My family and I ate lunch at Rockin’ Tacos on a recent post-Fourth weekend. The menu remains the same all day. The full bar offers a wide selection of drinks, including flights of tequilas, island cocktails, sangria and beers.
If you’ve visited The Boardwalk, you know there are several levels, reachable by elevator (or stairs). There’s beachfront seating, a fine view, and playground equipment for the kids on the ground floor. Rockin’ Tacos is on the second floor, impossible to miss. It’s big, airy (there was a pleasant circulating breeze the day we went), and has plenty of tables.
A large staff of managers, hosts, and waiters keeps things moving without resorting to herding tactics. You can sit inside where it’s slightly shadier, or take advantage of the patio to get a view of the water. We sat inside, near a patio entrance that gave us even more of the breeze.
Our server (Sara) brought us menus, chips and salsa, took drink orders, and left us to consider our choices. The brightly colored bill of fare offers appetizers, quesadillas, house specialties, burritos, fajitas, build-your-own tacos, salads, burgers, and sides. It’s posted on the restaurant’s website, and you might want to do some reconnaissance before you go.
The generous serving (two containers) of red salsa was mild, tangy, fresh-tasting (lots of cilantro, which I like), and of a smoother consistency, which is a nice change from chunky. In case you want yours hotter, I counted six bottles of pepper sauce on the table.
We ordered a starter of guacamole. They have two options, a tableside preparation and a side order prepared in the kitchen. My wife and I love guacamole, but our daughter Grace is not so fond, so we passed on the tableside version (our server told us the recipes were the same) and got the side order. There was still enough to take almost half of it home for later; we always take a travel sized cooler on dining reviews.
I had scanned the menu online, and noticed under house specialties that they had gator tacos. I enjoy gator, and it’s hard to pass up when I see it. I like the meat’s slightly chewy texture—which reminds me of frog leg—and its affinity for pungent seasonings. Sounded tailor-made for a taco.
My wife ordered steak tacos, also a specialty. Grace ordered her fallback—cheese quesadillas. She’s at a cautious age when it comes to trying new things—never a problem in her early years—and she had a loose tooth to boot.
The guacamole arrived, also in two containers. It was predominantly smooth, with small chunks to help get a grip on the corn chips. Either it or the red salsa (maybe both) had a dose of garlic. It needed no additional sauce, and we ended up taking half home for supper.
Other appetizers are Mexican Street Corn—grilled corn on the cob with aioli and queso fresco, avocado fries, flautas and either traditional cheese or “Rockin’” nachos with chicken and shrimp. There’s also tortilla or taco salad.
Our entrees came, just in time for the last of our corn chips to disappear. I got two fat, overstuffed gator tacos, full of slaw, with lightly fried, crisp, hot and tender gator bites spilling over the edges. There’s a drizzle (not a pool, thankfully) of aioli, with lime wedges and green onions to add an extra tang.
The beef in the steak taco was exceptionally tender and flavorful, served likewise with slaw and aioli, and tart pico de gallo over the top. Both came with seasoned Spanish rice. Grace ate about half of her quesadilla, which accompanied the guacamole home with us.
Other menu choices include ground beef, fried or blackened fish, chicken, shrimp or crab tacos, chicken, ground beef, pork or steak burritos, fajitas with steak, chicken or shrimp, customizable tacos, salads and burgers. A full third of the menu is devoted to margaritas, mojitos and cocktails, including one called La Avocolada, with avocado blended pina colada-style.
There was no dessert available that day, though I’ve seen online photos of tres leches cake and flan. Ask the servers – they know best.
Beachcomber has recently reviewed several restaurants at The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island. As touristy as The Boardwalk looks—and it can look very touristy—you’re missing out if you don’t give some of its dining establishments a try, even in the high season.
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