Amigos Taqueria Opens on Keawe Street in HiloMay 19, 2016, 9:12 AM HST (Updated May 19, 2016, 9:12 AM)
Viva una nueva taqueria! I sure hope Google translator got that right, and that I haven’t just inadvertently insulted all the Spanish speakers. I mean well. In fact, I’m downright excited, because Hilo has a new Mexican restaurant: Amigos Taqueria.
The taqueria is in the old Ocean Sushi restaurant on Keawe Street. Ocean Sushi moved across the street to the site of the former Italian restaurant, Pescatore, on the corner. But that’s enough restaurant geography.
It took about a year to renovate the space, but it was well worth it. The interior now is brightly painted in rusty red, yellow, and purple. It’s cheerful, warm, and fun, down to the hand-made piñata at the counter. Upbeat Mexican music played during my visits, keeping the ambiance festive. The kitchen is open, and spotless. The restaurant has been expanded into the space next door, with many more tables. A bar has been built and will be operating soon.
Being a California native, I always get excited and hopeful about Mexican food. I do miss it. I don’t miss it enough to give up poke or laulau, but I do miss it. When I opened the door at Amigos, the spicy, intoxicating aromas hit me immediately – and I knew I wasn’t going to be disappointed.
My husband had the fish burrito (cod, $11.50). I swiped a taste; it was great. I had the Chile Rellenos ($11.50), one of my favorites. Both were spicy, yet not overly so – more flavorful than spicy-hot, which I think is a sign of good cooking. For dessert, we split a piece of flan ($3.60), which was the perfect ending.
The savvy owners, in keeping with Hilo’s trend toward healthier options, have included kale burritos, as well as tofu burritos, on the menu. You will find all your favorites, too, such as tacos, burritos, fajitas, and ceviche.
The kitchen staff works together well, and everyone was very friendly. Service was fast and efficient. Bathrooms were immaculate.
Disfrutar de la comida Mexicana maravillosa.
Amigos Taqueria is located at 250 Keawe Street, Hilo. Open 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Sundays. Parking: Street.