Restaurant Review

Caliente is fresh, appealing Mexican grill

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Caliente Mexican Grill has been a popular spot for URI students, where they lined up to order fresh, appealing, inexpensive Mexican food. The family-owned business has added a location at 267 Thayer St. in Providence, directly across from the Avon Cinema and a block away from East Side Pockets, which is also near them at URI.

Since Greek and Mexican foods are our favorites, and they are both healthy and inexpensive, we now have two places to eat after the Avon. Caliente took over a small space that previously featured varieties of toasted cheese and then deli sandwiches. Their menu is huge, featuring tacos, burritos, chimichangas, quesadillas, enchiladas, tostadas, fajitas, salads, subs, wraps and dinner plates. They boast that they are “Vegetarian Friendly!

Sounds like every other Mexican restaurant, you say?

The difference is in the presentation and the wide choice of ingredients.

Approaching the store length counter, you are greeted with a couple dozen options to complement your selections, and they are freshly prepared, brightly colored, and begging for you to pick them.

On our first visit, we both chose the shrimp soft corn tacos (one for $2.99/2 for $5.99/3 for $7.99). Take a dollar off each order on Taco Tuesday. They were the best tasting, best looking tacos we had ever eaten, served with a lime wedge and as many toppings as you want.

The young staff is friendly and helpful, explaining what everything is. We returned two weeks later and they remembered us. (Maybe it was because we were two old folks in a college environment).

Joyce enjoyed her shrimp taco so much she ordered three (it was our dinner). I ordered a couple fish tacos, grilled before my eyes, with cilantro, guacamolillo, pico de gallo, sour cream and pickled onions (they were so good), plus my choice of mild, medium or hot sauce. I always go for the medium.

We’ll be back. We probably won’t be able to make it through the huge menu, and Joyce may never order anything but the shrimp tacos. I’ve got a list, which includes their chimichanga with Monterey Jack cheese and my choice of meat (probably pulled pork) for $8.99 and the chipotle chicken quesadillas ($7.49).

You can call ahead for take-out, (521-0105), order online (mexicangrillcaliente.com), or do like we do: take in a movie at the Avon and walk across the street.

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