Brevard: Bella's closing, and I need some Mexican!
I know Frank, Bella's chef, has been gone for a while. His new place is Mezza Luna, at Highland and the causeway. Same food -- oh man, I love that olive bruschetta! -- but I ate there in February and can't imagine how his mostly-outdoor dining area will fare in the summer. *shrug*
Anyways, so I haven't been to Bella's since he left, but it's still sad to see an institution like that close its doors. When I moved to Brevard in 98 it was the only place to get decent Italian food. Also was a fav spot of my dear late mother in law. RIP Bella's.
Now on to what's still open: I'm looking for a good Mexican place for a celebratory lunch. My requirements are: tasty salsa, decent-sized margaritas that are juicy and won't break the bank, a chicken chimichanga that doesn't taste like shoe leather, service that isn't openly hostile.
Here are my experiences so far:
Alamo in Rockledge: I will never set foot in there again. I went there for my last celebratory Mexican lunch, and we were the first people in the door shortly after 11 a.m. "Woohoo," I thought, "I'll get super-fresh food." BUZZ! Wrong! My food was rubbery, and cold in the middle -- obviously reheated from frozen. Hubby's too. I have many friends who swear by this place, but I can't patronize a place that thinks last night's leftovers are OK to serve.
Their margs were huge and strong, but pricey. I don't necessarily need a giant beer stein of a margarita, y'knowwhatImean?
Fiesta Azteca in Suntree: Something about that place rubbed me the wrong way. The decor was nice -- though I dearly miss the Durango's that used to be there -- and the service was friendly if mildly inattentive, but the food was beyond bland.
Fiesta Azteca in Melbourne, Wickham and Sarno: I know it's the same owners, but this was vastly better. Margaritas are small but usually 2-4-1, lots of room inside, food is above decent. They always seem to screw up my order every time I come here, though. I know all Mexican food looks alike on the plate, but this was really bad. Especially when she tried to tell me my tamale was really a chile relleno.
El Chico, near Melbourne Mall: I haven't been there in ages, but the last time I did it reminded me of a Mexican TGI Friday's. Everything was a "concept." Not sure if I'm down with that. But if they have decent enchiladas I'm willing to overlook the spinach and feta tacos.
El Leoncito, Titusville: I normally don't venture that far north, but this place looked pretty interesting. If it's truly the best in Brevard I'll make the hike for a special occasion.
Any other suggestions? Melbourne area gets extra points. Thanks! :-)