My green eyes make it to Azul Bar Y Cantina.

My green eyes make it to Azul Bar Y Cantina.

Me and my bicycle outside of the restaurant.

Twice! So far, I have made it twice to Azul Bar Y Cantina this summer. The first time was by car and the second time was by bicycle. Kevin and I live only about 6.5 miles from the restaurant so we knew it was bikeable, but decided to drive the first time to scope out the route. Riding my road bike to the restaurant made me realize that I need to tune my bike asap as my brakes were not prepared for all the down hill on the way there.

Trip 1

chips and queso

The first time we opened the wide doors into the restaurant, we were greeted with a crowd. All the tables were filled, so Kevin and I took a seat at the bar. I liked the cozy ambiance and travel décor. I don’t think Azul was ready for that kind of crowd since it took awhile to get water and a cleared off counter space. But, the chips and queso came out fast! The chips were thick and crunchy. Because of the thick texture, one wrong bite into a chip could be a bloody disaster. Azul’s chips are similar to Condado’s chips, but less greasy. The queso had a thin consistency with a subtle cheese but full on creamy taste.

steak tacos

As for the main course, Kevin and I went with the steak tacos and the mahi mahi tacos for a classic taco swap. Kevin remembered Azul having blue corn shells as he has been here before for lunch, but times have changed! The steak tacos were loaded with shredded lettuce and cotija cheese. The steak was SO tender. Each bite was like biting into a jumbo sized marshmallow. The marinade was like nothing I’ve had before with interesting spices. Each piece of steak was lean without any fat. This taco reached my upper limit for spiciness, but I still enjoyed the level of heat. The toppings contributed well to this taco, too. I give it a 4 out of 5 as I would definitely recommend this taco to anyone.

mahi taco

The second taco we tried was the mahi mahi taco. The sauce on the taco was extremely runny and it did not help that we ate this taco second. We chose a flour shell for this taco, but we liked the cornshell we had with the steak better than the flour. The fish seemed to be cooked perfectly and no fishy taste was present, just spice. The cabbage and tomato were complimentary. You just can’t let this taco sit for very long. I give this taco a 4 out of 5 for its creativity and cohesive toppings.

Margarita and I
Cheers to my first visit at Azul Pgh!

Trip 2

Besides changing the mode of transportation for our second trip, we also ordered chips and guac this time instead of the queso, and two different tacos to try, of course!

Guacamole and I

Just like the queso, we loved the guac. The guac was chunky and tossed with tomatoes. Very fresh and addictive, especially with those amazing diamond integrity chips.

For our classic taco swap, Kevin and I ordered the chicken tacos and the pork belly tacos. Dreading the climb for the way back, I ordered a margarita to calm my nerves. My only mistake I made this evening was not ordering a double. I LOVE Azul’s margaritas.

pork belly tacos

When our tacos came to the table, we decided to enjoy the pork belly tacos first. The pork belly took center stage here as I just tasted the pork. There was so much meat here and it was extremely thick as expected for pork belly. The pork was a little dry, even though the cut was thick. Kevin and I both liked the bacon flavor bites at the end. The slaw was a good side kick. I give this taco a 3 out of 5 as it just met expectations.

chicken tacos

As for the chicken taco, nothing jumped out here. Just a good fajita taste to the chicken. The taco was a little dry and I did not taste the salsa verde. I give this taco a 3 out of 5.

steak tacos

Overall, I liked the tacos we had better during trip one with my favorite taco so far being the steak taco. Keep that fire going baby so I can pop that marshmallow steak in my mouth! There may be room for minor taco tweaks, but I do believe the chips, queso, guacamole, and margaritas are all top notch.

During both visits, Kevin and I were introduced to the owner of the restaurant, Donna. We were given a background story of how Azul Bar Y Cantina came to be which I think is important to share here. Donna opened Azul with her husband, Angus, in 2005. Angus moved to San Diego in his youth to pursue his education at San Diego State University. During his studies, he worked in a number of upscale restaurants. It is in San Diego where Angus met Donna. They moved to Boston for a short time before starting to grow their family in Pittsburgh. From there, they would still travel back and forth to San Diego to visit family and friends and to visit their favorite Mexican restaurant, El Indios. With this background, Donna and Angus decided it was time to bring the authentic Mexican experience to the city that they made their home. Unfortunately, Angus passed away from a heart attack unexpectedly in 2021. Donna now runs the restaurant with her two sons. Azul Bar Y Cantina has a strong family foundation and with this kind of story, you know they dump their heart and soul into this business and the connections they make with their patrons.

Who knows what mode of transportation I will take for my third visit. Maybe I will take a scooter or golf cart, or horse. What I do know is that there will be a third visit!

Price: $16 per two fancy tacos. Taco-spensive!

Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: