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Linda Vista

Linda Vista

Mexican home cooking in West Gainesville

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

MexicoLindoMy friend Lynn -- a more than occasional lunch partner -- and I share a passion for Mexican food. Early on, we made a pact to visit each of 24 places in the Urban GLOB that serve Mexican/Latin American cuisine. (Editor's note: I checked, and was surprised to find, the Urban GLOB map to make sure there are really that many lunch spots that serve Latin American food in Gainesville.)

Recently, Lynn and I were in West Gainesville near the Publix shopping center on Tower road, so we decided to give Linda Vista a try.

Stepping through the unadorned, non-descript strip shopping center door to this Mexican café, we were immediately transported into another world filled with color and richly decorated south-of-the-border images in a cozy, inviting dining area.



Thanks to a framed review hanging on their wall, we discovered that Linda Vista is the fourth jewel of Gainesville's Roman family and partners restaurant group, the other three being Las Margaritas, La Tienda, and the Red Pepper Cafe.

Linda Vista offers up an interesting take on Mexican cuisine that differs somewhat from its sister restaurants. The café-like menu and ambience of L.V. suggests an authentic, home style approach to Mexican food.

The first Mexican food test for me is chips and salsa. Give Linda Vista a plus for their chips and salsa. The chips were large triangles that arrived at our table warm and crispy. They held up well to the copious amounts of salsa I was scooping on to them and pushing into my mouth.

The salsa was good. A thick tomato salsa complimented with onion, a very small sprinkling of fresh cilantro, and perhaps a little horseradish included for some spice.

We quickly finished our bowl of chips and requested a second that arrived at our table immediately.



The creature of habit in me opted for the Mike Sanford usual Mexican order of a hard shell taco and chile relleno.

If I sit down to a Mexican meal without a hard shell taco, someone else must have placed the order.

Linda Vista makes a good taco. The meat filling could have been a little spicier but the cheese, greens, and salsa, however, satisfied my Mexican food expectations.

Speaking of tacos, did you know some Sundays, Taco Bell runs a special where they sell tacos for 25 cents? That's twenty tacos for five dollars. That might sound like a lot of tacos but once you get started, but I digress, Back to M.L. . . .

When I think of Mexican food I think of chile rellenos. I don't think I've ever had two that tasted the same. I'm guessing it must be like hamburgers. There must not be a Mexican Chili Relleno recipe etched in stone somewhere.

The chili relleno I had at Linda Vista was OK. A little too much mild sauce. The breading on the pepper was a lack luster participant in the entree.

Of course that didn't stop me from cleaning my plate first, and if Lynn had ordered a chile relleno and left some on her plate I would have eaten her leftovers as well.

Lynn did order a Shrimp Quesadilla, image at top of this feature, and beans and rice. She was not pleased with the rice, which was mushy – but she did eat it all. She thought the beans and the quesdilla were good, and concluded that the food did not quite live up to the promise of the décor.

I'm thinking Mexican food must be like pizza for me. The best Mexican food I have ever eaten is always the food on the plate in front of me.

The pluses and minuses of Linda Vista:

Linda Vista  (+) indicators: This is a good moderately priced lunch spot in West Gainesville with authentic decor.

Linda Vista  (-) indicators:  How come these Mexican places don't have a Mariachi band playing at lunch time? AY CARUMBA!

Offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Linda Vista.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!

Last modified onFriday, 05 June 2020 05:44

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