West coast transplants flock to five-month old 222 Taco for a fix of Cali-Mex-style tacos.
Order at the counter then seat yourself at a table near the bar for a margarita. A recessed oval in the ceiling is filled with whimsical images of peacocks and phoenixes. Grab a paltea (popsicle) from a freezer that looks like a pushcart.
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Owner Anna Robbins is from Walnut Creek, California and runs the place with Cuban-born husband Alex Picart. (The restaurant is named for Robbins’ birthday.) She first came to Miami as the tour manager for R&B musician Cody Chesnutt, who was opening for the Roots. She ended up staying and opening Coyo Taco in Wynwood (though she is no longer involved).
Start With These Dishes
Order the Guacamole Fuego topped with candied Fresno chiles bits, served with chips made in-house from fried corn tortillas. Or try elote, a whole husked roasted corn cob, rolled in a mixture of mayo, queso fresco and tajin (chile-lime sauce).
There’s also grilled nopal cactus in tomatillo sauce, served with warm tortillas for making cactus tacos—be sure to add the fiery green salsa and pico de gallo. Or go with tomatillo salsa verde.
Breakfast is served all day, so you could start with chilaquiles. They come with a sunny-side-up egg on crispy torn corn tortillas with roasted chicken, cheese, crema and cilantro. There’s also a burrito stuffed with omelet, Oaxaca cheese (like Monterey jack but with a string cheese texture) and potatoes. Add chorizo, bacon or avocado for an extra $2.
Share These Dishes
Order the family-style al pastor taco platter. It’s one pound of thin shaved spit-roasted pork, seasoned with mild guajillo chiles and achiote powder that adds a reddish-orange color. They come with a dozen tortillas, crema and guacamole for making custom tacos. Or order shrimp or cauliflower in place of the pork.
Share nachos with a choice of chips or fries, slathered in cheese, crema and guacamole sauce.
Tacos, tortas (sandwiches on Mexican baguettes), tostadas, quesadillas and burritos can be had one of three ways.
There’s Land, which includes shaved pork, barbacoa de res (slow cooked beef chuck in chile sauce), chorizo and potatoes, roast chicken, shredded chicken tinga in tomato-chile sauce and grilled steak.
Sea offers wahoo, shrimp or octopus.
And Jardin (from the garden) has roasted cauliflower, summer squash with corn and chiles or mushrooms alambre (topped with cheese and salsa) and seasonal pulled fruit cochinta.
Coco-ceviche is local fish or coconut meat in citrus juice with crunchy jicama, bell pepper, cilantro and toasted coconut. There’s also Mexican pizza on a flour tortilla with black beans, cheese and salsa.
Save Room For Dessert
Get hot sugar-dusted fried churros or a big rocky road chocolate cookie with marshmallow and walnuts.
Address: 1624 79th Street Causeway, North Bay Village
Contact: 833-222-8226, www.222ta.com
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-2 a.m.
Prices: Breakfast $7-$11, brunch $3-$10, tacos $3-$4, burritos $9-$12, nachos $10-$24, al pastor taco platter $44-$64, ceviche $11, Mexican pizza $8, desserts $4-$5
F.Y.I. Wednesday is family night with arts and crafts available for the kids