Recently I spent a Friday evening with some friends of mine at Rocco’s Tacos on Sand Lake Road, also known as Orlando’s Restaurant Row. I arrived there just past 7:00pm with a friend of mine. The patio bar was full of people ordering drinks and waiting for tables. It was a lively crowd.
We walked through the front door to an even more packed restaurant with two indoor bars filled with people still in their work clothes from the day. The rest of our party was already there and seated in a booth. We took our seats and a waiter swiftly came by to take our drink orders. I ordered the Pama Rita from their specialty margaritas menu and turned to chat with my friends as the waiter whisked himself away to turn in our drink order.
We began pouring over the menu and I realized how hungry I was! When our waiter brought us our drinks we decided to order their famous guacamole. It is wildly expensive in my opinion (12 bucks for a bowl!), but it is prepared fresh at your table-side, served with some of the most delicious tortilla chips EVER, and mixed in a traditional lava rock bowl, which I fully believe makes it taste about a million times better than guacamole in just a regular bowl. Needless to say, we ate it all.
Since the place is called Rocco’s Tacos I decided to order some tacos as my dinner. I got one Pollo (pulled chicken) and one Pesca (blackened mahi… YUM!). Some other dishes ordered at our table were quesadillas and burritos, which looked absolutely mouthwatering as well. All of their tacos come with taco sauce, lettuce, fresh pico de gallo, cilantro, pickled red onions (which are fabulous!), and cotija cheese. This combination is absolutely amazing for your taste buds, and I practically drooled all over the table when they set my plate in front of me. I ate every bit of my food and was ungraciously licking my fingers at the end.
As fun as the night was spent in excellent company a couple of things did not particularly thrill me.
The chicken and fish and all the fresh fillings in my tacos were fantastic, but their corn tortillas left something to be desired and I ended up not even eating them. I also wasn’t 100% happy with my Pama Rita. I enjoyed it well enough, but my first few sips tasted like I was drinking straight salt water. Plus it was kind of a weak drink. If I’m paying 12 bucks for a margarita, it better have enough tequila in it for me to be slightly tipsy by the end of it!
Also on the complaint list: They have three bars throughout the establishment, which would usually sell me on a place outright. However, in Rocco’s case there is no separation between their bars and dining areas. Drinkers and diners are all mixed in together, which makes the room VERY loud. They have a DJ who spins music all night; so on top of the loud talking there was fairly loud music to contend with. My friends and I were all at the same table as you see below, and we had to shout to be heard. I could have done well if the music was maybe a little quieter. However, Rocco’s Tacos is aiming for more of a club/bar vibe. I didn’t realize that before I went there so I wasn’t ready for it. Next time I go I’ll know better, but it’s definitely not a place for quiet dining, if that’s what you’re looking for.
The bottom line is, if want a happening, wild and exciting Friday night, then Rocco’s Tacos is without a doubt the place for you. They have a great atmosphere and ambiance, and I can vouch for the pure awesomeness of their guacamole and tacos. If you want a little quieter, more relaxed dining experience, they are open for lunch at 11:30 everyday, sans overly loud music — or you can check out Latin Quarter at Universal Citywalk (they also have table-side guacamole). Also, the back of their restaurant overlooks the lake, and at sunset I’m told the view is breathtaking. Rocco’s also offers quality service and treats their customers with care.
Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar – map & links
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Official website: http://www.roccostacos.com
Online reservations: http://www.roccostacos.com/reservations.php
Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar – photo gallery
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