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

laurie Jul 18, 2007 04:57 AM

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. r
    rikkikm RE: laurie Jul 18, 2007 07:16 AM

    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
      rhnault RE: rikkikm Jul 18, 2007 08:21 AM

      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. f
      fizzlecrow RE: laurie Aug 21, 2007 11:42 AM

      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

      7 Replies
      1. re: fizzlecrow
        rhnault RE: fizzlecrow Aug 21, 2007 12:09 PM

        do they have tableservice or is it counter service?

        1. re: rhnault
          beccaboo RE: rhnault Aug 21, 2007 12:13 PM

          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
            laurie RE: beccaboo Aug 23, 2007 05:24 AM

            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
              rhnault RE: laurie Aug 23, 2007 06:06 AM

              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
                Bries RE: rhnault Aug 26, 2007 10:37 AM

                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: laurie
                Bergerman RE: laurie Aug 24, 2007 09:13 AM

                Here's a link the Times review. It does sound good.

          2. re: fizzlecrow
            queencru RE: fizzlecrow Aug 26, 2007 03:09 PM

            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. j
            JB222 RE: laurie Aug 21, 2007 02:03 PM

            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
              srcusa RE: JB222 Aug 24, 2007 07:07 AM

              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
                rhnault RE: srcusa Aug 24, 2007 09:34 AM

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

              2. re: JB222
                spigot RE: JB222 Aug 28, 2007 09:56 PM

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

              3. k
                kym12 RE: laurie Dec 26, 2007 02:34 PM

                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.

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