From Iceland — Santa María

Santa María

Published May 9, 2008

Santa María

Don’t you just love it when you discover a new restaurant, one with fair prices and good food? The kind that leaves you feeling surprised and satisfied. Well that’s how I’m feeling now upon my return home from Santa Maria.
This Mexican-style bistro, located at Laugavegur 22a, has just recently opened its doors. The aim, the owner told me, was to create an affordable place where one can find real Mexican food, the kind you come a cross in an ordinary Mexican household. And that’s precisely what they’ve done.
First it should be noted that the prices are among the lowest I have encountered in a restaurant in Iceland. Not one course was priced above 1000 ISK. Now many of you are probably thinking that cheap prices equal poor food. Well a lot of times you would be right in that assumption, but not this time.
The sheer amount of authenticity that characterises the courses at Santa Maria is enough to make you wrong. The real taste of Mexico, the way it’s meant to be, is what you’ll get. You won’t come across the watered down, American versions we’re all so used to, and that is what separates Santa Maria from all the dull and often disappointing “Tex-Mex” places we have so many of in Reykjavik.
But on to the food. For starters, my date and I decided to share a course of Molletes, which are bread buns with Mexican beans, melted cheese and Pico de Gallo. It turned out to be a light, enjoyable and surprisingly hot course. As for the main courses, we had Enchiladas de Mole and Tacos Dorados de Pollo. Now for those of you who aren’t fluent in Spanish, that translates to enchiladas with mole sauce and fried corn tortilla with chicken. If you haven’t tried mole sauce before you should absolutely have the enchiladas. The sauce is one of Mexico’s oldest secrets, made from six different kinds of chillies, various spices and chocolate. There’s just nothing like it. Both of the dishes came with salad, onions, sour cream and cheese. And just in case you’re wondering, they were both absolutely delicious.
Santa Maria is a wonderful addition to the restaurant flora and fauna in Reykjavik. The food is excellent and the service is warm and personal. Whatever the occasion, Santa Maria comes highly recommended.

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