Lolita: Cocina and Tequila Bar
Great Mexican South of Fifth!
When thinking about typical Mexican cuisine, your mind flies directly to hearty - and at times spicy - foods like tacos, enchiladas, and nachos. Unfortunately, in today’s “fast-food, fast-paced” world, Mexican food is hardly ever worthy enough to be considered Mexican cuisine. Lolita: Cocina and Tequila Bar transforms this food genre into a high-class, flavorful experience that leaves its “mark” on you for as long as you will let it. Allow me to explain…

After being seated, we were promptly greeted by our waitress and a unique palate cleanser: a scoop of grapefruit and mint-infused shaved ice served over a platter of dry ice. We were given the option of topping it off with a shot of their house tequila. Yes please! This was the perfect balance of subtle sweetness to get us started.

As we perused our menus, we munched on homemade tortilla chips and our choice of 3 dipping sauces or their house mango hot sauce. The dipping sauces - roasted tomatillo, chipotle crema, and salsa roja - ranged in levels of heat from “just a kick” to “whoa baby!” I’ll leave you to decide which was which. We were given their cocina menu and their tequila menu. The tequila menu offers 3 lists of the 3 different styles of tequila: platinum, reposado, and añejo. Within each list, the selection is divided between the different available flavor notes. It is set up for making the most educated decision regarding your drink selection. Tequila can be served in a shot or on the rocks, and our knowledgeable waitress was able to set my husband up with a tequila that suited his palate perfectly: a peppery añejo on the rocks. I opted for the Lolita Margarita. Typically, margaritas provide a sour punch to the taste buds that is mellowed out by the salted rim. This margarita was made with Grand Marnier, cane syrup, a squeeze of grapefruit, fresh lime, and of course, salt on the rim. With its elegant presentation and sweet flavoring, I thought of it as being more chic and subtly sweet than traditional margaritas.

The appetizer menu was loaded with options that I wanted to try! Pork belly guacamole? Tortilla soup? Crispy masa oysters? Queso fundido? Lobster Enchilada? After appropriately sensing the confusion and indecision on my face, our enthusiastic waitress suggested that we do a taps-style tasting. With a sigh of relief, we began rattling off our selections. The pork belly guacamole was a different take on a classic - the avocados, cilantro, and tomatoes were clearly fresh, and it was topped with cubes of pork that, when eaten together with the guacamole, gave it an unexpected texture and flavor. The tortilla soup consisted of a bowl of pulled chicken, crisp tortilla strips, avocado, pico de gallo, green chiles, and queso blanco. Our waitress then poured the chicken broth directly onto those ingredients, allowing the flavors to steep directly in front of us and rendering a seemingly simple soup that was bursting with flavors! Whether you like to sip the broth and eat the other contents separately, or eat them all together in a party of flavors, you simply cannot go wrong! The crispy masa oysters came highly recommended, so we opted to give them a try. These full-flavored, fried oysters were served in their shells over chipotle crema sauce, and they did not disappoint. The queso fundido was right up my alley! This hearty dish was made up of the mixed flavors of meat, chorizo, and mushrooms. It was topped with melted Asadero cheese and gave you a slight kick to the taste buds. The queso was served alongside a plate of warm tortillas to assist in the “plate-to-face” process. The Lobster Enchilada is a great recommendation for those who are fans of milder cuisine. This dish features lobster, corn, mild chiles, and jack cheese, with a creamy sauce drizzled over the top. The appetizers were delicious!

As we were waiting for our entrees, we sipped our beverages, sat back, and took in the scenery. My husband had spent a portion of his childhood in Mexico and reported feeling nostalgic while sitting there. The low light with soft mood music was reminiscent of sitting outside in a genuine Mexican quinta. The outside seating area featured a large tree, providing shade for the entire area, with light fixtures and chandeliers hanging from the larger branches. For extra entertainment, they always have a silent film playing in the background. Simply sitting there was an enriching experience.

For our entrees, I ordered the shrimp ajillo, while my husband ordered the bone-in rib eye. The shrimp ajillo featured shrimp cooked in a delectable garlic and butter sauce that is not for the faint of heart. The medley of flavors included in the sauce was more than I could have ever expected. There were no hints or undertones here. This dish is “in your face” delicious! The Bone-In Rib Eye was grilled with a sear to “rare” perfection.

After dinner, we ordered the diablo margarita, simply out of pure curiosity. How exactly would a spicy margarita taste? This drink certainly caters to the palate of those who prefer spicier flavors, given the serrano chile in the drink and the rim of pepper sugar. The spiciness provides a fantastic balancing act to the margarita’s tang, replacing the sweetness of a typical margarita. It was not for lovers of “tame” cuisine! The table service platter for after-dinner coffee included 4 cups with your choices in sweeteners: Splenda, rock sugar, Mexican chocolate, or brown sugar caramel. The presentation was adorable!

The service was exceptional throughout our entire stay. Our waitress got to know our tastes after paying attention to our comments and was able to make recommendations that were appropriate to each of us. At the very end, our check was brought to the table along with a large cloud of cotton candy, a temporary tattoo bearing the restaurant’s name, and a damp washcloth, for prompt application. It truly leaves its “mark” on you: mind, body, and appetite! Lolita is a wonderful place for intimate conversation, so bring a date. Or if you are in the mood for a livelier experience, they also cater to larger groups. I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for a good time with great food directly in the heart of South Beach.
Lolita: Cocina and Tequila Bar
100 Collins Avenue
South Beach, FL 33139