“If I’ve Eaten a Better Shrimp Taco, I Can’t Recall It…”

Destin’s Harbor Boulevard (a.k.a. US 98, etc.) can be a great place to find a restaurant. In the off-season, traffic is manageable, and in the heart of it you can still see traces of that old “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” charm. Believe it or not, there are still some places with adequate parking, easy access, and a decent view of the harbor.


Burrito del Sol is a member of that charmed circle. My family and I ate there on a recent Saturday (the menu is the same all day). Parking was a snap, in a lot off the main road. The building (recently and extensively renovated from that of the previous establishment) combines Old Florida with a touch of New England.


It’s gleaming white on the outside, with a clean wood and metal interior that is both decorative and utilitarian. There are booths and tables, and shaded outside dining. The walls (including the one in the men’s room) are colorfully decorated with Mexican and aquatic-themed art. Everything looks spotless, meticulously organized and ready to get you well fed.


We were ready, and hungry. My wife and I love Southwestern and Mexican food, and our five-year-old daughter Grace (the Tiny Diner) is slowly expanding her range of tastes from basic beige. We got a booth by a window, where we had a good view of the harbor and plenty of that abundant sunshine we’ve enjoyed lately.


The menu (printed over the order counter, and also in takeout form) offers burritos, tacos, nachos, taco salad and quesadillas. Those are base items. Once you make your choice, you decide on a protein—chicken, steak, tempeh, grilled shrimp or fish of the day (it was flounder).  Also special that day was mojo pork.


The kitchen will prepare your choice in one of four styles—Baja (red cabbage, pineapple salsa, Monterey cheese, creamy and spicy Baja sauce, cilantro and lime), Chipotle (red cabbage, red salsa, Monterey cheese, chipotle sauce and lime), Southwest (romaine, red salsa, cheddar cheese, sour cream and corn), and BBQ (romaine, pineapple salsa, cheddar, sour cream, corn and barbecue sauce).


Modifications can be made for an extra charge—added queso, pressing for burritos, and “making it fat.” The latter entails an additional half-portion of protein. Sides are available of chips with queso, guacamole or fresh salsa, and rice or black beans.


I chose shrimp tacos (soft flour, but corn tacos are also available) Baja style. My wife went for steak nachos Southwest style. TD got a chicken quesadilla, Southwest style. My wife and I got ours “fat,” along with an order of chips and guacamole.


We were the first to get there (we tend to eat lunch early), but shortly after we sat down there began a steady stream of customers both for inside dining and food to go. There appeared to be only two people working—one at the counter, another in the kitchen. Both stayed on top of everything, clearing away and cleaning spills with no waiting. They really seemed interested in making everything just right.


The food arrived. Each order came in its own basket, and all was neat and tidy. It’s not unusual at Southwestern places for plates to be overloaded and messy, which sort of defeats the purpose of foods like tacos, which are intended to be hand-held eats. Not so at Burrito del Sol. My three shrimp tacos were loaded with more shrimp than filling, but I had no trouble picking them up and eating them neatly. They were just spiced enough for flavor and heat. If I’ve eaten a better shrimp taco, I can’t recall it.


My wife’s steak nachos were likewise mostly meat—tender, juicy full flavored beef. A fork worked best, so as not to miss the vegetables.


The TD’s chicken quesadilla was the first I’ve ever had without rubbery cheese. Instead, the cheese was creamy and stayed put in the wrapper. She took much of it home (she has a tiny tummy as well) and we helped her eat it later.


We had plenty to eat without the guac, but we’re glad we got it. It had a good balance of creamy and chunky texture, and there was plenty for impromptu garnishing of our entrees.


I saw no desserts listed, but we were fine. TD had been well behaved, a sign that she had enjoyed herself. I asked her if she liked the restaurant. “Can we go back?” she asked. Yeah, kid, we can go back.


517 Harbor Blvd.
Hours: Open Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Reservations: Not Necessary
Children’s Menu: Yes
Dress: Casual
A clean, airy and tastefully decorated place in the heart of Destin, Burrito del Sol offers burritos, tacos, salad, nachos and quesadillas, with multiple customized options and seasonings. Choose from steak, chicken, shrimp, tempeh and grilled fish, plus daily specials. Lunch and dinner, draft and bottled beer, $3-9.
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