Mortar & Pestle: Coffee, Food, Alcohol? Sounds Like a Good Time!

There are a lot of opinions about this restaurant. Lets see what the Exploring Tampa crew thinks!
Mortar & Pestle, 2019
Coming from the ashes of a popular food truck, Mortar & Pestle is a concept that thrives to bring back the old timey pharmacies. You know the ones... You go to get a soda from the fountain, you wander the aisles, make your way to the lunch counter, then leave with your prescriptions. Located on the same block as local favorites Angry Chair Brewing and Trip's Diner, there's no lack of business to be had. This is also one of the few places in Seminole Heights with a real parking lot. Had you never read a review of this place and had you not heard about their filing for bankruptcy, you'd be impressed. The inside of the building is a hipster's paradise, with the industrial looking tables and chairs, the high ceiling, the steampunk-esque inspired decor. The inside of this building is cool. Next door is also a fully functional pharmacy that I wasn…

Tequilas: No, Not The Drinks

Mexican food, you say? Please, hold the cilantro.

Just Trust Me, It Says "Tequila Bar," 2017

Stormy and I had been to Carne and loved it. We then went on to Bernini and loved it. There was no way that we would go to another restaurant, also owned by Jason Fernandez, a restaurant that's concept is vastly different from both Carne and Bernini, and enjoy that one to... Or was there? "Recently opened" (according to their website) Tequilas sits just east of Centro Ybor, right next to the now vacant Amphitheater. So Stormy, my brother, and I decided it was time to give another Ybor restaurant a try. Can I get a lime?

 Interior, 2017

Lets take a moment to appreciate how much detail was put into the inside of this restaurant/bar. It's busy, but it works. The lighting creates an intimate atmosphere. This is somewhere I wouldn't hesitate to go for an off-the-wall type of date. Of course, being a Fernandez restaurant, there is an all-you-can-eat chicken & steak Fajita special before 7:00 pm as well as $3 sangria. On this particular occasion, I had to be responsible. So, water is was for me. Everyone else followed my lead. Live music is played Thursday through Sunday and they have two (count 'em) full liquor bars. Did I mention that half of the restaurant doesn't have a roof? There is an outdoor bar with some patio seating, perfect for the warmer months (us Floridians get cold!).

 FAJITAS!!, 2017

But we didn't come here to talk about the decor, now did we? How's the food? The only answer to this is amazing. The steak comes out perfect. Moist, fully cooked, just the right side to stuff into a flour shell and top with onions and green peppers. The chicken, in stark contrast, is actually on the drier side (though nowhere near inedible), but manages to compliment the steak just right. For the perfect fajita (which are unlimited anyway) take one shell, put down three-four green peppers, put down three onions, two pieces of steak, then one piece of chicken. Top with cheese and lettuce. Enjoy! The best part was, unlike other local Mexican style restaurants, Tequilas doesn't load everything up with cilantro. For someone like me, who is incredibly sensitive to it, this is awesome! I no longer have to fear not being able to enjoy incredible food. 

Ran Out of Onions, 2017

As a matter of fact, the only downsides to this place are some really minor complaints. For one, there are no plates. I thought this was very strange, but when in Rome... I'm not sure if our waiter just forgot them or if they just really don't believe in plates with fajitas. Also, though this isn't a complaint on my end, they put a ridiculous amount of green peppers in the skillet. I love green peppers, but some more onions would've been nice. Also, you only get two shells per skillet. This isn't a huge problem as you get more shells with every round. That said, you might want to load your shells up. You get a fresh round of everything when the time comes. There was also a small issue of their being understaffed on the day that we did go. There were a fair number of tables inside and seemingly one waiter. This made getting refills and ordering another round very difficult. Our waiter was friendly and able to answer all of our questions, but the service (due to no fault of the server) was slow. 

Fiesta, 2017

Things to know before you go:
- This is a decent sized restaurant and the inside has a funky style to it. Just look at the deer above for proof.
- The all-you-can-eat fajitas are, easily, the best deal in Ybor. 
- Of the three Fernandez owned restaurants, this one is my favorite.
- Half of the restaurant doesn't have a roof. It creates a trendy little outdoor setting for those that are looking for that.
- Their specials end at 7:00 pm. Get there before then!

Are all-you-can-eat fajitas the best thing to hit Ybor? Do you prefer the martinis to the sangria? Leave a comment below. If you'd like more information on Tampa, check out my YouTube Channel and if you'd like to support my efforts, don't hesitate to buy a shirt from our Spreadshirt (we have new designs!). Also, don't be afraid to click subscribe and you'll instantly be notified whenever a new entry is posted. Thank you all and I will see you next time!

Comments