I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a connoisseur of Mexican food. But I know what I like and the fresh, satisfying flavours of the recently re-opened All Mex’d Up Taco Shop at Port Alberni’s Harbour Quay definitely fall into the ‘liked’ category.
Young and enthusiastic new owner Matt Dunk purchased the business over this past winter and went to work brightening the place up. Cheerful colours abound and there is a distinct Mexican ambiance to the décor. Big, bright windows at either end of the small shop let in an abundance of natural light, even on the dreariest of days.
We ventured over to All Mex’d Up for lunch a couple of times, sampling the various offerings on the shop’s menu. This most definitely is not just a taco shop – there is a varied selection of Mexican dishes such as enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos and nachos available. The menu describes a tempting array of flavour combinations that is enough to get anyone salivating. There are also daily specials.
Our lunch choices included Matt’s excellent special crispy fish tacos – a combination of fish, Baja sauce, pico de gallo and slaw on flour tortillas. I ordered the flavourful chicken quesadillas, which arrived with a generous serving of pico de gallo and sour cream. My mouth is watering at the memory of them even now, several weeks later.
During the course of our culinary adventures at All Mex’d Up I also enjoyed the ensalada – a lovely crisp green salad that included greens, vegetables, feta cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds and jicama. The inclusion of the latter two ingredients made for great taste and texture, complimented by an unusual creamy cilantro citrus vinaigrette. For those who are not keen on cilantro – and I know there are many out there, although I can’t understand why – there is also the choice of ranch dressing for the salad.
And, of course, there is dessert – a choice of either deep fried ice cream tossed in cinnamon and sugar or churros, tossed in the same mixture. Loved the churros, with their crisp sweet crust encasing a soft, gooey centre.
In addition to the good food, the very casual atmosphere and warm welcomes from the staff make for a really delightful experience. We saw many young families come in for lunch in what is a very kid-friendly space. Youngsters were offered colouring supplies while they waited for their food.. There is a thoughtfully-designed self-serve coffee and water bar that allows adults to serve themselves while meals are being prepared. Service is quick, friendly and efficient. And the prices…well, I don’t know many places anymore where you can get a huge, beautiful salad for less than $7 or another substantial lunch choice for less than ten bucks.
Once the good weather arrives the huge garage-door-style front window will be raised to allow in the fresh breezes off the Alberni Inlet and the activity of Harbour Quay. An eating bar out front will, I am sure, be a popular gathering point for those enjoying the fruits of All Mex’d Up’s labours. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy a little down-time.
Price rating: $
All Mex’d Up doesn’t have a website, but you can find them on Facebook at:
All Mex’d Up is located at #6, 5440 Argyle St. at the waterfront Harbour Quay, Port Alberni
GPS co-ordinates are:
Lat. 49.234930 Long. -124.815719
N 49 14.096 W 124 48.943