchilada, but I didn't pay too close attention because I was so enraptured by what I ordered. For dessert, we split a delicious hot apple-cinnamon chimichanga a la mode. The prices were quite affordable, the portions were big, and I was incredibly impressed. I still haven't been to Beto's yet, but Paco's was the best Mexican meal I've had since moving to the Orlando area this past December.

                          1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
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                            Bob Mervine RE: Big Bad Voodoo Lou Jul 30, 2005 12:01 AM

                            Agree.

                            It's Tex-Mex, primarily however.

                            Great quesidillas.

                            Bob

                          2. re: Bob Mervine
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                            hellxonxheels RE: Bob Mervine Aug 14, 2007 04:41 PM

                            yay betos! i miss betos!!!!

                            1. re: Bob Mervine
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                              hellxonxheels RE: Bob Mervine Oct 9, 2007 06:23 PM

                              thank gawd someone else on hear sings the praises of betos!!! thank you bob...thank you.

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                              Mish RE: Mary Jul 31, 2005 08:38 PM

                              Just tried PR's in Lake Mary tonight. I have one word for the food--YUCK. Queso dip tasted like velveeta with salsa mixed in. Salsa was edible but nothing special. The waitress convinced me to try their blackened chicken funitos or funudos or something like that...anyway it had cream cheese in it (which sent up red flags right away) but the waitress convinced me it was their most popular item and claimed it was awesome. I took two bites of it and my stomach lurched. It was disgusting. Even the lemonade was watered down. I won't go back to that place ever again.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Mish
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                                Mike RE: Mish Aug 15, 2005 09:26 PM

                                You know, ten years ago there was no answer to your question. Orlando was in love with Tex-mex and the choices in the "Best of..." contests showed it. Back then, you could open a place like Don Pablo's and make money. There still are those who don't know better, but thankfully, times are changing.

                                I started driving west to Orlando years ago to visit Garibaldis on a frequent basis. Rons's LA Taco, one of the best there's ever been failed because not enough people could relate to Cal-Mex. Now, there are good small places all over town that serve good food. Some are better than others, but they all do a decent job.

                                It's nice to have choices in Orlando. By the way, the boom seems to have coincided with the opening of the Mexican Consulate a couple of years back.

                                1. re: Mike
                                  bkhuna RE: Mike Aug 13, 2007 07:05 PM

                                  Ron's LA Taco was one of the first authentic tacqueria's in Orlando. When I moved back to the area from San Diego, I wept uncontrollably for months on end until I found it and Girabaldi. I even drove to Mt. Dora a few times after Ron moved, but now, with so much good stuff all around, there’s no need for the road trip.

                                  Now, you can't swing a dead gato by the tail without hitting a decent place to get real Mexican food.

                                  Viva la reconquista!

                                  1. re: bkhuna
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                                    theflytyr RE: bkhuna Aug 14, 2007 02:02 PM

                                    Hey bkhuna, does Ron have a place in Mt Dora and if so what is the name. I loved his place near Bumby on Colonial...fond memories!!!!!!!!!!

                                    1. re: theflytyr
                                      bkhuna RE: theflytyr Aug 14, 2007 02:47 PM

                                      After he disappeared from Orlando, he opened a little place in Mr. Dora. It's been at least 4 years since I was there. It was in a converted gas station and I think it sat on the corner or 46 and 441.

                                      I doubt it's even there any longer :(

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                                Scotch RE: Mary Nov 12, 2006 04:22 PM

                                Bob,

                                Thank you for all your helpful suggestions on this board -- we're heading off to Orlando this December for our WDW vacation and I've been reading as many of your Orlando suggestionis as I can. Unlike our recent visits, we'll be staying "off-site" this time with a car. I'm originally from southern California but have been living in Iowa for many years. I've been craving baja style fish tacos recently and would love to know if there is some place near WDW for good baja/Cal-Mex type of fish tacos? We'll be staying at Cypress Pointe Resort on Treasure Cay Ln and visiting the various Disney parks. We have a 2 year old and would prefer not to drive more than 15 or 20 miles for food. Does any of the Mexican restaurant options you recommend on this thread serve fish tacos, particularly the type I'm envisioning? It sounds like Beto's might work, but Altamonte is farther than I'd like to travel; I looked up the South Orange Blossom Trail location on google maps and that looks doable. But on another thread you mentioned that location is in a rough part of town -- is that restaurant location one where we wouldn't want to bring a two year old in for a sit down meal?

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Scotch
                                  bkhuna RE: Scotch Aug 13, 2007 07:08 PM

                                  I lived in San Diego for many years and spent many weekends in Ensenada and points south. In spite of what you here on the board, an no offense to those who have made recommendation, the fish taco offerings in Orlando aren't up to SoCal standards.

                                  Good, yes. But will they meet your requirements? Maybe, maybe not. Must be the lack of shark.

