In the Zona

The Mexican fare at Zona Fresca is indeed fresh -- and fast and fabulous

The Baja fish tacos we sampled one evening were not only the best item in the place; they were better than any of the roadside fish tacos I've consumed in Baja. The mild, flaky fish had been dipped in a beer batter, then quickly tossed in bubbling canola oil. Instead of the ubiquitous lettuce, a marinated cabbage salad had been added to the taco, along with a tangy sour-cream dressing that didn't obscure the slightly lime-enhanced flavor of the fish.

The tacos themselves aren't huge, but they're just about the only dishes that leave you craving more. Items like the taquitos, three tubular tortillas stuffed with seasoned chicken or steak and then quickly deep-fried, were a complete -- and completely grease-free -- meal, accompanied by generous sides of beans, rice, guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo. The shrimp burrito was even heartier, if that's possible, given the lightness of the shrimp themselves, marinated in lime juice and speed-grilled. The wrap had been laden with beans (your choice of black or pinto), cabbage, pico de gallo, just a touch of Jack cheese, and creamy dressing. The combination, served in a basket alongside a healthy pile of chips, was beyond satisfying.

The last burrito on the list is called the "siesta maker," which might be a good idea if you've engaged in manual labor all morning but probably isn't such a swift move if you're returning to a desk. Even a simple plate of nachos, loaded up with beans, guacamole, melted Jack and cheddar cheeses, sour cream, and pico de gallo, was capable of feeding four of us. After overdoing it on nachos, tacos, and Mexican beer, the flan, just about the only sweet available, hardly seems like an option.

Welcome to the Baja California — such a lovely taste
Joshua Prezant
Welcome to the Baja California — such a lovely taste

Location Info

Map

Zona Fresca

1635 N. Federal Highway
Wilton Manors, FL 33305

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Wilton Manors

Zona Fresca

1095 S. University Drive
Plantation, FL 33324

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Davie/West Hollywood

Details

954-566-1777. Lunch and dinner Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday till 10 p.m.
1635 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale

The slogan at Zona Fresca is "not your everyday Mexican food [but] Mexican food you can eat every day." When it comes to this six-week-old eatery, the folks at the Association of Food Journalists should be happy to hear that critics and "ordinary patrons" alike are likely to abide by even the most idiomatic of rules: Two visits are recommended. Three are better. And while we're at it, we'll order the fish tacos every darn time.

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