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Waianae Eats: Tacos & More!

As if the farthest side on the West coast of Oahu isn’t already a sort of “mystical” transport to an entirely different place in time — and laws, far removed from Honolulu’s modern urban sprawl, alas out in Waianae, you’re now suddenly “beamed over the pond” to MEXICO here at Tacos & More! I kid you not, as that’s almost how it feels once you’re within its hallowed walls, in what appears to be nothing but an unassuming, tiny, hole-in-the-wall DIVE from the outside…

And walls there are a plenty, subdividing a seemingly endless, deep space that’s obviously been expanded from several previous businesses, to now occupy almost the entire 1st floor of this 2-story building. Now Tacos and More includes 2 separate, very intimate, very CLEAN little dining rooms with wait service…

lead through a common hallway…

while up towards the front section is a bar table room…

adjoined by a full-service bar + Karaoke room…

With, of course, HD TVs a plenty…

Up front in the entrance area is where you’ll find their takeout counter and main kitchen…

 

plus yet another small dining area for takeout customers…

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Of course, the theme throughout is over-the-top “why have one ornamental decoration and sign, when you can have 1000?” kitschy Latino arto-deco theme, as it should be with any “authentic” Mexican restaurant and bar…

Speaking of which, for the record, like owner Mario Barron of Los Chaparros in town, Tacos & More owner/operator/chef/waiter/bartender/dishwasher/­host Javier Nevares is also from Mexico City, Mexico, if that’s enough “authenticity” for you.

Which brings us to the food, where let’s now check out Tacos & More! menu…

 

Going through the Yelp reviews, like other Mexican restaurants on the island, there are some who claim Tacos & More as “authentic” Mexican, while others (especially Cali’ folks) cry foul and far from it. For me, as I’ve stated in other reviews, personally having grown up in Hawaii, I’m far from qualified to judge what is truly “authentic Mexican”, but I do know what tastes GOOD, and the Sea Bass Fillet dish I ordered on this first-time visit TASTED FANTASTIC! Check it out…

$13.95 for a HUGE fillet Sea Bass slab, SMOTHERED in finely minced garlic and silky butter, served with a slice of Lime, where the bass was cooked to PERFECTION, being sauteed with a slight brown crust, while being super-moist ‘n flaky throughout…

While that’s not uniquely “Mexican”, the refried beans and rice served with it certainly were, and what really rounded out the dish. Up there with Los Chaparros and Mexico Restaurant in flavor and texture to at least what I take as being “authentic”. It also includes 2 flour or corn tortillas, served in a container that’s piping hot in case you want to wrap it up…

However I found it unnecessary, as the rice and beans was more than enough starchy “filler”. Overall the Sea Bass was an excellent choice to initiate this “T ‘n M” first-timer, and a decent value for the generous portion served.

TI reader and friend KenW, a.k.a. Ken-san, who’s a T&M regular, ordered his usual shredded beef Taco trio…

Which for $9.95 + $2.50, he adds on their awesome Rice and Beans…

The Tacos and Burritos are served with both a house-made red and green chile sauce in squeeze bottles, that you add at your discretion; both of which are quite spicy-hot…

I tried some of the two sauces with my Sea Bass, and ARIBA!, that really gave it some highly welcomed extra POW!!!…

The red and green sauce also “Mexicanized” the otherwise simple yet perfect Sea Bass. Whatever you order here, ask them for the house-made Picante and Salsa Verde Sauce. Those are must-have “kick” enhancers!

As cliche as beef tacos may sound, that’s Ken’s Tacos & More regular go-to dish, and it never disappoints, which is all that matters!

As for the first-round complimentary Chips ‘n Salsa, the HOUSE-MADE corn tortillas are DELICIOSO as well, with a light, yet super-crunchy texture going on and intense corn flavor in the crispy deep-fried tortilla chips. While the “juicy” salsa is very simply executed with small chunks of tomatoes, chiles, onions and cilantro, serving up a mildly tomato-e-spicy kick. Refreshingly perfect for a hot summer Waianae/Makaha day.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I enjoyed my first lunch experience at Tacos & More so much with Ken-san, that I returned for a hana hou visit with him once again, where this time around, I tried their Ranchero Shrimp Bowl…

While on this hana hou visit, Ken-san went “outside his box” and ordered the Chile Rilleno…

A cross-cut look inside the Chile Rilleno…

Deep-fried peppers, smothered ‘n stuffed with cheese ‘n tomato sauce? Can’t go wrong with that!

As for my Ranchero Shrimp Bowl I ordered in this hana hou visit, AMAZING. Again, like Mexico Restaurant in Kalihi, Tacos & More’s kitchen staff are certainly in-tune with how to properly cook and season their dishes, which makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE, as it did once again with these shrimp over rice and tortilla. CRAZY GOOD!