                                2. Bob Mervine RE: Mary Nov 12, 2006 07:53 PM

                                  You'll be fine on the SOBT, unless you go late at night and act foolish. They do make great Baja-style fish tacos.

                                  Houlihan's, believe it or not, also does a pretty good version. There's on on I-Drive (9150 International Dr, Orlando, 32819 - (407) 363-0043) that isn't too far a trek.

                                  Another local chain called baja Burrito does a pretty good version, but none on that end of town that I can find on Google.

                                  Hope that helps.

                                  Bob

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Bob Mervine
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                                    Scotch RE: Bob Mervine Nov 12, 2006 08:06 PM

                                    Thanks for the quick reply, Bob. I did find Baja Burrito during my research but was disappointed to find they were all located farther than we'd care to travel. How does Houlihan's version compare with Beto's? (I assume it is much pricier.)

                                    1. re: Scotch
                                      Bob Mervine RE: Scotch Nov 13, 2006 01:37 AM

                                      Much pricier and less authentic. The chain thing, you know.

                                      But maybe a 2-year-old would have a better experience at Houlihan's.

                                      I'd make the journey to Beto's if it were me.

                                      Bob

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                                    a330boy RE: Mary Sep 6, 2007 08:37 AM

                                    I would like to add one comment about Beto's-for a moderate size delicious meal try the 5 Rolled Tacos special. A full-on meal for about $2.50! The Breakfast Burrito at $2.35 is huge and outragously good, too.

                                    Concerning the security of the area, it is not really bad, but I gotta tell you that I took my 18 year old nephew there at about 2pm and he got to see his very first prosititute. They work the OBT sidewalk.

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                                      anneks RE: Mary Sep 6, 2007 08:46 AM

                                      My husband loves a dish called chili colorado he had in Old Town San Diego and we'd love to find it here in Orlando. Has anyone had any great chili colorado in Orlando?

                                      10 Replies
                                      1. re: anneks
                                        Bob Mervine RE: anneks Sep 6, 2007 07:35 PM

                                        A quick glance at Google shows the recipes for it all sound like basic chili. Colorado just refers to the color red. Perhaps it was the specific recipe where you tasted it, but I'm not familiar with any specific dish by this name served around here.

                                        Bob

                                        1. re: Bob Mervine
                                          Bob Mervine RE: Bob Mervine Sep 6, 2007 07:47 PM

                                          Further searching adds some more info. I'm confused, but a chef in Brooklyn describes it as:

                                          ""The Chili Colorado is slow-roasted Pork Butt that we roast for four hours in a low temp oven, then stew it for another couple hours in our homemade Chili Verde Sauce that is available by the bottle in the restaurant. We also have the same green sauce on every table for our customers to enjoy. We then make homemade creamy Polenta, two poached eggs and Roasted peppers, all served with great toast. We will be Serving the Chili Every Brunch, Saturday and Sunday. We are considering putting it on are everyday menu as well."

                                          Here's a photo of the dish.

                                          I guess my shot in the dark about red chili was sure off base . . .

                                          Hope this helps.

                                          Bob

                                           
                                          1. re: Bob Mervine
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                                            anneks RE: Bob Mervine Sep 7, 2007 06:04 AM

                                            Hi Bob - Thanks for looking. I've found the restaurant where he had the dish and the description. La Pinata in Old Town - here's the menu description: "Tender chunks of beef mixed with a sauce of tomatoes, onion, cilantro and green chiles. Served with rice, beans and hot tortillas." It does sound like regular chili, but it's not. I think I'll just email the restaurant and see it they'll share the recipe - given that we're all the way across the country!

                                            1. re: anneks
                                              bkhuna RE: anneks Sep 7, 2007 10:30 AM

                                              The difference is that in authentic Mexican chili's, the base ingrediant for the sauce is, in fact, chilis. Dried red chiles soaked and pureed to make a chile paste which is the heart, soal, and color of chili. If it has tomatoes in the chili sauce, it's an American adaptation. Mexican chiles don't have them. It's no doubt yummy, but just not very authentic.

                                              Having lived in San Diego for years (just down the steet from Old Town) and having married into a Mexican family, let me say that while Old Town has many restaurants that serve good food, the renditions are more akin to Tex Mex than authentic Mexican. Old Town is a great place to take conventioneers, easterners, etc., but it's not all that authentic. They don't try to be, it's designed for the tourists.

                                              Not that there's anything wrong with that.

                                              1. re: bkhuna
                                                Bob Mervine RE: bkhuna Sep 7, 2007 04:21 PM

                                                As a long time competitive chili cook and judge, bkhuna pretty much has it nailed.

                                                If you are from Cincinnati, your chili -- based on a Greek cook's take on the concept and now known as Coney sauce or Sklyine, depending on the city -- is radically differ from Francis Xaviar Tolbert's Texas bowl of red.

