I am definitely making my rounds when it comes to tasting margaritas in the Boston area, because who doesn’t want the best marg at the best price? Unfortunately I did not encounter this good fortune at La Catrina.
I have to admit, I have only ended up at La Catrina when my first choice didn’t work out. After witnessing a long wait at Allston’s Lone Star Taco, a “Best of Boston” pick, twice I have (hangry and in defeat) reluctantly made my way to La Catrina.
La Catrina is a small Mexican restaurant squeezed into the bustling scenery of Commonwealth Ave in Brighton. At first glance, I liked the atmosphere. With huge collapsing windows at the front and a nice breeze filling the space, La Catrina felt enjoyable. While it lacks coziness in the arrangement of the tables and high ceilings, the dim lighting somewhat compensates. Bright décor and huge “Day of the Dead” style murals painted on the wall provides an interesting backdrop to your meal.
I was excited to sit down to complimentary chips and salsa, but my first bite was disappointing. The snack was flavorless and in dire need of some salt. The salsa was much darker than what you might call a typical salsa and tasted more like a bland tomato sauce with dark black beans. It featured no sign of any green cilantro or herbs. The second time I visited La Catrina, I was curious to see if maybe they had a bad salsa day and I was pleasantly surprised to find it more tasteful. Maybe not 100% more tasteful but it was more tolerable to munch on.
Now on to the margaritas. With about 7-8 varieties offered on the menu, La Catrina’s margaritas range in price from $7-$10. They offer simple options such as the house margarita and also specialties such as their Spicy Margarita, Hibiscus Margarita, and, their most expensive, the Loco Margarita. I tried the house and the spicy, both were satisfying but nothing special. My dining companion ordered the Loco margarita, which combines a variety of alcohols and is splashed with red sangria. This turned out to be a disastrous choice. The ‘sangria’ used tasted like a very sugary syrup and the drink overall was way too strong. After a few unpleasant sips she asked for regular sangria and was brought over a cup filled with the same sugary syrup used to make the margarita. At this point, we had lost hope.
The food, however, was very good and tasty. I adored the generous rice and beans that came with my vegetable enchiladas, served with a choice of mole sauce on top. The menu items are diverse ranging from quesadillas, tortas, enchiladas, tacos, nachos, Mexican hot dogs, tamales, soups, and salads. The prices for food were on point and affordable.
The service was mediocre and they seemed a bit dazed and confused. Overall the staff was friendly, but they didn’t understand the severity of the drink situation. (I thought that maybe this was a new waitress and she hadn’t learned the ropes yet.)
After visiting La Catrina twice, I am definitely ready to head on over to Lone Star Taco and see what all the hype is about. I promise though, no more reviews of margaritas or Mexican for a while.
La Catrina, 1620 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 03801
Website: http://www.lacatrinaboston.com/ Phone: (617) 383-5015
TripAdvisor Rating: ★★★★☆ #607/2,372 of Restaurants in Boston. $