Of all the taco spots in Atlanta, Tin Lizzy’s Cantina is without a doubt the place I have frequented more than any other. That being said, when I began my “taco tour”, I was pretty convinced that I already knew who the winner would be.
Although the local chain has five different locations around town, I’ve actually only ever been to the Midtown and Buckhead locations before. Both have great patios, and can be the perfect option for many occasions – a casual date, a larger group meal, or just some afternoon day drinking. I’m slightly biased towards the Buckhead location because it has a much better parking situation than Midtown, and frequently has live music on the patio. My most recent visit to the Roswell Road (Buckhead) location came about on a Sunday afternoon as the product of a very empty refrigerator.
A trip to Tin Lizzy’s is never complete without a basket of addictively-seasoned chips and salsa fresca. Apparently they’re aware of the addictive nature of the seasoned salt because they’ll sell you your own shaker for $4.99. I was almost tempted.
The menu offers almost 30 tacos, ranging from the classics (grilled chicken, steak) to some of the more adventurous “special tacos” (Korean BBQ pork, super Greek). The tacos are served a la carte on your choice of a flour or wheat tortilla. On this particular occasion, I tried the Santa Fe chicken, the fajita shrimp, and the spicy tilapia tacos, all on wheat tortillas. Across the board, I was not impressed.
The Santa Fe chicken taco was grilled with jalapeños, onions, and tomatoes. The taco was dressed smothered in queso blanco and a spicy ranch dressing. The sauce was too much for me to handle, and the tortilla was already soggy by the time I took my first bite. I would have preferred the taco with a dash of shredded queso fresco and just a drizzle of the spicy ranch.
The fajita shrimp taco was better, but didn’t taste like much at all. The shrimp were extra-tiny (definitely farm-raised), and although they appeared to be seasoned, were pretty bland. A couple slivers of onions and peppers were thrown in for good measure, but the majority of the taco consisted of lettuce, with a dollop of cilantro crème fraiche on top.
Based on appearances alone, the spicy tilapia looked the most appetizing. The fish was grilled with peppers & onions, topped with fresh avocado slices, and drizzled with a spicy lime vinaigrette. Unfortunately, the fish tasted like, well nothing. I liked the flavor combination of the avocado with the vinaigrette, but they weren’t enough to make up for the lack of flavor in the fish.
Aside from the chips & salsa, I was pretty disappointed in the meal. I realize that at $3-4 a taco, they’re probably not using the highest quality seafood out there, but I definitely expected more in terms of seasoning. I’m willing to chalk it up to an off-day in the kitchen, but I will definitely steer clear of the “fish & shrimp” section of the menu going forward. After going 0 for 3 in one visit, I believe it’s time to revise my winner prediction…