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Anybody else like Tijuana Flats?

It's not tremendously innovative, but the food's usually fresh and the combination of fresh (not canned) jalapeño and flaming hot salsa makes it one of the few places in Florida where I can satisfy my hot tooth.

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  1. Where is it??? Florida is a big state!

    1. It's a smallish chain that started in Orlando. There's one a block from where I work in Ft. Walton Beach.

      I know they're nowhere close to authentic but I like them for lunch. They don't use lard (a plus in my book), use fresh ingrdients, and have it set up so if you're looking for something less greasy, you can get the flavor of your lunch from the hot sauces rather than excessive fats.

      1. They have about 50 locations in about 7-8 states, See their Web site for specifics about where and other details. It's actually a pretty entertaining site.


        As for the food, it isn't anything close to authentic Mexican, more along the lines of other Tex-Mex regional chains.

        Emphasis is on fresh, which means things taste better, and on a wide variety of different hot sauces -- each location has its own hot sauce bar with 12-16 sauces which change regularly.
        Food's cheap, service is good, they have a cool attitude. For what it is at that price point, what's not to like?


        1. Their chimichanga is awesome. I haven't been there in a while, but I like it a lot. I wish they put out more mild-to-medium hot sauces, as usually the majority of them are way too hot and cause great damage later.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

            Good but I like Moe's better. I think the food quality is equal, but I think Moe's wraps a better burrito, and their salsa is more to my liking (I like a little substance to mine)

            1. re: theflytyr

              I like Moe's better than Tijuana Flats because Moe's has a salsa bar rather than a hot sauce bar, and I'll eat salsa like it's going out of style, whereas most hot sauces render food inedible for me, or just kill my guts.

          2. I haven't been there, but my husband tried it on a recent trip to Orlando and said it was HORRIBLE. Granted, we are recent transplants from Texas and have very high standards for Tex-Mex. In our experience, Florida is extremely deficient in good Tex Mex, although we have found some gems of Mexican (as opposed to Tex Mex) restaurants in Clearwater.

            1. Not sure from laurie's post which one -- Moe's or TF -- her husband thinks was horrible, but for me the menu items at Moe's are so bland as to be inedible.

              Plus, please tell those people to shut up when I walk in the door. It drives me crazy.

              If you haven't tried Baja Burrito Kitchen, they are worth a visit. Lou, their food has good flavor AND they have a salsa bar.

              And then there's Beto's . . .

              1 Reply
              1. re: Bob Mervine

                I like Baja Burrito also, especially their fish taco. Salsa bar is also tasty although personally I like Moes better. I haven't found Moes food to be bland as Bob has, and the greeting doesn't personally bother me, unlike Gates BBQ in KC, MO where everyone is greeted with "Hi May I Help You". To me that is annoying, but it is their signature, and now days everyone seems to have an angle.

              2. I went once, to the location in Tampa n Carrolwood in Tampa on Dale Mabry Hwy...

                I was shocked after tasting the first big bite of their Chimichanga...
                I got some kinda 2 choice combo plate but I wished I just ordered two Chimis...

                The thing tasted good!

                Yagotta forget about the 'authenticity' dimension, and just look at it as decent food...

                I thought everything on the plate was really above average!
                The refried beans and cheese--- the rice---and I thought the hot sauce bar was fun...

                I also went to Moe's ONCE, and it was good... The burrito was bigger, but was just decent 'moosh' I thought...

                This stuff at Tijuana Flats seemed more of a tested and marketed recipe, rather than a bunch of elements tossed on a tortilla, wrapped-up, and tossed at ya...

                I'm trying to do Atkins so I can't really put it all to the real testarooni...

                1. I like Tijuana Flats, might be a location by location variation but the one on 4th St. in St. Petersburg has consistently been good for me. Their stuff is not upscale or authentic but it is fresh, so I like their salads with steak or chicken on them and also like their burritos, chimichangas, etc.

                  1. i've eaten at two TFs in central fl and neither impressed me. i did, however, enjoy the baja kitchen when it was around.

                    then again, i've never really had "awesome" mexican food. except when in mexico.

                    1. I'm kinda biased being from San Diego where cheap, good mexican food is abundant. Tijuana Flats pricey for what you get. Go to Moe's. It's a better chain.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: curleegurl

                        I'm with your curleegurl. I moved from Florida to San Diego in 1975 and lived there on and off until 1975. With maybe one or two exceptions (Beto's on 436 and the long gone L.A. Taco) finding a decent burrito is the holy grail of foodstuffs.

                        Those who like Tiajuana Flats, Moes, Baja Burrito Kitchen, etc., just don't know what they're missing. I wish we had all the Roberto's, Los Panchos, Albertos,Robertitos, etc., etc.

                        Give me al pastor or give me death!

                      2. For what it's worth to those who care about such things: My daughter is a server at Tijuana Flatulents. They treat their employees like the crap they serve.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: wishbugger

                          So the employees are fresh and lard free?

                          I have had really good experiences with TF management. They have messed up my order countless times, not a big deal except to a pregnant wife craving black beans and not blackened chicken. TF management sent me gift certs and a sauce pack to say sorry. Nice enough folks. I don't really care for Moe's salsa, as it tastes like Pace Picante to me. TF does have a good salsa, if you order it, not the sauce bar. I consider Tijuana Flats authentic UCF food.

                        2. I recently tasted the best burrito of my life. Whether it fits your style or not, I do not know. It was at a small place in Clearwater called Don Pedro's which is on U.S. 19 just north of Sunset Point Road, on the west side. It is located beside the Dogwater Cafe. I've written about their great taco's before, but not their burritos. Just unbelievably delicious and very rustic. Also cheap. Well worth the trip for anyone who craves good Mexican food. By the way, better brush up on your spanish before you get there. I generally have to order by the "point and grunt" method.

                          1. OK guys, I went to the new Tijuana Flats in Port Orange, FL -- because I didn't know they were counter service. (I hate counter service.)

                            I have a question for you -- do all the locations use plastic plates/cups/utensils? Because that was the most irritating part of the meal. The food wasn't bad, for the price, but I felt like I was in a mall food court.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Covert Ops

                              In response to Covert Ops - yes, I believe that most use plastic and styrofoam (sp?) for their plates cups and utensils however, that may be a personal decision that the franchise owner makes. They are also all counter service facilities.

                              Personally, I like the Flats better than Moe's for the freshness of the food. I also don't care much for the 'welcome' that *everyone* gets when entering the store. Once or twice, okay - 15 or 20 before I even sit to eat is rather excessive. Also, I think it is worth the extra few bucks for freshly made food.

                              I'm not a huge salsa fan, but I do like the salsas found at Moe's. Hot sauce is more my style. I do agree with someone who posted earlier, though - I wish they would put out more mid range sauces. Some of the hots are just *too* hot (which I never thought I would say!).

                              Please take this post with a grain of salt, as my roommate has been a TF manager for about a year now. That could be a reason why I have never had a bad experience when I eat there - with or without him.