                                                There's no right or wrong, it's what you like.

                                                That said, any chili with beans in it is an abomination.

                                                Bob

                                                1. re: Bob Mervine
                                                  bkhuna RE: Bob Mervine Sep 7, 2007 06:23 PM

                                                  Bob, I grow fonder of your posts as time goes by :)

                                                  1. re: bkhuna
                                                    Bob Mervine RE: bkhuna Sep 8, 2007 06:48 AM

                                                    (blush)

                                                    Thanks. Notes such as your thoughtful missive are one of the main reasons I write for this board. . .

                                                    Bob

                                                    1. re: Bob Mervine
                                                      bkhuna RE: Bob Mervine Sep 10, 2007 03:49 AM

                                                      Back to the origianl thread, I've discovered a little hole in the wall I think you might like to check out.

                                                      On South Semoran just south of the 408 is a old strip mall . Every shop is Hispanic (well duh, it is after all Azalea Park) and there are a couple of little food shops worth the visit. One is called Las Delicias Grill and it is the only Pupuseria I've seen in Orlando. They also serve wonderful tacos and other odds and ends. The pupusa were out of this word. Warning: it's a true point and eat place. When we got there, the owner was in the back and the lady that helped us didn't speak a word of English. Kind of added to the charm.

                                                      In the same strip mall is the Las Americas supermarket. It's the largest Hispanic supermarket I've come across in Orlando and has products I haven't come across anywhere else. I paid $2.99 for a half gallon of Tapatio, how's that for cheap.

                                                      Next trip, I'm going to try the other Mexican taco shop located in the same strip mall.

                                                  2. re: Bob Mervine
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                                                    Big Bad Voodoo Lou RE: Bob Mervine Sep 7, 2007 07:41 PM

                                                    On that note, I really wish Orlando could get a Skyline Chili parlor. I found the recipe online years ago and made it, since my family always served our chili over spaghetti noodles anyway. I have also visited the two Skyline Chili locations in Broward County, confirming that not only is it awesome, but that the online recipe wasn't 100% accurate. I know Skyline is a rarity outside of Ohio, but Broward can support two locations so I would hope one could do well enough in our market. What do you think, Bob, knowing the market so much better than I do?

                                                    1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
                                                      Bob Mervine RE: Big Bad Voodoo Lou Sep 8, 2007 07:18 AM

                                                      Midwesterners flock here and Skyline is a nationally recognized brand. Seems the audience and the product should work together.

                                                      The current Skyline Web site doesn't list anything in Brevard, just SW Florida and Ft. Lauderdale.
                                                      http://www.skylinechili.com/locations...

                                                      If you like that style of dog, you can get a decent substitute at Detroit Joe's downtown. I definitely isn't Skyline or even Cincinatti-style, it's the thinned down version people from Michigan call Coney-style, But it'll do in a pinch.

                                                      I think a Skyline restauant here would do very well, whether they built a big one in a high traffic location or spread 4-5 of them around places like UCF, downtown, etc.

                                                      You can get a good dog at Pup's off Sand Lake and Chubby's in Maitland -- not to mention Kappy's nearby, a 30-year-old landmark for great Philly cheese steaks also (think I'm gonna' lunch there today) --, but Hot Dog Heaven clearly rules the roost.

                                                      I also like the dogs at Jazzy's Cafe near the downtown train station, but she microwaves them and that ruins the consistancy of the Vienna dog's skin. They need to be served "dirty water" style, that is cooked and kept in very hot water so the skin maintains its snappy consistancy.

                                                      I think a Skyline could give them a run for their money by offering a different, but still familiar style.

                                                      Bob

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                                          mutabletao RE: Mary Aug 24, 2009 02:19 PM

                                          I keep seeing Garibaldi's and Beto's mentioned here.. and they are both fantastic. I grew up in SoCal (Fallbrook, Avacado capitol of the world) and ate a lot of mexican growing up. Beto's is a take off on Roberto's in SD (I was told that the guy who started Beto's here in Orlando used to run the Roberto's at 67th and University in San Deigo). Menu, graphics, prices, operating hours, etc.. are identical. Only the name is changed. Beto's is more CA mexican (Baja style) whereas Garibaldi's is more Central Mexican style. There isn't a really great pure Baja style in Orlando that I've found ( if anyone knows of one, let me know) - I did find a place in lighthouse point called the Baja Cafe that does an excellent crab enchiladas. I miss beer battered shark tacos, lobster meat tacos, crab enchiladas, etc. The fish tacos at Beto's are good...

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                                            a330boy RE: Mary May 12, 2014 12:27 PM

                                            For whatever reason the restaurant, "Beto's" mentioned many times in previous threads below, is now Toño's".

                                            As far as I can tell it is the same menu and prices.

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