Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mexican Gem Hidden in Bogota

Riviera Maya

252 East Fort Lee Road
Bogota, NJ 07603

Craving Mexican food and unable to go to our new favorite spot in Hoboken, we searched desperately for another authentic Mexican food gem that's a bit more local for us. Riviera Maya is a quaint restaurant on a side street in Bogota. Their website describes take-out and delivery, so we were a little worried, but you don't find food gems by running scared!

We walked in and were seated right away. There's seating on one side of the restaurant and a chef in an open style kitchen on the other, so the space was filled with an aroma that makes your mouth water. We were immediately given chips and salsa, glasses of water, and offered table-side guacamole; we are not ones to say no to that! A few moments later, the waiter came over with a cart full of fresh ingredients and asked how spicy we wanted our guacamole. The chips, salsa, and guacamole were all delicious! There is a big difference when these simple items are made fresh, compared to when they come from a bag or a jar.
We started with two orders of tacos. Each order comes with three tacos; we picked one chicken, two barbacoa, and three of the special tacos that night, which were red snapper. Each order came with green sauce, lime, radishes, and grilled green onions. They were made with traditional corn tortillas and garnished with cilantro, onions, salsa. Simple, flavorful, and perfect. 

For our first main course we ordered chicken enchiladas. The two corn tortillas were filled with cheese, chicken, peppers, and onions and topped with melted cheese, pico de gallo, and sour cream. The dish was served with rice, black beans, lettuce, and guacamole. The enchiladas were not mushy and soaked in sauce and cheese as they sometimes are; the corn tortilla retained its texture and all of the components added to the overall flavor of the dish. Even the rice and beans were perfectly seasoned.
For our second main course we ordered chicken chimichangas. We don't usually order these because at most Mexican restaurant's they are extremely large, almost food challenge worthy dishes, with no flavor or substance. These two flour tortillas were filled with chicken, peppers and onions, and served with rice, and served with pinto beans, guacamole, and sour cream. The size of them were perfect and reminiscent of Chimichangas you would receive if ordering in Mexico. They were light and crispy on the outside, while the chicken was moist inside. 
Overall this place is the definition of a food gem. They serve authentic Mexican cuisine, the portions are perfectly sized, it is not overpriced, and it is not crowded with trendy people who are looking for mediocre Tex-Mex. The waiters are extremely attentive and knowledgable about the food. The restaurant is colorful, clean, and welcoming. We highly recommend taking a trip to Bogota to try this restaurant. 

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