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Taqueria Tsunami

Athens, Georgia

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Atmosphere and Service

I stumbled upon this restaurant by accident when strolling the streets of downtown Athens, Georgia. Taqueria Tsunami describes itself as a Latin-Asian Kitchen. Upon arrival, I was greeted by two friendly hosts but chose to sit at the bar which was mostly empty. The decor was contemporary/modern and the space was large and open. Partitions separated the booths so it provided a sound barrier and privacy. Lighting was comfortable, not too bright or dark. The bartender, Ms. D, greeted me kindly but provided no recommendations so I asked what her favorite thing on the menu was. She pointed me to several options without any real explanation. Since I’m a fan of seafood, I decided on the Shrimp Tempura, Baja and Short Rib tacos with a side of black beans and rice.

Food & Value

The food came out quickly. Too quickly. That usually is not a good sign. Starting with the Baja taco. It was reminiscent of Gorton’s frozen fish sticks wrapped in a flour tortilla. The slaw on top had very little sauce. It was dry. There was sauce under the fish but the taco lacked flavor. Shrimp Tempura tacos sound fun, however, it was just two fried shrimp with the same dry slaw on top. Possibly lacking more flavor than the fish taco. On to the Short Rib tacos. You can see from the photos, the meat was a congealed wet blob. It sat on top of the same room temperature tortilla with soggy cucumber garnish. It was disappointing. There isn’t much more to say about the black beans and rice as it was just that, no seasoning, no flavor.

Overall Experience

This is definitely a one and done. Aside from the prime location, the place lacks warmth, comfort and soul. Warmth comes from the staff who are genuinely happy that you chose their restaurant apart from all the other options and are excited to show you what sets their menu apart, especially with a niche kitchen such as theirs. Soul comes from the the flavor of the food, the quality of the ingredients and the excited anticipation of your next bite. Comfort took a hit with the hard metal bar stools. The final bill came out to $16 which included the three tacos and a side. With tip, $20 for a sit down restaurant in downtown Athens would prove that the value is there. However, if you add on a cocktail, maybe a margarita, your bill will easily double, and at that price, frozen fish sticks and a bottle of tequila at home will run you about the same and possibly taste better.

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