In an area with increasingly pricey real estate, North Bay Village remains a deal. The small city, wedged between mainland Miami and the Beach, is home to affordable housing with stunning water views.
Now, the city has one more thing going for it: a taco restaurant with a great bar.
222 Taco recently debuted in a strip mall on the 79th Street Causeway, the main thoroughfare that runs through the village.
Anna Robbins (formerly of Coyo Taco) and Alex Picart have opened a restaurant that has what many Miami eateries lack — a genuine feel of a family-run spot that also happens to serve great cocktails and tacos.
Last week, the restaurant had just opened, and the neon 222 Taco sign was being installed. Robbins and Picart took turns tending bar while the other supervised the sign's placement.
The entrance to the restaurant also houses a takeout counter. A cooler offers grab-and-go salads and drinks, and a corner holds branded shirts and hats, including a pink tank with the eatery's skull mascot wearing a hat that states, "Nacho friend."
Nachos are your friend at the eatery. So are tacos, tostadas, and burritos. The succinct and affordable menu lists a host of vegan items that can make you forget your carnivorous cravings, such as the cauliflower al pastor taco, a clever take on the traditional al pastor.
Traditionalists will enjoy the pork al pastor, Baja shrimp, and carne asada tacos. Prices are $3 to $4. Go crazy and order five, and you're still at or under 20 bucks for a filling meal. Three tacos are more than enough to sate most appetites.
An inviting bar in the corner of the dining room offers an extensive selection of rare tequilas and mezcals, curated by Robbins herself.
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Cocktails range from a low-alcohol "mamarita," made with rosé wine, St-Germain, passionfruit, lime, and agave and served with a sweet jalapeño rim ($11), to the restaurant's take on a margarita — the Casa Del 222, containing Tromba tequila, Mandarine Napoleon liqueur, lime, and agave and finished with a hibiscus tajín rim ($11).
When the weather turns steamy, opt for a 222 Slushy ($11). It's a delightful version of a piña colada, made with passionfruit and Tromba tequila instead of rum.
222 Taco. 1624 79th St. Cswy., North Bay Village; 833-222-8226; 222ta.co. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday and Friday.