Wahaca London

Wahaca London

3 21 Reviews


Mexican/Tex Mex in London - Covent Garden
66 Chandos Place, Covent Garden, London, WC2N 4HG
44 (0) 20 7240 1883
http://www.wahaca.co.uk

Wahaca is a new restaurant that raises the level of Mexican cuisine high above the usual oil-laden Tex-Mex fare. Founded by chef Thomasina Miers in 2005, the restaurant offers traditional Mexican food using the best local ingredients.
Tags: beer, cheap and quick, cocktails, covent garden, cuisine: mexican, cuisine: tex mex, dinner, fresh, fun, groups, hot sauce, lunch, margaritas, mexican, Mexican beer, mexican covent garden, organic, popular, Quick, tequila, tex-mex, vegetarian




Wahaca London Reviews


Great place to eat - It is a great place to eat but not to drink. I set the price for moderate only because I skipped the booze otherwise it would be steep for sure.
Foodwise - beautiful - that's the word that comes to my mind when I think about it. It may sound cheesy but just go and check for yourself.  
Tags: food, mexican, tapas

Rating  4

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Delicious Mexican food - Really wonderful place to get some Mexican food. One would consider that such place would keep high standards in terms of cooking and service. They also have takeaway which is a nice option for dinner at home.  
Tags: food, mexican, takeaway

Rating  5

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Tasty! - Truly wonderful food. I don't know too much about authentic mexican food, but I came here with 15 people and not one person had anything negative to say about the food. Though I'm setting the price as 'moderate', I did fid that most of the drinks were very expensive. I suppose that, being in London, I shouldn't really complain as EVERYWHERE is expensibe, but at the time, it seemed a little steep.  
Tags: mexican

Rating  4

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the best mexican you'll find here - It is really good! Always good and always great service. Just make sure your party is all there, cause they wont seat you until everyone has arrived. Delicious.  

Rating  5

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Great with friends - The interior to the basement Wahaca is done out like a street market with fake rolldown shutters on the walls. The idea is to recreate a kind of Mexican street cafe and not having a clue about the real thing it seems a reasonable conceit to me.

The menu has normal main dishes like burritos but the action is all in the small dishes that you can order in tranches.

The food is excellent, everyone is going to have their favourites but I love the black beans, cheese quesilladas and smoked chicken tostado. Everything tastes fresh and zesty.

On top of this Wahaca is the only restaurant I've been too recently that proudly shows off its MSC seafood. That means you can enjoy the crab and shrimp without guilt (while making it depressingly obvious how many places don't care about sustainable seafood).

Downsides? It can be very busy and therefore you have to wait a while in the crowded bar (which really fails to crank out the limited range of cocktails in a reasonable amount of time) and then your table gets turned as soon as you are done. It is more like canteen dining but you may feel you spend as much time waiting as you do eating.  
Tags: dinner, lunch, mexican

Rating  4

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Serious Mexican tapas - The upside: delicious food in a hip, modern setting in the middle of the city. The downside: too popular for its own good - getting a table can be near impossible.

Wahaca - an anglicized spelling of Oaxaca (the region of Mexico that gave us mole) - isn't so much Tex-Mex as authentic Mexican food. The servings are modest but filling, the service is quick - almost like a cafeteria but with table service - and the lines to get in can be overwhelming.

A great place to go with friends, but if you're looking for a quiet, romantic spot this isn't it.  
Tags: cheap and quick, covent garden, cuisine: mexican, popular

Rating  4

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I'll eat your identity crisis. - To put the important stuff first, I'll go back to Wahaca, and take friends. No hesitation, no doubts. The food at Wahaca was varied, very very tasty, and veraciously cheap. The waitstaff were friendly and efficient, the ambiance buzzing, the joint packed on a Monday night, the decor light and modern and interesting. My only factual actual complaints about our dinner there were the noise level (a bit much), and the rubbishpy margarita--too sweet and mild, not enough tequila or acidity to justify the salt. But they had a fantastic sangrita, which is basically my favorite cocktail ever. And they have a separate tequila menu, the sign of a Mexican restaurant that takes itself very seriously indeed. So far, so very good.

