Annemarie Quill samples traditional Mexican fare that packs a punch

On the menu

A huge range of Mexican offerings from snacks - called bocaditos, translated as small bites you can have with drink in the bar, or beautiful outside courtyard, or to share in large groups - to traditional Mexican fare such as tacos, tortilla dishes and fajitas. There are also Mexican-inspired salads, and chicken and steak dishes. With a children's menu, the restaurant is very family-friendly - and at the moment on Sunday evenings, kids eat free for each adult meal purchased. For all the dishes, manager Jose says the focus in on good quality local ingredients, with flavours that pack a punch. You can go mild or as hot as you like, just let the chef know.

The buzz
We dined on a weekday night and the place was full. The decor is Mexican-themed, of course, with a number of seating options from the bar, to the outside courtyard, to bench seats and larger tables. Clientele ranged from young hipsters to baby boomers, couples on dates, work groups and families. To start Jose brings us a platter with a selection of bocadillos, including guacamole, fried calamares, Chilli Con Queso (a moreish spicy cheese dip with corn chips), Ceviche Pacifico (raw fish marinated with lime and coconut), and one of the restaurant's most popular dishes, Pollo Picante, spicy chicken wings which Jose says people often say are the best chicken wings in town.

For mains
We both went for fajitas, a huge sizzling platter of chicken, beef or prawns, served on a skillet with capsicum, onions and soft flour tortillas, accompanied by guacamole, salsas and black beans. The idea is you roll your own tortillas. Portions are so generous I could only manage one, which meant I had a nice doggy bag to take away. I would definitely recommend the prawns marinated with lime and tequila - succulent with a bit of a kick.

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Kids have
Kids meals are great value at $15, which includes a starter - a bowl of cheese corn chips, a drink, and a choice of main and a vanilla icecream for dessert. Mains include cheese quesadilla, chicken quesadilla, nachos, fish taco or a small burrito. They all went for quesadillas and decided they were totally converts to Mexican food.

To drink
On the suggestion of Jose, I tried a margarita grande, which is Herrradura Reposado Tequila and Cointreau on the rocks. The restaurant would make a great place for after work drinks, or summer gatherings - there are a range of margaritas and other cocktail favourites such as mojitos and caipirinha. There are non-alcoholic cocktails, Mexican and other beers and a good wine selection. I had my eye on the special coffees, which are blended liqueur and coffee topped with fresh cream and grated Mexican chocolate.

Jose brought us churros to finish - Mexican-style donut strips with dipping sauces - which were polished off quickly. Next time I will leave more room for the desserts, which included cajeta cheesecake with tequila laced berries and ice cream, or coconut flan with caramel, pineapple, tequila and margarita gelato.

The staff
Attentive and knowledgeable without being overbearing. Jose was only too happy to suggest options, as well as offering up other information about the menu.

The verdict
We had a fun-filled evening of delicious food and new taste inspirations. Great value, excellent service and family-friendly, we will definitely be back. The restaurant runs a number of special offers throughout the week. See its Facebook page for details.

the details
Flying Burrito Brothers
107 Grey St, Tauranga
Phone: 07-578 8363
Open: 4.30pm till late Tuesday to Sunday.