Well I think we’re all a little excited about the fact that a new Mexican restaurant has opened up on Tyneside, no? I certainly am.

I mean, obviously it’s no real replacement for the much loved Blue Coyote (RIP) but at least now we have choices again.
Blue Coyote has indeed been missed since shutting it’s doors. The perfect place for, well, almost any occasion actually. A casual evening, a quick lunch, a first date, a second date, a sixty-fourth date, a work’s meal out, a midday snack with a pitcher of midday frozen margaritas or an enormous heap of nachos and a couple of Sol beers on a summers evening.
Can you tell I loved Blue Coyote? I don’t think I’m alone here.

Anyway, I’m digressing. The new place on Grey Street, handily in the heart of our city and round the corner from my house, is part of the chain group ‘Las Iguanas‘.
I know what you’re thinking; chain group!? The alarm bells are ringing.
Fear not loyal readers! (always wanted to say that) I can verify that Las Iguanas is indeed delicious.

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I’m quite the fan of Mexican food anyway. Hearty tomatoey comfort food with cheese, meat and rice? Not too shabby for Sarah. Nachos are amongst my favourite snack of all time, though I can be quite critical and it’s rare to find a dish I’d class as ‘Good Nachos’.
Las Iguanas do ‘Good Nachos’. Served in a big metal pan. I’d recommend the shredded beefy ones. Or maybe the chorizo ones. To. Die. For. Especially with a margarita…

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We’ve been a few times now. For research purposes of course. I’ve sampled a few offerings from their menu including a big chunky beef chilli, the extra super mega hot chicken wings (Boyfriend’s Verdict: “much hype but not so hot actually”), a scrumptious shredded steak Big Burrito, a chicken enchilada, the fantastic taco selection tray and an assortment of desserts. And those nachos.

We’ve also tried and tested the bar. Pretty good. Plenty of cocktails and a happy hour during which they’re buy one get one free. Excellent. I adore a free cocktail. I particularly enjoyed the bubbly Cana Royale and the Keywest Cooler, while my other half had a few tasty jam jars (yes really) of Dark & Stormy. I’ve also kindly taste-tested all of their flavours of the funny little South American liquor shots, including coconut, dulce du leche, chocolate, espresso etc. I’m fairly certain I breathed pure ethanol for the rest of that evening.

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Las Iguanas also offer an Early Bird menu which is worth checking out. Some of their popular dishes at a knockdown price on weekdays before 7:30pm and all day Sunday. Just don’t tell your date you’re only paying half price…

If you are in fact planning a date make sure you ring ahead as each time we’ve been they’ve been packed to the rafters and turning people away.

Hopefully that means they’re here to stay for a while yet…

While we on the subject, have you lot tried the newest addition to Ridley St, Zapatista? It’s Newcastle’s first and only burrito bar. Perfect for when you need a quick, spicy fix and a filling lunch. Based along a system similar to Subway’s you chose your base, your filling, your sauces and extras and pay at the end. Easy and scrumptious. There are a few things that could be improved; the staff are all still fairly new and unfortunately it shows, but obviously these things take time. Also the tortillas are warmed but the fillings seemed to be quite cold the first time I went, which was a shame, they could do with being heated up. But the chilli is delicious, and D’s 9 year old son likes the chargrilled chicken, with plenty of refried beans and salsa. The prices are good and on the whole it’s a really neat lunch. They also offer a large portion of chilli con carne and lime and coriander rice, smothered with cheese and studded with tortilla chips, which is great value for money. It hasn’t yet quite replaced the wonderful handmade spinach wraps Smoothie Wrap (RIP) used to serve on Highbridge St but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

I fact any restaurant that adds to the culinary diversity of Newcastle city centre deserves a mention in my book. Especially one that will allow me to sit in the sun, munching on fully-loaded nachos, supping a margarita and day-dreaming about being lost in Tijuana.

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