Forget about Mexican food as you know it in Adelaide; Lucky Lupitas
does things differently, and chances are you'll like it. This Mexican and Latin American spot can be found in the unassuming spot of Bedford Park, and you can tell from the crowd it draws for lunch and dinner that it must be doing something right.
Their menu should come with a dictionary, and in a way it does. Up on a long, blackboard-like, wall you'll find definitions for various dishes gracing the menu, as well as a heat chart for the different types of chillies you'll encounter, and an acknowledgement to a few people over in Mexico and Latin America who have obviously helped in the menu development.
You're best to pick and choose your way through the menu, settling on many dishes to share instead of just one choice each. If you're ever unsure of how much food you'll need the staff here are excellent at helping you pick out the right amount.
The star of the mains would have to be the ribs. Forget about the sticky, barbecue sauce covered rack that you're used to. Instead the ribs that come to your table look like they were pulled from a small dinosaur. The meat is plentiful, and so tender that it completely falls off the bone. You can choose between the smokey chipotle sauce or the fresh option of chimichurri.
Lucky Ribs with Chimichurri
There are a range of hamburgers inspired by the Mexcian and Latin American flavours. These go well with a side of papas fritas
(french fries), or the thickly cut yuca frita
made from cassava root. There are soft shell tacos, quesadillas, empanadas, and tostadas. It does come in handy to have your iPhone on you so you can do a quick search, to find out what everything means.
Try the deliciously crispy tostones
. They're twice cooked plantain chips served with black bean, sour cream, and a fresh tomato salsa. Plantain are like a kind of banana, just not the same ones that we'd usually pop on our cereal, and the tostones make a tasty alternative to nachos (although you'll also find them on the menu under chilaquiles).
You'll eat off of miss-matched crockery, flowers, beer bottles and hot sauces form the main decorations, and you'll be watched over by the Virgin Mary. It does have a fun vibe about it, where sometimes you feel like cleaning all the tables away and setting up a dancefloor in the middle of the room.
The restaurant isn't huge, but it's got that cosy-without-being-too-cramped feel about it. Unfortunately the size does mean that it can fill up quickly, so if you don't arrive as they open there's a chance you could be waiting a while. It would be great to have an outdoor beer-garden style dining area, but in the space available it's probably not possible.
Lucky Lupitas is found in a strange location. You'd expect fastfood and restaurant chains to appear in Bedford Park, not necessarily this fun and vibrant restaurant. Parking can be an issue, and if you can't snap up a park up the front you might have a bit of a walk to get back to your car.
It may be a strange location, but everything else about Lucky Lupitas works. It's a warm and friendly restaurant, where you can get a good feed with a jug of sangria to match.