Café Pacifico Covent Garden restaurant review
London isn’t exactly known for great Mexican restaurants, which means that it is very easy to visit a bad one. Café Pacifico, however, has been open for business since 1982 and built a solid reputation. It has a great, central location but is slightly hidden from view, so it isn’t a London restaurant option that you’re likely to be familiar with: it’s a true hidden gem.
The large bar has helped it to build its reputation, because it takes its tequila and mezcal seriously. There’s a whole list dedicated to Margaritas made with agave nectar rather than triple sec (the bar will happily mix in one of a variety of tequilas and mezcals if you ask), a separate list of tequila cocktails, classic cocktails and, if you prefer the dark stuff, another cocktail list dedicated to rum.
The colourful dining room is an energetic place with a casual, friendly vibe. Everybody gets tortilla chips and salsa to start and the menu covers most of the Mexican standards, such as quesadillas (£8.75), enchiladas (£12.95) and tacos (£13.75 for three).
We particularly enjoyed the tempura seabass and king prawn tacos, which are stuffed with plump chunks of fish and seafood, then covered in jicama (from yam beans) coleslaw, smoked chilli mayonnaise, black beans and tomatillo salsa. A sizzling platter of beef fillet, prawns and mushrooms with tortillas (£22) was well-spiced and tasty, but huge; order this platter to share and you won’t need to order much more. Overall, the kitchen delivers appealing, generous plates, making this a good-value London dining option that gets the basics right.
We visited early on a Wednesday evening and the dining room was packed, so you should expect a lively atmosphere. If you’re looking for a laid-back, affordable restaurant (or bar) experience that isn’t on the typical London tourism route, Café Pacifico is a good place to start.
Prices correct at time of publishing
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