If there’s one thing I’m passionate about, it’s the food I eat and make. It has to be just right, otherwise it just won’t do: noodles and pasta should be al dente; seafood should not be too chewy or too soggy; meat should be tender, not dry and tough; bread and buns should be light, soft and springy to the touch and not heavy in the stomach; portion sizes should be just right and not be too big or filling; and flavours, no matter how unusual the combination should complement each other. Edinburgh’s taqueria, Bodega, is another eatery that meets all these requirements for me.
If you’re coming from town, tucked in between other shops, bars and restaurants on Leith Walk, Bodega is a wee inconspicuous eatery that could be easily overlooked, but their tacos are anything but. They’re not hurting for business, there are only a few tables and seats maximum 15 to 20 customers, so every night is packed to the brim and it’s recommended you make a reservation in advance to avoid disappointment. The restaurant is simply decorated with one statement wall with a collage of Mexican themed images and by the cash counter all the Mexican drinks on offer.
Specials of the day
This small eatery really packs a large punch when it comes to their menu choices! Not only do they have their 7 regular choices of tacos, they’ve also usually got another 3 specials of the day. For this place to offer so many tacos to customers who could be wanting one of every dish, knowing what the OH has to go through as a chef on a busy night, that’s a lot of work for one chef!
We decided to get tortilla with guacamole to share. I’m not usually a big fan of avocado, I find it’s too much like a huge slathering of creamy butter on a salty chip, but I’ve come to appreciate it more, especially when it’s a healthy fat! The guacamole is so fresh and so good, we were given 2 generous screw top jars of the creamy goodness and we were scraping the last remnants off the sides of the jar with the crumbs of the chips! It has a hint of lemon juice in it which gives it a refreshing flavour.
We each ordered some different tacos to try. There are a few different ones to choose from and each one of them are as good as the other, so I don’t think you can really go wrong with whichever option you choose. It is recommended that you order 2 dishes each so you can always pick the 2 that sounds the most tempting and go back for more if you’re still hungry! By the way, the tacos are gluten free in case anyone was gluten intolerant!
(Clockwise from top left): tempura tiger prawn with sesame and chilli dressing, Baja-style crispy cod bites with fried potato matchsticks and chipotle mayo, another tempura tiger prawn and Philly cheese steak
Avocado tempura with wasabi mayo and Asian slaw (Left) and roast squash and chimichurra salsa
Avocado tempura (top) and deep fried sea bass
When the dishes arrived, as I always do, I start making a judgement about the size. The tacos seem a bit small in size, it would probably be the same size as the span of my hand, but I did say that this small place packs a big punch and that applies to their food too! Don’t let the size of their tacos fool you. Added with the fillings, 2 dishes of 4 tacos was more than enough for me and definitely filled up the men!
To finish off, we had churros to share and I couldn’t have been happier. Some Mexican street food restaurants here, I’ve found, like to shake that cinnamon on there…but I hate cinnamon. They original recipe doesn’t call for it, so I’m not sure why they do it, but I’m happy to say that there is a bit of cinnamon on these churros but it wasn’t an issue for me. We gobbled them up too quickly before I could take any photos of these lovely deep fried sticks, but I can definitely attest to their tastiness.
Bodega is located at 62 Elm Row in Edinburgh, EH7 4AQ. They are open every day between 5:30pm to 10:00pm Monday to Friday, and 12:00pm to 10:00pm Saturdays and Sundays.
You can find their daily specials on their Facebook page here. To make a reservation, call 0131 556 7930.
What is your favourite taco dish from Bodega?