by Miss Terry Diner
Tequila Reef on Soi 7 has now been around long enough to carve out its own little niche in the Pattaya Dining Out scene, so having heard of the new expanded menu the Dining Out Team decided to pay the restaurant’s driving force, Robb Vaughn, a visit.
Although Soi 7 is one of those very congested narrow streets, you can park behind the beer bars on the left side, so parking is not a problem.
The restaurant is brightly lit outside, so you will not miss it. Inside there is a bar running the width of the room and all the walls are covered in Mexican/Californian memorabilia, from flags, old advertising signs, posters and even a surfboard. The eating area is mainly in well upholstered booths which overlook the amazing sights one can see in Soi 7.
We were welcomed by the “larger than life” Robb and sat up at the bar for a drink before dinner. Now Robb serves the most wicked frozen Margaritas, on tap! A mango one was suggested and it was a great creamy cold drink, which Robb then livened up with some tequila liberally applied. This is a custom called “Sprinkling the Infield” and as I type this the following morning, my brain is telling me one should be wary of this custom!
Robb explained that the original menu of only Baja California/Mexican cuisine was thought to be a little restrictive. “I had people coming in and asking for Chili Con Carne. After 8 months the light went on that I should have Chile Con Carne on the menu!” It is now there, number 22. As well as adding new tastes, Robb has also added some very inexpensive items (60 baht for a hot dog served with Mexican slaw and chopped onions), and some small serves as well, “Whatever money you have, you can spend it here,” said the ever wise-cracking Robb.
The menu begins with appetizers, most with wonderful Mexican names like Grilled Pork Quesadilla, but all have explanations underneath. Prices range between 80-230 baht.
Next up are two soups (B. 60&95) with a Yacatan Black Bean soup catching my eye, then some salads, including Robb’s “Almost Perfect” Caesar salad (even if he does spell his “Ceasar” – which may be why it is only “almost” perfect). This has baby Romaine lettuce, garlic croutons, anchovy, egg yolk and Parmesan.
Grilled and BBQ’d items are next (B. 145-335) including Drunk and Dancing chickens, Baja Baby Back Ribs and even a Starving Surfer Mixed Grill. These are followed by grilled fish (B. 175-225) and then the Burritos, Fajitas and Combo plates (B. 180-265) which are still the most popular items on the menu according to Robb.
Fourteen burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches (B. 60-155) and almost at the end of the 112 item menu followed by some side orders at around 50 baht each.
There is a separate page of Thai items (B.60-150) for those who cannot find something they would like to try in the main menu.
Finally there is the drinks menu with local beers around B. 65 and house wine B. 130 by the glass as well as the other more exotic cocktails (and the frozen Margaritas).
We tried many sampler dishes and I especially liked the Yacatan, sharp and smokey flavoured soup and the Pork Carnitas which came with wonderful flour tortillas to roll up your own tacos, while Madame liked the Chicken Fajitas as her dish of the evening.
The Dining Out Team enjoyed the food and the fun experience at Tequila Reef. This is not the restaurant to go to for a quiet dinner, but one for those nights when you want to spice up your life, let your hair down a little and enjoy a convivial evening. Robb does apologise to those regular patrons who couldn’t get in when the Cobra Gold boys took the place over, but it’s safe to come back now! Just watch out for “Sprinkling the Infield”! We enjoyed it, so will you. Do try it!
Tequila Reef Cantina, Soi 7 (30 metres from Beach Road), Central Pattaya, telephone 038 414 035.
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