Tacos and more at Miami Beach's bodacious Bodega

Bodega South Beach.
Bodega South Beach.

The Who: Menin Hospitality and the Opium Group have partnered on this hip taqueria with a covert lounge that caters to taco lovers and late-night snackers. Chef Bernie Matz (Bernie’s L.A. Cafe) developed the menu.

The Space: A former auto-service spot has been transformed into a taco joint and hidden lounge, accessible through a meat-locker door or a faux port-o-potty. The two-story lounge and bar sports brick walls, bare bulbs, vintage metal stools and velvet couches. Look for West Avenue condo dwellers, local fooderati and lucky tourists who wander off Lincoln Road.

The Dishes: Mexican street food re-purposed for a South Beach crowd. Tortillas and chips are made by hand from masa sourced in Loxahatchee, and chef Bernie has developed the custom hot sauces that adorn all Bodega tables. Prices are reasonable with tacos $2.50-$5 and tortas $9-$14.

The tacos feature meats broiled on rotating vertical spits. Guajillo-braised pork belly includes charred onions, fried jalapenos and red mole aioli. The Midnight torta is stuffed with roasted steak, bacon, Oaxaca cheese, a fried egg, habanero-soaked onion straws and salsa rosada. Vegetarians can choose from mushroom tacos with salsa verde or the Aguacate with avocado and refried black beans.

Desserts are in the form of paleta ice pops in flavors like pineapple-chili, guanabana and coconut.

The Bottom Line: Come for the wallet-friendly tacos, stay for a drink in the secret back lounge.