Barefoot Landing’s new Taco Mundo is worlds away from the typical Mexican-American experience
It’s your taco world; I’m just living in it for a night, Taco Mundo. But I’ll be back to indulge in more of your temptations when the days are warmer and the margaritas licked with salt can be enjoyed alfresco.
It was a chilly November night on our dinnertime visit, and the all-new Taco Mundo still added sizzle and spice to our evening with big, bold surroundings and a fresh take on tacos. Taco Mundo’s interior design travels south of the border and is as delicious and creative as its menu, with a kaleidoscope of lanterns hanging from high ceilings that seem to stretch skyward to the heavens, a cool wall collage of old window shutters and Dia de los Muertos skull-patterned wallpaper throughout.
The cantina is situated along the Intracoastal Waterway, and it takes full advantage of its waterfront real estate, with a massive wrap-around bar that opens up onto a deck that offers a killer view, plus boat docks if you decide to travel here by water. There’s also a front porch centered around a cozy outdoor stone fireplace, which was our view from our four-top inside the restaurant.
If you really want to heat things up on a cold winter’s day, start off with a tequila flight trio of blanco, reposado and anejo one-ounce samples. You can also choose from any of their dozen margaritas, frozen or on the rocks, or house-made red sangria. (We went with a couple of bottles of Modelos and Pacificos instead.)
As you can imagine, the menu lives up to its namesake; tacos and taco platters are front and center. Then there are the honorable mentions of Starters, Quesadillas, Rice Bowls, Fajitas, Main Dishes and Desserts.
We decided a night at Taco Mundo must involve tacos, so that’s what we ordered. You can build your own platter of one, two or three tacos or choose one of their pre-combined platter trios served with a side of black beans and Mexican rice. My husband could eat tacos morning, noon and night—or “on days that end with ‘y,’” as he says. I, on the other hand, am more selective on when to have “taco nights.” This restaurant speaks my taco love language, featuring a creative blend of fresh ingredients that travels the globe and doesn’t only include the Mexican classics.
For instance, I chose a pair of tacos: Tempura Avocado and Baja Fish. The first was stuffed with tempura-fried avocado chunks and topped with sweet Thai chili glaze, crisp chipotle slaw and a sprinkling of sweet cilantro. I love avocado and the way they championed this fruit with the crunch of a battered coating. The second taco embraced tempura-fried mahi mahi, which was flavor-enhanced with shaved red cabbage, cilantro and an ancho chile yogurt sauce.
My husband had a taco trio: Kimchi Beef, a nod to a Korean delicacy with grilled flank steak covered in Korean barbecue sauce, kimchi, sesame seeds and cilantro; Carnitas Norteno, slow-roasted pork spiced with poblano rajas, ancho chile house sauce and an onion relish; and Tempura Shrimp, topped with chipotle sauce and sweet Thai chili glaze. The Carnitas Norteno taco, he said, hit a homerun, with the perfect balance of textures and spice. I was jealous that I didn’t order bowls of the black beans and rice, as each spoonful sample I snuck was delightfully fresh and light—not the typical canned variety.
Upon my returns to Taco Mundo in the future, I’d like to try the guacamole and queso dips to go with the complimentary tortilla chips and house-made salsa, along with the roasted street corn brushed with cotija cheese, chipotle aioli, spices and lime; the carne asada (Mexican spice-marinated grilled flank steak) rice bowl; and the roasted cauliflower taco, among other tacos on the list I didn’t get to try. I might even save some room for the tres leches dessert, a milk and brandy soaked sponge cake lathered with whipped cream and cinnamon.
No matter what you decide to order, Taco Mundo is a beautiful fiesta of Mexican-American foods and vibrant energy as soon as you enter the restaurant. It’s a welcome addition to the waterfront section of Barefoot Landing, and one you’ll want to say you’ve sat down with.
4732 U.S. 17 S., North Myrtle Beach (Barefoot Landing)
Hours: 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Fiesta Hour: 4–7 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.– close Saturday and Sunday