Catch the wave at Las Olas Taqueria in Hampton
After six years in Exeter on Portsmouth Avenue, and now four years in Hampton on Lafayette Road, Las Olas (the waves) Taqueria is serving up a bounty of fresh-made, wholesome Mexican food worthy of praise.
Beer and margaritas are on the menu, along with a bevy of other refreshing beverages, along with nicely priced — and sized — sides including warm corn tortilla chips with pico de gallo, guacamole or melted cheese, nachos, vegetables, corn and cheese quesadillas and sides of rice or beans and salsa.
Our Steak Quesadilla was loaded with fresh grilled steak chunks atop a Monterey jack cheese quesadilla, and served with rice, pico de gallo, lettuce, sour cream, the pineapple salsa, cilantro and lime. The grill-pressed quesadilla was sliced into fourths, and I piled too many ingredients on top, requiring a knife and fork. But, no matter. While I managed to make a mess of it, I thoroughly enjoyed eating my way down to the steak, which was tender and juicy.
We limited the add-ons for the spiced-Chicken Fajitas, served with steamed hot corn tortillas, so the flavorful chicken was able to dominate the dish. It was served with sour cream, guacamole and rice complemented by peppers, mushrooms, sweet potatoes instead of beans. Outstanding.
An all-encompassing salad topped off our table, with the bed of fresh lettuce graced by ground Ancho beef, and about half the ingredients at the ordering lineup. We overdid it, by a mile, but it made a great lunch for one the next day.
Once you are inside, Las Olas is as bright and cheerful as any beachfront restaurant that cares to put quality in its presentation. Nice artwork of waves (of course) adorn the walls. Bright pastel colors are mixed with bold Mexican strokes and multi-colored chairs and tables.
The restaurant seats more than 60, in two dining rooms, which is deceiving from the outside until you realize Las Olas takes up two storefronts in the small strip mall it shares with an ice cream store and a large chain drug store.
Once seated, dig in and enjoy a distinctly flavorful, rewarding, value-added Mexican meal — in a town as Yankee American as they come.
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