The shrimp had a nice slight crisp to the them, while being plump, fresh-tasting, sweet ‘n succulent. Overall, the dish had the PERFECT combination of flavors and textures in every Mexican culinary sense of being. Plus feeling on the lighter side, being seafood, as compared to the heavier meat-based dishes. In other words, you can still walk out without passing out after eating this dish. Tacos & More Ranchero Shrimp Bowl is Highly, HIGHLY recommended! I’d eat this dish again, and again and again!

And while you’re out on the hot Oahu west coast “way out there”, looking for a place to cool you off, while also dodging that dirt biker popping wheelies next to you on the street, you can’t go wrong with an ice cold tall glass of Taco’s & More Li Hing Salt-rimmed Margarita!…

If you’re out on the west coast of Oahu, perhaps just driving around the island or coming from one of the numerous ocean activities out there, and looking for a “chill”, clean, relaxing, great place in the area to grab a delicious bite and/or wind down with a great Margarita, look no further than Tacos & More in the heart of Waianae. Yo quiero!

Muchas gracias, Ken-san for the tip!

Tacos & More!
85-993 Farrington Highway, Ste 108
Waianae, Hawaii  96792
Tel. (808) 697-8800

The Tasty Island rating:

(5) Superb. Worthy of repeat visits or purchases. (Broke Da’ Mout’!)

Related links:
Tacos and More – Yelp user reviews

10 thoughts on “Waianae Eats: Tacos & More!

  • March 3, 2013 at 8:35 pm
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    Looks like my dorm room in college. LOL. While my sister lives in Waianae, this is a long trek for a Kauai boy visiting Oahu.

    Reply
    • March 4, 2013 at 5:19 am
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      Pat,

      While I rated this place a five, I don’t think it would be worth a plane ticket. Very few places win that award on Oahu. In fact, that will be a new blog post here: “Grindz worth a Plane Ticket to Oahu”! Hundreds of dollars and hours in flight? Better be worth it!

      Reply
  • March 4, 2013 at 12:58 am
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    Pomai,
    Hope you did not eat supper after that meal it huge.

    Reply
    • March 4, 2013 at 5:25 am
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      Kelike,

      You know what’s interesting is that, since losing weight, I actually can eat more now, usually “polishing” the plate (cleaned up). Whereas before when I was overweight, hardly ever did that, usually taking home leftovers.

      It’s a metabolism thing. Most skinny people I know have VORACIOUS appetites, where you might think “where the heck did that all go?”. I’m now back in that club – pretty much, yet still got 10 more pounds to go.

      Reply
      • March 4, 2013 at 11:21 am
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        haha pomai….glad you are fit. i recently injured my left wrist playing too much baseball…..i’m rediscovering conditioning my lower bod & core along with running. keep it up!!!! here’s to a healthier you :D

        Reply
  • March 4, 2013 at 11:23 am
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    let me tell you…….the food there looks pretty amazing & authentic. of course i’m not there to taste it…..but my eyes say everything looks good. :D the fish plate is amazing…..it’s lent right now…….so i gotta eat fish on fridays. fish burritos, fish tacos……oh yes….haha :)

    Reply
  • March 4, 2013 at 1:38 pm
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    I love hole-in-the-wall Mexican places. That margarita looks delicious!

    Reply
  • March 4, 2013 at 10:52 pm
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    I love Tacos & More! It is one of my fave places to eat in Waianae. I’m glad to hear you liked it there. The workers are so nice and their food is yummy! If you are going to be eating in Waianae more, I also recommend Sun Sushi’s Spicy Vegetable Rolls. :)

    Reply
    • March 5, 2013 at 11:39 am
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      Kasey,

      Mahalo for the tip. Next time out that side I’ll definitely check out Sun Sushi over lunch with Ken-san. If you like Spicy Sushi Rolls, you definitely gotta’ try the Tamanaha Tartare Roll at California Beach Rock’n Sushi on Ward Avenue, across Sports Authority. It’s a Crunchy Crab Roll topped with a Spicy Tuna Tartare Mix, with the roll itself first deep-fried in panko. Sugoi oishii yo’!!!

      Reply
  • October 12, 2014 at 1:12 pm
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    Pomai,
     
    Tacos and More’s Mexican shrimp cocktail is a meal in itself with plenty of large shrimp, avocado and freshly made chunky Pico de Gallo made to your heat level!
     
    Sun Sushi is next door to Tacos and More. Great sushi hand made to order by the master and very fresh. He has a large variety of sushi and rolls on his menu. He even has a BLT sushi roll which tastes fantastic!
     
    Across from McDonalds, Waianae is Coquito’s Restaurant and they are Latin Cuisine from mostly Puerto Rican and Caribbean. Their Cuban sandwich is excellent and juicy.
     
     Up at the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center is Ka’aha’aina Café (west sides hidden jewel) open Monday to Friday for breakfast and lunch 7am to 2pm pricing under $10 with fantastic views; great write-ups and photos on Yelp.

    Reply

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