With its bright colors, décor and Mexican music, Plaza Garibaldi (located at 7917 Ritchie Highway across from Marley Station Mall) has established itself as a local favorite.
My dining companion and I visited just as the lunch crowd was heading out. We were seated promptly, and our waiter arrived quickly to take our drink orders. Throughout our visit, the service was efficient and friendly.
I’ve been to Plaza Garibaldi a few times and I especially like the tortillas and salsa. In fact, I’ve stopped several times on Friday evenings to buy some to take home for TV-watching nights. The tortillas are right out of the oven, crisp and warm. The salsa is smooth and exceptionally fresh and flavorful, with the taste of ripe tomatoes, cilantro, onions and hot peppers blended at the perfect heat.
We chose the Garibaldi sampler platter as our appetizer to give us an overall variety of tastes. The sampler included a quesadilla, four small taquitos, two chicken fingers and two stuffed jalapeno peppers with guacamole and sour cream. The stuffed jalapenos with cream cheese were my top pick. Supremely spicy, they offered a nice bite. The guacamole was homemade, fresh and seasoned well. Unfortunately, the rest of the appetizer was disappointing. Both the taquitos and chicken fingers were dry and lacked flavor, and the quesadilla was bland.
The flavor that the appetizer lacked, however, was more than compensated by the entrées.
I had the arroz con mariscos — grilled shrimp and scallops, served over rice and covered with a rich, savory, cream-based sauce. The dish was served with chopped lettuce and diced jalapeno peppers, and topped with guacamole and sour cream. The scallops were plentiful, pleasing, plump and grilled to perfection.
My dining companion’s pollo ranchero was also delicious. Grilled chicken was prepared with mushrooms and onions, topped with melted white and yellow cheese, and served with rice and refried beans. The combination was savory. The melted cheese was rich and warm, and the mushrooms and onions were grilled to a soft, caramelized state.
I had my heart set on tres leches for dessert, but we’d read a lot of good reviews on the fried ice cream, so we decided to go for both of them.
The tres leches — white cake topped with a nice layer of icing — was soft and sweet, with a pleasing aftertaste of vanilla, but it also had a bought cake taste, and it was slightly stale. I also prefer my tres leches more saturated in cream.
The fried ice cream definitely lived up to its reputation. A large scoop of vanilla ice cream in a fluted baked shell was topped with honey (our choice), and sprinkled with cinnamon. The combination was a delightful mix of soft, a little crunchy, hot and cold.
The total bill came to about $60, which included two drinks. That’s a reasonable price for all that we had, with plenty to take home.
Stop by when you want a taste of Mexican cuisine. Enjoy the atmosphere, and finish your meal with that sweet, fried ice cream.