In a small group of shops across from Flinders Medical Centre and Flinders University, there's a Mexican & Latin American restaurant called Lucky Lupitas. The place has been buzzing since it first opened in February 2012 and doesn't look to be slowing down anytime soon. With plenty of hungry clientele within walking distance and no bookings taken, you're lucky if you don't have to wait for a table at Lupitas.
We stopped in for lunch on a Friday. We arrived before noon and the place looked empty from the outside. As we went inside, we found some funky Latin American decor and more people than we expected. Still a few empty tables though so no wait for us!
For those perplexed by some of the words appearing in the menu, the board on the wall has some helpful explanations.
We decided to start with Jarritos ($5.50 each, imported from Mexico) and Guacamole ($8.90). The drinks were very refreshing with the seasoned corn chips (totopos) and guacamole dip. A very nice start to the meal.
Next course: tacos! Left is the chicken, Taco de pollo ($5) and right is the beef, Taco de carne ($5.50). Both come in a soft corn tortilla. The chicken is accompanied by cilantro (corriander), jicama (sweet root vegetable), salsa & cascabel aioli (chilli garlic sauce). The salsa is fairly light on in terms of chilli. If you like a bit of spicy kick in your taco, you should make use of the variety of hot sauces on the table. The beef taco was definitely my favourite. Along with the awesome & flavorful beef was radish, guacamole, salsa & cabbage. The Taco de carne gets a huge tick of approval from me.
Darren loved his Lucky Ribs ($23.90), wood smoked & slow cooked beef short ribs (minimum 400 grams). The ribs come with a choice of two house made sauces: Chipotle BBQ or Chimichurri. The Chimichurri is a vinegar-based sauce. Being a BBQ fan he went with the Chipotle, which was an excellent choice.
The beef itself was a relatively dry style, similar to beef I've experienced in Mexico. The sauce ensured it wasn't too dry. There was plenty of Mexican flavour and the meat came easily off the bone. I managed to steal a couple of bites off the plate before it was demolished.
Overall, we had an excellent lunch at Lucky Lupitas. I hear the owner is from Washington DC, which I don't usually associate with great Mexican food. However, he has clearly done a lot of traveling in Latin America and has managed to bring some authentic Latin flavours and ingredients all the way to Adelaide. I'm looking forward to going back to try the elotes (corn on the cob), quesadillas, and hamburguesas. I've also heard good things about the Prickly Pear Margaritas. For those who live in the area, take away is also available.
Update 25 August 2012: Made a return visit tonight and managed to get a table when the doors opened at 5:30. Tonight we had an amazing dinner and got to try a few new things. First, Elotes ($4.50 each) - grilled corn on the cob with chipotle mayonesa, cheese & lime. The chipotle mayo had a nice kick to it and the cheese added an interesting texture and of course more flavour. Really enjoyable and a great starter. My photo doesn't really show it very well but I was especially impressed that they're served in an awesome corn shaped serving dish as well.
Next was the Quesadilla de Pollo y Championes ($15.90) - grilled chicken & mushrooms with cheese, chipotle, onions & spinach with salsa & guacamole. This is the spiciest dish I've had at Lupitas so far. I loved the mushrooms and spinach - two ingredients I've not tried in a quesadilla before. It was also chock-a-block full of chicken so made for a very filling and satisfying dish.
There's also a new item on the menu - Duck Taco ($6.25). This is the first and best duck taco I have ever eaten. The duck was super moist and tender. If you like duck, this is definitely the taco for you.
Adelaide is very Lucky to have Lupitas in town. This place is going to be in high demand for quite some time.