But it's this seriousness that left me with serious questions. They claim all their food is locally and organically grown (the habanero sauce came all the way from Devon), and everything then recycled or disposed of as gently as possible afterwards. While I strongly agree with the hippy politics, the effect at Wahaca (short for Oaxaca, I presume) was one of complete unrootedness, inauthenticity. Mexican lite, inspired by but completely divorced from actual Mexico, despite Wahaca's claim to be "Mexican market food." (My memories of the market at Merida? Dark, huge, rambling, packed, selling everything possible, including the best cinnamon I've ever had, but with poor drainage, beggars, live chickens.) The Mexican food culture, the cuisine, evolved in a certain place, with a certain climate, in a specific cultural and historical context. It has terroir. Chilies grow better in warmer climes; the Aztecs prized the corn fungus known as huitlacoche. Apparently, huitlacoche grows best "during times of drought in a 78°F to 93°F (25°C–34°C) temperature range." How on earth do you duplicate these conditions in Devon, or Lancashire, and why would you try?

The feeling of being in a restaurant only loosely inspired by an ideal of Mexico was heightened by some of the menu's oddities--feta cheese instead of queso fresco, a "crema" on the frijoles that seemed for all the world to just be crème fraîche. The modernist decor, and Japanese-ish pottery dishes--Wahaca could have taken over the space and furnishings from any other restaurant, and any restaurant could take over from them. The waitstaff could have formed their own United Nations.

So maybe the actual point of Wahaca isn't Mexican food, and certainly not authentic Mexican food (though they studied it very carefully.) I assume it's to demonstrate a different type of restaurant, one where you can eat locally with the smallest possible environmental impact, where you know pains have been taken to recycle what can be recycled, and instead of matches, they give you chili pepper seeds to take home. Perhaps Wahaca, modern organic British food, can be forgiven (should be applauded?) for letting itself be inspired by the cuisine of a place 6000 miles away....at least when the results are so successful. Three cheers for globalization, and its backlash.  
Tags: buzzy, cocktails, cuisine: mexican, fun, organic, vegetarian

Rating  3

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Is it worth the wait? - Wahaca has a great buzz about it and the prices are reasonable. Just be careful what you order unless you like it oily. We found the beef dishes to be extremely greasy. The lighter dishes, such as fish and cactus based tostadas, are good. The margaritas are flippin brilliant. So, mixed reviews on the food and be prepared to queue.  
Tags: Mexican

Rating  3

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Good Wagamama's of Tex Mex - I'm not an expert of Mexican or Tex Mex food, but the format is quick and fun, location is smack in the centre of town, service is good, and the food tasty. Long queues are a pain, but it's good value for money. The drink list is pretty good too.  
Tags: cuisine: tex mex

Rating  3

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This is not Mexican, it's 'nouveau' - I miss quesadillas. So when I saw the queues at Wahaca and looked at the decor I was very interested. There are indeed long queues at peak hours, often over an hour.

Its decor is really interesting, giving this kind of 'chic peasant' feel with water features etc around.

It's definitely an experience, but its understaffed and the food is only reasonable (not great) with quite small portions. This said: reasonable prices. Do NOT go here if you want traditional Mexican, it's a kind of 'London nouveau' deal -- to this end, worth a try if you go slightly off peak -- we got a table for 2 at 7 almost immediately.

I still miss quesadillas.

(I think it's trying to be the Wagamama of Mexican... but it misses the mark sadly)  

Rating  3

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Not just cheese and beans.... - So last week I suddenly developed a craving for Mexican food. Perhaps it was the late summer sun we had in London, or just that I'd become curious about this place following the mixed reviews. The last time I had Mexican cuisine was somewhere in the backwoods of San Luis Obispo and was treated to a burrito smothered in cheese the size of a small child. All I remember from that night was crawling home on all fours clutching my stomach and the ensuing cheese nightmares. But time is a healer, and once again I was ready to dip my toe into the waters. We arrived here off peak on a Saturday (around 3pm) and were shown straight to a table. The place was probably about 3/4 full and had a good buzz about it, although the decor is quite school canteen like. We ordered a selection from the Street food section of the menu and ploughed our way through some salmon ceviche tostadas, chorizo and potato quesadillas, pork tacos, a super food salad and some margaritas, a couple of Modelo Especials and a shot of aged tequila for husband. I felt the food was actually pretty good - it felt light and fresh, and dare I say it - almost healthy! Service was mixed - the waiters were friendly enough, but we had to remind them about some forgotten drinks and then at the end they mixed up one of our plates so we had to wait whilst it was cooked for us. The margaritas were so-so. I'd had a pre-dinner drink at Navajo Joe just up the road in Covent Garden, and their margarita definitely had more kick to hit. But then it was also more expensive. However, at the end of the day, our meal was very good value for money and I hadn't set my standards too high. Would I go again - probably. For a quick snack in town with some friends this is a good option. It's certainly not a place to linger, but it's perfectly fine for what it aims to be - healthy fresh fast food.  
Tags: mexican

Rating  3

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Don't jump on this bandwagon... - Hmmm, I've been here twice and both times I've left feeling annoyed.

