La Monita, Bangkok – Restaurant Review

What started in 2009 as a small Mexican restaurant is now one of hottest spots to visit for locals looking for cuisine from the Land of the hot sun.

Ambiance and Decor

If we had to pick one word to describe the ambiance of the place we’d pick “busy”- even though the website boasts of a 75 person seating arrangement, with how packed the place is almost always you’d be forgiven if you thought otherwise. The place seems to have a loyal following, but is it justified? Well, both yes and no. Yes, because it genuinely is a comforting enough place to hang out with your friends for a brunch, or bring your colleagues for lunch on a relaxed Friday afternoon. Now on to the bad news…although the place is busy there is nothing remarkable about the restaurant, overly-bright colors, a standard bench setting (think of tables in a school cafeteria) and pop-songs on the music system. There is nothing inherently Mexican about the place except for the two Sombrero’s on the wall. We’d suggest adopting ideas from authentic Mexican restaurants overseas; maybe a spicy burrito challenge is in order? Anything to give this place the ‘wow’ factor it is so close to achieving.

La Monita, Bangkok Salsa Bar
La Monita's Salsa Bar

Service

Hmm, given that the place is extremely busy as mentioned we almost gave the service a pass for being…slower than usual. Quite simply, it is a little difficult to get the servers attention; we had to stand up once to catch the servers’ eye, not acceptable. The servers’ themselves though, once you get their attention are friendly enough and what they lack in speed, they make up for in enthusiasm, however, as stated, some patience is required. As we were eating, we did notice how well equipped the staff were to deal with non-Thai customers, an accurate description of every question asked regarding the food impressed us enough to raise the score to a 2.5/5.

La Monita, Bangkok Chips and Guacamole
Chips and Guacamole

Food

Branded as Mexican cuisine, the food at La Monita, Bangkok, leans more towards the Tex-Mex side of things, for those unaware; Tex-Mex is essentially American style Mexican food. The food is good enough, but if you are expectant of authentic Mexican food, this is not the place you are going to find it. Portion sizes are decent, but you would expect them to be given the price (more on that later). La Monita, Bangkok, however, wants you to concentrate on the focal point of their restaurant, their “Salsa Bar”, smack dab in the middle of the eatery this self-serve selection of salsas and sauces is impressive to say the least- ranging from smoky and sweet to mind-numbingly hot these are sure to please your taste buds and you will always be able to find a sauce which pairs well with the dish you’ve ordered.

What We Ordered:

Chips and Guacamole: Simple and effective, a staple of probably many Mexican households this dish was indicative of the quality of food we would be receiving in a bit- the guacamole was fresh, a tried and tested combination of tomato, onion, lime juice and coriander, it was zesty and flavourful. The corn chips which accompanied the dip were also fresh and crisp.



Veggie Fries: French fries, topped with melted cheese, salsa, guacamole and sour cream, does Tex-Mex get better than this? Probably not, fatty, tasty and delightful it ticks every box you expect it to tick- the fries were hot, the salsa did no wrong and the freshness of the guacamole really shone through in this dish, the portion size was average but this doesn’t stop this dish from being a must-try.

Mexi-Taco: La Monita, Bangkok, serves up these soft-shell tacos the way the customer wants it, with a choice between New Zealand Rib Eye Steak, pork, chicken, shrimp, fish or vegetarian fillings, this taco is what would be called a “Baja Street Taco” back in the States. We got the shrimp filling, and it’s no lie when I say that these shrimp tacos are the best one’s you’ll eat on this side of the pacific. The shrimps are cooked just right; they’re juicy and burst with tangy flavours of onion, lemon and cilantro they’ve been pretty much coated in- just like they’re supposed to be.



Burrito: The main course, this thing was massive- we went with the traditional Carne Asada filling and were satisfied with cook of the meat, it was juicy and retained the tastes of the fresh salsa which was plentiful. There was however, one cause of concern- French fries. There were French Fries in the Burrito. Like we said, Tex-Mex, and not ‘authentic Mexican cuisine’. For us, those French Fries were fine, however for those who are more serious about eating actual Mexican cuisine you might want to request them not to add the fries to your Burrito. La Monita also offers the ‘wet’ version of the Burrito in case you aren’t a big fan of the normal Burrito.

Margarita: If we had to describe this drink in one word I’d say it’s potent. Trust us; you will probably need to take a nap after this one- but who’s complaining?

La Monita, Bangkok Nacho Vegetarian Fries
Vegetarian Nacho Fries
La Monita, Bangkok Shrimp Taco
Shrimp Taco
La Monita, Bangok Wet Burrito
Wet Burrito

Price/Value

Make no mistake, when you walk into La Monita, Bangkok, make sure you have a wallet full of cash- this place is expensive and I don’t say that because I am student at university struggling to make ends meet- this place is expensive for everyone. We chalk up the prices to the recent surge in popularity of the restaurant as a whole and the location of this place.

Note: Vegetarians, do not fear! Plenty of options are available for you and even foods with meat included can often be customized to your needs.

La Monita, Bangkok Wet Burrito
More Wet Burrito!
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