Great Mexican at Affordable Price
I drove by Pancho’s one day when riding my motorcycle and decided to come back and give it a try. I read the reviews on Urbanspoon and was highly impressed with the 87% approval rating. I rode my motorcycle back for dinner on a Tuesday night about 7. The restaurant was busy but I was able to get a table quickly. The table had a wide variety of hot sauces which I took as a good sign. I immediately received fresh chips and two types of salsa. The chips were still hot from coming out of the fryer. Most places buy their chips in bags but these were obviously made fresh just minutes ago. The salsa was a little thicker than Vallartas Mexican Restaurant but had more flavor and spice. The hot sauce was prickly but not over the top. I mixed the regular and hot sauce and found a nice warm spicy balance. Honestly, I was full enough after the chips that I could have called it a night but came to try an entrée so I pressed on.
When I visit a restaurant for the first time I order what I consider to be the most basic dish. I figure if they can’t do a mainstay dish really well, why bother with more complex dishes. At a BBQ joint it is a pulled pork sandwich. At a Mexican restaurant it is a burrito. I ordered the Tex Burrito for about $9.50 with a diet Coke. My entire bill with tip was under $15! The price was right but it also included many of the toppings which normally cost more in other restaurants such as sour cream and guacamole. The dish arrived in about 10 minutes and was steaming hot. The plate was large and included shredded beef, refried beans, rice, sour cream, guacamole, lettuce and a wet salsa type sauce with onions on the side. The burrito could have been made with chicken, shredded chicken, ground beef or shredded beef. I started with a bite of the burrito by itself to taste the basic flavors. The beef was fresh, moist and very hot. I then added sour cream and went back in for another bite. Again, I was pleased with the flavors as they hit my pallet. I added guacamole, then lettuce, then the wet sauce, the hot sauce and with each bite I explored the new combination of flavors.
The atmosphere was comfortable and small town. The seating was limited and had the look and feel of a hidden local secrete eatery. The lighting was bright and the temperature comfortable. The one thing I noticed is there was poor cell phone coverage and they didn’t have a Wi-Fi network. Being alone, I wanted to check my emails, post a review and update my social media. I would have appreciated a Wi-Fi network but it is not a big deal. I understand why they don’t have it; not having it led to my table being free quickly after I was done.
I’m consider myself a hard grader of Mexican and BBQ restaurants. I will confirm the rating of 87% is justified and I would even give it an A rating compared to other Mexican restaurants I’ve experience in Tampa Bay. I can confidently highly recommend Pancho’s Villa Mexican Restaurant and will be returning any time we are interested in tasty Mexican food at a very affordable price.