You all know my love of Red Mesa Cantina in downtown St. Pete. Just a few blocks away, right next to Green Bench and walking distance to Tropicana Field, is one of its sister restaurants – Red Mesa Mercado. A few of us were heading over to the Rays game a few weeks ago and the Mercado was the perfect spot for a quick bite to eat beforehand.
Red Mesa Mercado is a much more casual atmosphere than Red Mesa and Red Mesa Cantina. They have a large covered outdoor patio area with a walk up window to order and pick up your food. The patio is brightly colored and still has a bit of that fun eclectic feel. Inside you’ll find the mercado (market), full of hot sauces, seasonings, and spice blends to help create your own delicious meals at home.
The food here is simple with classic options like tacos, burritos, and chimichangas. The simple menu though does not take away from the flavors they pack into every bite, and allows their food to be served hot, fresh, and quick.
J. and I both ordered combo meals. I got a crisp chicken taco and pork tamale. The shell of the taco is perfectly crisp and holds up to the contents. The chicken is cooked down in some sort of salsa and seasoning that adds the perfect amount of spice and heat, it’s topped with tomatoes, lettuce, and cheese for that fresh bite. (If anyone remembers those Alaskan fried tacos that used to be down in Ybor…these are the closest thing I’ve found to them. And I’m obsessed.) The pork tamale is served in the corn husk it was cooked in. The corn meal outside is warm and soft with plenty of pork (cooked down in a red chili sauce) stuffed inside. The corn meal helps balance out the heat from the filling. Each combo platter is served with a side of refried beans and rice. A well rounded meal, especially with a glass of their red sangria too! (refreshing!)
So the next time you’re over in the area and need a quick bite to eat, or just want to sit outside and enjoy a good meal, I highly recommend heading over to the Red Mesa Mercado. You’ll leave full and satisfied – and then can grab a beer next door at Green Bench too!
Until next time!