Mexican home cooking in West Gainesville
By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor
My friend Lynn -- a more than occasional lunch partner -- and I share a passion for Mexican food. Early on, we made a pact to visit each of 24 places in the Urban GLOB that serve Mexican/Latin American cuisine. (Editor's note: I checked, and was surprised to find, the Urban GLOB map to make sure there are really that many lunch spots that serve Latin American food in Gainesville.)
Recently, Lynn and I were in West Gainesville near the Publix shopping center on Tower road, so we decided to give Linda Vista a try.
Stepping through the unadorned, non-descript strip shopping center door to this Mexican café, we were immediately transported into another world filled with color and richly decorated south-of-the-border images in a cozy, inviting dining area.
Thanks to a framed review hanging on their wall, we discovered that Linda Vista is the fourth jewel of Gainesville's Roman family and partners restaurant group, the other three being Las Margaritas, La Tienda, and the Red Pepper Cafe.
Linda Vista offers up an interesting take on Mexican cuisine that differs somewhat from its sister restaurants. The café-like menu and ambience of L.V. suggests an authentic, home style approach to Mexican food.
The first Mexican food test for me is chips and salsa. Give Linda Vista a plus for their chips and salsa. The chips were large triangles that arrived at our table warm and crispy. They held up well to the copious amounts of salsa I was scooping on to them and pushing into my mouth.
The salsa was good. A thick tomato salsa complimented with onion, a very small sprinkling of fresh cilantro, and perhaps a little horseradish included for some spice.
We quickly finished our bowl of chips and requested a second that arrived at our table immediately.
The creature of habit in me opted for the Mike Sanford usual Mexican order of a hard shell taco and chile relleno.
If I sit down to a Mexican meal without a hard shell taco, someone else must have placed the order.
Linda Vista makes a good taco. The meat filling could have been a little spicier but the cheese, greens, and salsa, however, satisfied my Mexican food expectations.
Speaking of tacos, did you know some Sundays, Taco Bell runs a special where they sell tacos for 25 cents? That's twenty tacos for five dollars. That might sound like a lot of tacos but once you get started, but I digress, Back to M.L. . . .
When I think of Mexican food I think of chile rellenos. I don't think I've ever had two that tasted the same. I'm guessing it must be like hamburgers. There must not be a Mexican Chili Relleno recipe etched in stone somewhere.
The chili relleno I had at Linda Vista was OK. A little too much mild sauce. The breading on the pepper was a lack luster participant in the entree.
Of course that didn't stop me from cleaning my plate first, and if Lynn had ordered a chile relleno and left some on her plate I would have eaten her leftovers as well.
Lynn did order a Shrimp Quesadilla, image at top of this feature, and beans and rice. She was not pleased with the rice, which was mushy – but she did eat it all. She thought the beans and the quesdilla were good, and concluded that the food did not quite live up to the promise of the décor.
I'm thinking Mexican food must be like pizza for me. The best Mexican food I have ever eaten is always the food on the plate in front of me.
The pluses and minuses of Linda Vista:
Linda Vista (+) indicators: This is a good moderately priced lunch spot in West Gainesville with authentic decor.
Linda Vista (-) indicators: How come these Mexican places don't have a Mariachi band playing at lunch time? AY CARUMBA!
Offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Linda Vista. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS!
- Phone Number: 377-7866
- Address: 7070 SW Archer Rd., Gaineville, FL
- Urban GLOB Location: West Gainesville
- Web Site: Linda Vista
- Latitude: 29.601818
- Longitude: -82.419298
Pamela Howell Thursday, 08 March 2018 14:29 Comment Link
We eat at Linda Vista all the time. It's our favorite Gainesville Mexican restaurant. We've also eaten at their sister store, Las Margaritas, but Linda Vista is our favorite. Not only is the food very good and very filling (always leftovers for me), their servers are nice, knowledgeable, and happy to do whatever it takes to make your dining experience the best. Also, they know us when we come in and always tell us it's nice to see us again. I LOVE that place.
Mindy Edwards Thursday, 25 July 2013 11:23 Comment Link
I went @dinner time a couple of years ago. I was with one other person. We were seated near a large table w/several children. It was way too noisy. The food was very average mexican, bland and unoriginal. Probably the "olive garden" of mexican restaurants. Will not be back!
Tonya Sunday, 18 November 2012 15:31 Comment Link
Best bean dip ever!
Rachael Saturday, 28 January 2012 12:55 Comment Link
Horrible food, no flavor, tastes like it comes from a box. DON'T waste your money.
Abby Friday, 21 October 2011 10:37 Comment Link
Unfortunately, this was some of the worst tex-mex food I've ever had. The beans and rice came on a separate plate that appeared to have been microwaved and left to sit for a while. The glob of beans was peeling away from the plate. There was some foul "cheese" on the beans and the rice was a congealed mess. The fish tacos were pretty tasteless, so I asked for hot sauce, something I've never had to do in a tex-mex restaurant. The waitress asked if I wanted the house made or bottle; I asked for the spicier one, and it was pretty good. I didn't eat the rice and beans and left one of the two tacos. As for the "art", I just had to laugh. There's tacky and cheesy decor, but this was more like laughably hideous. I won't go across town for this food again.
Pam H. Tuesday, 03 May 2011 10:13 Comment Link
I talked my husband into going to Mexico Lindo with me for my second visit and his first. I tried the chimichanga ($6.50 for lunch), which came with rice and beans as well as a very large portion each of guacamole and sour cream. You can get the filling as beef (I assume ground beef), chicken, pulled beef or pulled chicken. I chose chicken and it came with large lumps of breast meat, which was fresh and tasty. I really enjoyed my meal. Mike ordered the enchilada especiale ($7.99 for lunch), which was four enchiladas, one each of beef, chicken, cheese and beans. It didn't come with rice and beans, which was his only disappointment. Fortunately, there was enough on my plate that I was able to share with him. He said next time, he'll order some rice and beans on the side, although he complained of being over full when he left the restaurant this time with only having had a portion of what would come as sides. He said that his meal was some of the best Mexican food he has eaten in Gainesville, and I agreed totally with him. This restaurant has great food, great servers who are very attentive to their customers, and the place is always sparkling clean. Mike even commented that the bathroom was sparkling clean. One of the things I like about this place is the artwork on the chairs, booth backs and walls. All of it is Mexican folk art and it's charming to view. All in all, a WONDERFUL lunch, and we WILL return soon.
PLUS = good food, good service, sparkling clean facility, very good prices for lunch
MINUS = so far, I can't find even one
Pam H. Friday, 08 October 2010 13:31 Comment Link
Went to Mexico Lindo today for lunch. I was a little surprised to see that, at 11:45, it was already fairly packed. Our waitperson arrived promptly, took our drink orders and brought them quickly. (One thing I liked about the drinks is that they came in BIG Sonny's-size glasses, not those little have-to-refill-3-times glasses.) The chips and salsa were on the table before we could even get settled in our seats. We looked at the menu for several minutes before making our decisions. Once made and ordered, the food arrived very fast and very hot. I had the enchilada suiza (chicken) which was very tasty although the chicken was just a tad dried out. It came with a dish of sour cream (VERY ample portion, about 1/4 cup) and guacamole (some of the best I've had that wasn't made at home). One of the others had a spinach quesadilla which she was pleased with. Another had fish tacos and he said they were tasty and fresh. All in all, it was a pleasurable dining experience. The ambience of the place is nice ... fresh, clean and not too noisy.
+ = fresh, tasty food; very clean facility; extremely good prices
- = the chicken was a little dry and tough