2526 12 Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37204
P – 615.269.8226
W – www.bartaco.com
Daily – 11:30A – Late
We love the “12 South” part of Nashville. It’s hip and trendy with a relaxed urban feel. We are undoubtedly older than the average visitor to this busy section just south of downtown, but that’s okay, because no one seems to care, especially us.
We have been to several of the restaurants in 12 South…many of them multiple times. But we had never been to Bartaco until recently. So when the opportunity arose to visit Bartaco with our friends Tommy and Karen, we were excited. There was no particular occasion to celebrate – just dinner with good friends on Wednesday night. The reason I note the day of the week is so that you’ll be prepared for the crowd, not just at Bartaco, but in 12 South in general.
It’s no secret that Nashville is hot. It’s very much an “It” city, and the crowds in restaurants and bars support this designation. I don’t care what day of the week you go out, any place that’s worth going to is going to be crowded. And if you can judge the worth of a restaurant by the crowd there on a weeknight, then Bartaco has something going on.
Granted, we didn’t get there until 8:00, but hey, it was a Wednesday, right? No matter. It took us the better part of an hour to get seated and get our first margarita. But it was definitely worth it. The margaritas at Bartaco taste different than any margarita I’ve had anywhere else, but they are very good. If I didn’t know better, I would swear they have San Pellegrino Lemon Soda in them, or maybe even Fresca, but they don’t. They are actually made with maestro dobel diamante, combier liqueur d’orange, agave syrup, and lime juice. We had two pitchers (don’t judge!) with our meal, and I highly recommend them.
Bartaco bills itself as “inspired by the beach culture of Brazil, Uruguay and Southern California.” I’m not even sure what that means, but it does result in some pretty good food. The interior is open and inviting, if a little loud. It has a good energy about it, and we found the server to be friendly and helpful. If you prefer your “street food” al fresco, you can sit outside, as they have plenty of seating.
We all tried their tacos, which are closer to the traditional tacos you get (e.g. corn tortillas, smaller in size) at authentic Mexican restaurants than the crunchy or soft tacos you get at your neighborhood Mexican restaurant. You could choose from fillings of baja fish, pork pastor, and many others, including fried oyster. I had a baja fish taco, a chicken taco, and a sesame ribeye taco. They were all excellent, and I would order them again. The sesame ribeye taco delivered a little heat, but not too much. I think my overall favorite was the baja fish.
I’m actually not sure what everyone else got, as I was pretty wrapped up in my own meal…and margarita. They all got tacos of various types, and no one was disappointed. Michelle also got sides of grilled corn (off the cob w/ lime, cotija cheese, cayenne pepper) and spicy cucumber salad (garlic, red pepper flakes, rice wine vinegar). Both were noteworthy, but the corn was especially good.
The tacos all cost either $2.50 or $3.50, and the sides are all $2.50. You can also order rice bowls and various other things under the category “Not Tacos”. For a peek at the Nashville menu, click here.
We started the evening with house-made guacamole and salsa. The salsa was of the verde variety, and it was a nice complement to the guac, which had a hint of lime to it. It comes with large, fried tortillas that you can break up and use to dip, and when you run out, they will bring more. It was a nice start to our dinner.
Bartaco has locations in six states, with Nashville being the only TN location. I’m not exactly sure what our meal cost, as Tommy paid for dinner (Thanks, Tommy!) If you get the chance, check it out. But I would make reservations…even on a Wednesday night.