They make you wait at least at hour for a table (I arrived on a weeknight at 7pm) and they give you unrealistic times so when you come back and expect your table ready, you have another half an hour to wait.

The Front of House staff are rude, sarcastic and kept forgetting our booking. I can understand they have a stressful job but no need to be rude, after all, we are the ones waiting for a table.

The first time we went, we ended up sitting about an inch away from the people who had been queueing behind us for an hour which was a bit awkward as it felt like we knew them by this point.

Wahaca is a money-making machine. If there is a table available for 4 but you are a party of 3, they would rather make you wait for an hour than lose out on that extra person's spend. This is not a struggling business, they are constantly full and pack everyone in like sardines. It's also noisy and you have to shout to make yourself heard.

The food is good but the above really does spoil the experience.

Wahaca claims to be authentic Mexican but I'm not so sure. They offer Churros y Chocolate (which I love) and, according to Wahaca: "churro stalls are found all over Mexico". Which is strange because I've travelled through a fair part of Mexico and never saw a churro stall.

So why does it attract so many people? I think us British can't help but be attracted to a queue. If there's a queue, it must be good right?

Please don't jump on this bandwagon and spend your money somewhere more worthy.  

Rating  2

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Uninspired - I was majorly hyped up by this place, and all the good reviews it has been getting. Maybe the people who have dined here and thought it was good have never had good Mexican food.

Overall, the experience was pretty poor. The dishes were really uninspired, lacking the spicy tanginess of good Mexican. The tortilla chips were stale and out of a bag. The salsas came in very small portions and were equally disappointing.

I wouldn't go back or recommend this place. You can make better Mexican at home.  

Rating  1

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Que bueno - I don't expect much out of Mexican food in London. The ingredients typically aren't fresh, the salsa is from a jar, the meat isn't chargrilled...the list goes on and on. And Tex Mex does not equal Mexican!!!

But Wahaca does a pretty good job. The menu is incredibly varied and you have a number of choices. It's a bit annoying that they crossed Mexican food with tapas, because I wanted to try all the types of meat but was informed that mixing and matching was not allowed. Ahhhh...I forgot I was in London, not Mexico, so customer service is optional.

Anyway, the food was all very good. Definitely the best guacamole I've had in town. The meat was all a bit too complicated but it was very good. What they need are some simple dishes to balance out the complicated marinated meat dishes. That said, the pibil was top-notch.

Service was a bit spotty but the server knew the menu inside and out. And the place was packed on a Monday night, so they're doing something right. Thus far it's the best Mexican I've found in London.  
Tags: , mexican, Mexican beer

Rating  4

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down mexico way - via the strand - I've only eaten here once but it was a truly yummy experience. Too many mexican restaurants serve up greasy nasty imitations of mexican food, but the steak salad I had here was anything but greasy and bland. Served up in a tortilla basket the salad was fresh with lovely avocado and black beans and the steak came with a great spicy dipping sauce. I had a "virgin" mojito - lime, sparkling water and mint to accompany the salad...if it had been an evening visit I would have been really tempted to try the alcoholic version!
The only thing I'm wondering is why I haven't been back here since!  
Tags: mexican

Rating  4

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Good mexican (coming from a Mexican - Wahaca does have authentic mexican food. It has authentic Mexican Beers and a good selection of tequilas. It does not, for some odd reason, have a single Mexican waiter (?!?).

Relative to other "Mexican" restaurants Wahaca is one of my favorite (second only to Mestizo). The tacos are spicy enough (if not add the Chipotle sauce), the mole is truly hand made.

