I turned 29 on October 24th of this year. Just 24 hours before my big day, we were invited to a tasting at a new Mexican restaurant in Beverly Hills called Taberna Mexicana. Chyrstal, sadly, had a last minute conflict, so I flew solo on this one. I was still happy to check out Taberna nonetheless, as we were specifically going for their all day Sunday Happy Hour filled with $4 menu selections of beer, wine, and margaritas. Yep! All day. Every week. 4 bucks!
The moment I sat down, I was immediately greeted with some crispy plantain, yucca and blue corn strips next to an array of fresh green and red salsas. In no time flat, the St. Rita–one of Taberna’s signature margaritas, made with St. Germain, Azul Tequila and fresh Key Lime Juice–was in my hand. This set the mood for the rest of the afternoon, as I was now perfectly primed to begin tasting their finest menu offerings.
Dining with me was another blogger, Caroline from The Daily Truffle. We were joined by Brittany, one of the restaurants very gracious managers, who ushered us through the entire dining experience. First up, we were brought a round of food off their Happy Hour menu. The most notable item was a beautiful plate of guacamole garnished with pumpkin seeds and topped with queso fresco. The famous Mexican cheese added the nice touch of saltiness to a near perfect guacamole in presentation and in taste.
Taberna was conceived by Chef Alex Padilla, a Honduras native who earned an impressive culinary pedigree in Houston, TX. As we sipped and chomped our way through the afternoon, Brittany shared more and more about the restaurant with us. I learned that every single dish served in the restaurant is made in house from scratch. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Plus, their bar only uses artisan tequila that originates from “small batch” distilleries, insuring an added level of craftsmanship and improved taste. One ingredient you won’t find at Taberna, though, which is commonly prevalent in authentic Mexican food is lard. Like it or not, olive oil is used instead, making their dishes indeed healthier, lighter, and more conducive for enjoying anytime of the day.
Again, to reiterate, each item we were munching on is usually priced at $4 as part of their Happy Hour. I admit, I was expecting “Happy-Meal” portion sizes of the food for a minimal price like that. Not only were the portions filling, to my surprise, but the food was indeed sensational and bursting with flavor. Here are a just a few of the Happy Hour samplings we were given…
Believe when I say, after all this food I was full at this point in the tasting. It made no matter, though, because the drinks kept flowing and we hadn’t even made it to dessert yet–oh yes, how could you forget dessert! Before the sweets arrived, I sampled their seasonal Pumpkin Margarita and tasted a Mole Margarita–both drinks are listed on their regular cocktail menu. The mole one was comprised of a homemade mole sauce, lemon juice, and of course tequila. The rim of the glass was lined with dried chili peppers, which added a blitz of spiciness to a surprisingly refreshing cocktail. The pumpkin version starts with pumpkin pieces sauteed in butter and then pureed into a light mixer. It had minimal spices typically associated with fall and pumpkin flavored treats, such as cinnamon, cloves, and the like. Instead, the cocktail was surprisingly light and pleasant.
Next, as mentioned above, the desserts began to fill the table. We were bedazzled with a pretty Coconut Tart and a Mexican staple, Tres Leche Cake. Now, I acknowledge I am probably being overly dramatic with this next statement, but without a doubt that freaking cake was the best tres leche cake I have ever tasted! They smooth a layer of fresh marshmallow on top of the cake, and it rests in a pool of thick, velvety sweet cream. It was pure sin on a fork. Simply divine.
Along with these two sweet delights came a third dessert. I was surprised with a birthday candle burning in their Flourless Mexican Chocolate Cake served with Horchata Ice cream. Somewhere between all the sips of margarita, I must have let slip that I had a pending birthday just around the corner. I must say, I was extremely grateful for the sweet gesture, but even more so for that Horchata Ice cream. I made a batch of Horcata Ice cream myself several weeks ago, but Taberna’s was unbelievable. It had the perfect balance of sweetness with a delicate hint of cinnamon spice. That ice cream combined with the Tres Leche Cake shot me off to another world of decadence. I simply need more of these two sweet blessings in my life!
This Happy Hour extends throughout the rest of the week: Tuesday thru Saturday 3PM-8PM. If you happen to be there on a Monday, the specials continue until the end of the last ball game, which are usually playing at the bar. Of course it goes without saying, they have more going on that happy hour, as they boast original lunch, dinner, and brunch menus as well.
Taberna Mexicana prides itself for being more than your average Mexican restaurant, elevating authentic Mexican fare to new heights of gourmet cooking. And I must say, they do a fantastic job at distinguishing themselves among every other Mexican eatery around town, especially so in a city that is overflowing with authentic Latino food. They offer flavorful dishes and awesome cocktails in a prime location for killer prices. The bottom line is you can’t beat a $4 Happy Hour menu with this many amazing offerings. G’won and add this one to your list and check Taberna out stat! You may just see one or both of us at the bar sipping a margarita or relaxing on the patio with some Tres Leche Cake.
369 North Bedford Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Disclaimer: Taberna Mexicana offered these complimentary menu tastings. The opinions expressed here are our own.
UPDATE: Taberna Mexicana is now closed.