When it comes to local Mexican cuisine, there were few options other than the ubiquitous TexMex. A new Mexican restaurant in Eustis has changed that by creating authentic dishes that are unique in the area.
La Perla Tapatia, which opened in April, has quickly distinguished itself from other local Latin eateries by cooking up flavorful house specialities as well as customary Mexican dishes. Traditional favorites include enchiladas, street tacos, grilled fish tacos, chicken en mole, and el costeno (Mexican shrimp cocktail). El Playero (grilled salmon with mushroom, carrots and broccoli), Ceviche Aguachile, and Estilo Jalisco (braised and seasoned brisket) are some of the less common Mexican dishes that are featured.
On a recent visit, we tried the flaming Fogon Tapatia with seasoned grilled steak, pork, chorizo, chicken and naples (cactus) served with rice, refried pinto beans and fresh guacamole. The dish easily served two people and all of the proteins were seasoned and cooked perfectly. The naples were a nice surprise, since this traditional dish is often missing from more Americanized menus. We also tried the El Manotas (grilled octopus) which can be a tricky dish to cook properly. The chef at La Perla didn’t disappoint, delivering a tender, well-seasoned and perfectly charred dish that was served with a special poblano rice and delicious cabbage salad. The Birria tacos (seasoned braised brisket) are quite possibly the best beef tacos around.
La Perla Tapatia, the nickname of the city of Guadalajara, also creates some of that region's signature dishes including La Valentina (diced ribeye in green tomatillo sauce) and Torta Ahogada (a sandwich with pork, beans and onions). There are also ample vegetarian options available like Tostadas Rancheras, veggie tacos, enchiladas, fajitas and salads.
Presently, the bar offers housemade sangria and a selection of beers. However, sometime in April the restaurant is expecting to have its full liquor license and feature traditional and contemporary Mexican cocktails.
Last, but certainly not least, are La Perla’s rich desserts. Our favorites were the traditional cinnamon churros and the sweet Mexican cornbread. Both are served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The friendly owners of La Perla, Luis de la Torre and his wife Selene Rodriquez, and their partner Ed Meza, have decades of experience in the restaurant industry. Their goal was to bring a different type of Mexican cuisine to Lake County. From its diverse menu, friendly service and the passionate owners, it’s clear La Perla will keep its guests coming back.
The restaurant is located at 2060 S. Bay Street in Eustis and is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. If you know of an area eatery you would like Mount Dora Buzz to try, please let us know by contacting us here.
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