Fantastic place to grab some real Mexican food after theatre or to go with a group of friends. Notice the no reservations policy though.  
Tags: Mexican, Tacos, Tequila, Tex-Mex

Rating  4

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way to go wahaca! - I went to Wahaca with some foodie friends after reading the review here on Tipped. I really enjoyed it.When you walk into the place, you know it is not going to be the usual London Mexican experience. There was a long wait - but the host gave us some taco chips to tide us over. Great atmosphere, nice food, helpful staff...overall a very good Mexican experience in London.  
Tags: mexican covent garden

Rating  4

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Muy bueno - I went over to Wahaca following reading about it here on Tipped. Being from California, I feel like I know what I like when it comes to Mexican food, and most of what I find in London I definitely don't like. Wahaca was a pleasant change from that poor record.
The place is well laid out in a subterranean dining room that manages to be quite bright despite the fact that its beneath the street. I tried several of the 'Mexican Market' options, and although none of them could quite function as a meal unto themselves, pairing a set of pork tacos with a chorizo quesadilla is plenty filling. I also added in a small bowl of deliciously creamy frijoles and a Pacifico beer and presto, a hearty, quality Mexican meal!
Although upon entering you get the sense that this is the kind of place that could turn out quite costly, I found that it is quite possible to have a satisfying meal for under 10 pounds, which is a real plus.
Make sure to try the habanero sauce, but be careful you don't give yourself too much! It's the real deal, and very spicy.  
Tags: hot sauce, Mexican beer, tequila

Rating  4

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wahacaheeeeeeeeeey - I'm pleased to report that I've finally found a decent mexican restaurant in london and it's taken me a loooong time! i think this place is run by the same guys as wagamamas and you can tell that from the decor and friendly, laid-back vibe. the margheritas are to die for and the whole street-food sharing thing is a great way to pig out with your friends. highly recommend  
Tags: mexican covent garden

Rating  4

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Now we're talking Mexican - Wahaca is actually the first time in four years I’ve been fairly impressed with Mexican food. I come from the West Coast of the US where there are a lot of Mexican’s and this is pretty darn good. It’s more authentic Mexican instead of tex-mex, which means small dishes, usually with very simple ingredients focusing on the meat rather than then huge burritos stuffed with beans and rice.

The guacamole is some of the best around, very chunky with the right amount of lime and coriander and their tortilla chips are homemade and fried and oh so good. We all started with a Pacifico Beer, a blast from the past from my Spring Break days in Mazatlan; they went down nicely with the guacamole, hot salsa and chips. Then we decided to share the street food platter which consists of a sampling of all their good dishes: Fish tacos done in a habanero chili spice rub and served in a tiny corn tortilla; same with the steak tacos; aubergine and goat cheese quesadilla; chorizo quesadilla; and a couple others, all served with more guacamole and spicy cole slaw. We couldn’t finish our platter probably because we stuffed our faces on the guacamole. It was pretty good food. The only thing I didn’t like was the potatoes in the quesadilla’s – they shouldn’t mix English with Mexican food; it would have tasted better with just the other ingredients.

It’s a Wagamama-type experience where they take your order on a handheld device and things could arrive out of order, but our food didn’t. Probably because we had to wait a long time to get our food, but we weren’t too fussed about it. And James, our waiter, was really good. He was extremely hung-over (like the rest of us) yet was polite and efficient and had a great sense of humour. Service means a lot to me so I rate that place highly because of it.

If you want good Mexican, go here. It’s worth it.  
Tags: beer, fresh, friendly, groups, margaritas, vegetarian

Rating  4

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Aye Carrumba! - I have to fess up that I am a bit of a Mexican food freak. But not the usual mass of melted cheese and dried nachos that constitues Tex/Mex. My stepmother was raised there so am used to amazing homemade burritos, quesadillas and churros. So Wahaca is amazing for me.

It's a huge space in Covent Garden, could best describe it as a slighly more stylish Mexican-food version of Wagamama; fast service, lots of fun - not the kind of place you go for a quiet date. We tend to go for lunch because they do this great sharing plate for two which fills you up completely.

The cocktails are great and the Devon-grown organic habanero sause blows your mind. I have never tasted anything hotter. Favourite dishes for me include the fish con salsa verde and the aofrementioned Wahaca Selection plate.

Also the churros which if you have never had it is a Mexican institution and must be ordered; it's like fried donought served with thick melted chocolate for dipping. Amazing.

If there's one complaint it's that the staff are a little hectic but that may just be because it's new. Certainly it doesn't take away from the place too much.  
Tags: dinner, fun, local food, lunch, mexican, organic, quick

Rating  5

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