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Newbie Mexican Restos in Lutz and St. Pete--Anyone have the scoop?

The St. Pete Times reported in its "Small Bites" column today about a couple new Mexican restaurants in the Tampa area. Mariposa Mexican Grille, in Lutz, was opened by Roy's Tampa founding chef. In St. Pete, Zapata's recently opened downtown, close to Baywalk. Have any Chowhounds tried either of these, and if so, do you have a report?

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  1. Went to Mariposa on their second day open and paid $16 for a ceviche appetizer and tacos. Had to wait a long time for my food, which I ordered 15 minutes prior to their closing time of 9pm (seems early for a Saturday). The skirt steak tacos were tasty if maybe skimpy, I loved the lime flavor. The ceviche was fresh if a bit oniony, but I'm not a ceviche expert. Chips were fresh and house salsa was good (and were free)- they were out of the other salsas on the bar and also out of the sopes on the menu which I initially wanted. I thought it was good and I'll go back for lunch probably. I'm not sure how Lutz suburbanites will respond- it might not be enough of a value, but time will tell.
    Now I know why I saw Rand Packer in Burrito Brothers when it opened- similar concept. What happened to Burrito Brothers anyway? They didn't last long.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rikkikm

      I went to Burrito Brothers and was really excited to try it out. To be honest it wasn't bad, it just wasn't anything special. I didn't know it had closed though.

    2. My husband and I tried Mariposa Mexican Grille Saturday night and I can tell you the food was tasty and the atmosphere was relaxing. Steak tacos were my choice and they were delicious. Our drink of choice was sangria and I drank most of the pitcher so that will tell you how good it was. =) My favorite though was the chips and salsa with lime squeezed over them. Each bite taste like a margarita.

      The overall service was outstanding. Best success to Mariposa Mexican Grille.

      Debbie Plennert
      http://www.fizzlecrow.com

      7 Replies
      1. re: fizzlecrow

        do they have tableservice or is it counter service?

        1. re: rhnault

          yes, and where in Lutz is it (we travel back and forth between our homes in VT and Tampa) Thanks in advance

          1. re: beccaboo

            The St. Pete Times just gave Mariposa a very good review today. I'm going to try to make it up there within the next week or so (it's a jaunt for me), and will report back.

            1. re: laurie

              Weekly Planet gave it a so-so review this week http://tampa.creativeloafing.com/gyro...

              Why do the St Pete Times and the Weekly Planet review the same restaurants each week? Are there that few restaurants around that we can't get a bit more diversity?

              Anyway, enough griping lol. I do want to try Mariposa soon.

              1. re: rhnault

                The most important reason is that the Times and Creative Loafing don't coordinate our schedules. Seriously, though, I think we both try to stay on top of the new and interesting places, and we both wait at least a month, so overlap is likely when reviewing new joints.

          2. re: fizzlecrow

            I tried the plantain nachos, sopes, chicken eggrolls and the shrimp salad. The nachos were my favorite and the sopes and eggrolls were also very good. I could have done without the salad, however. The chips and salsa were also very good. I can't drink, but my mother really enjoyed the sangria.

          3. I've been to Zapata's twice, and it was pretty good, especially for the price. The first time I went, it was pretty late, so the mariachis had already cleared out. The food came out fast, and was tasty-- I especially liked their homemade sangria. I got a combo platter, which was a pretty good sampling of like 3 different items for $8. The b/f got a mole dish, which he liked a lot. The second time we went, their computer system went down right in the middle of dinner, so it took quite a while to get our food, plus they brought me the wrong combo platter. (I didn't complain, seeing as how I was thinking of ordering that one anyhow...). Overall, I thought the food was pretty decent-- a lot better than Estella's and some others I have tried in the area. Plus, you can park in the adjacent garage and they will validate for you, so you can avoid the downtown / Baywalk parking fees.

            3 Replies
            1. re: JB222

              Algusto's (Kennedy Blvd just west of downtown Tampa) is flat out the best Mexican restaurant in the area. www.algustomexicanrestaurant.com For me, it's the salpicon and pozole.

              1. re: srcusa

                mmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmm now I am craving some Algusto. I love their flan!

              2. re: JB222

                Zapata's is terrible IMO. Z Grille on Central is much, much better.

              3. We came out from CA to visit my brother who happens to live walking distance to Mariposa. What a wonderful place!! The food was fabulous and the people working there were very friendly. We loved the Sangria and my husband thought the fish tacos were the best he's had (and we live in San Diego!) We visited several times during our trip and truly enjoyed the experience.