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Breakfast with Botero

You'll want to linger at intimate Macondo Latin Bistro.

The pollo guisado here might come off as too sugary for those not accustomed to the criollo-style sauce, which is listed on the menu as "Yucca creole sauce." That's a bit of a misnomer, as it's just hogao with a piece of yucca simmered in it. The sweetness comes from that hogao and its generous allotment of tomatoes cooked down with onions, cumin and garlic. It's not as sweet when eaten with the dark meat of the chicken drumsticks and instead becomes tangy and playful, a sumptuously light way to enjoy a drumstick or two. And you certainly don't need dessert when there are juicy, caramelized maduros waiting patiently on the side of the plate.

Fish tacos, too, were both refreshing and satisfying: battered tilapia fillets tucked inside broad tortillas with peppery homemade guacamole that viscously overwhelmed the mango salsa. It was so creamy and well made, however, that I didn't mind. I only wished the fish were grilled instead of battered, as it said on the menu; I noticed, however, this was rectified on a return visit.

The Macondo del mar is — according to the menu — the restaurant's signature dish, and the one I easily enjoyed the most, with tender bites of tail-on shrimp and tilapia in rice thickened with coconut milk and bright saffron. But as much as I loved the sweet, vegetal bites of carrot and pea that mingled with the entire affair, almost like a Thai curry, I still wished for more from the seafood in a dish "del mar." Some sweet, soft, tiny bay scallops — easily obtained from the Gulf right this minute — would have taken this dish to the next level.
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The Macondo del mar is the restaurant's signature dish.
Troy Fields
The Macondo del mar is the restaurant's signature dish.

Location Info

Map

Macondo Latin Bistro

208 Travis
Houston, TX 77002

Category: Restaurant > Colombian

Region: Downtown/ Midtown

Details

7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays; 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays.

Colombian breakfast: $8.25

Perico colombiano: $7.95

Morning melt panini: $7.95

Ceviche peruano: $10

Tostones cubanos: $7

Pollo guisado: $8

Macondo del mar: $11

Macondo Latin Bistro

208 Travis, 713-229-8323.

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I was surprised to go to Macondo earlier this week and find it closed for dinner. My friend and I had a bottle of wine and were fully ready to take advantage of its generous BYOB policy, but the hours had changed from closing at 9 p.m. to closing at 4 p.m. without much notice. But a sign explained that Macondo will be closed from March 14 to 16 for remodeling.

While I'm not quite sure what we'll find when Macondo is finished with its quick, three-day remodel, I hope that the things I do love about it remain the same: the cheerfully Caribbean paint colors, the drowsy bar that invites you to linger at lunch, the tall windows that stream light onto every surface and those roly-poly Botero paintings.

One can hope, however, to see larger tables and more patio furniture. It's too nice not to sit outside these days. And the tiny tables have a tough time accommodating two diners and their plates if you're eating inside. But there is still some charm even in that small detail, forcing you closer to your friends as you eat and making even a weekday lunch at Macondo seem like an intimate affair or a vacation in a sunny, tropical land.

katharine.shilcutt@houstonpress.com

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5 comments
Tangerine
Tangerine

It is a nice place, nice decoration and concept, but the food is not as good as I expected . The empanadas we ordered were frozen inside and I'm quiet sure that the beans they serve are canned. In my personal opinion this is the nicest Colombian place in H-Town and it would be great if they improve the quality of food served. And off course, that painter is not Fernando Botero!!

Guest
Guest

Having been made the correction about the painters I have to agree with the mix sentiment in the article. It is a lovely place, the attendants are very nice, the food is ok -not the best Colombian food in town but decent-, yet the serving system needs to improve greatly. Tht was the down note of my experience over a month ago when I visited Macondo for the first time. It was busy but not extremely busy to justify such a serving problems :( I am sad to hear they have not improved. Certainly a reality check is in order.

Riptorn82
Riptorn82

LOL, I'm assuming you had dinner with some guy named Botero, hence the title, cuz as far as I remember the paintings are from this copycat cuban artist botero-wannabe!!!!! please do some research before you publish such nonsense!!!!

AR
AR

I think is a little irresponsible to write an article in such a good media site without even recognizing the painter you are mentioning. The paints hung at Macondos Restaurant are not from Fernando Botero, they are from a Cuban painter that has a similar style, but nothing to do to the famous painter and sculptor. In fact, those paints are for sale....Isn't it kind of awkward to think that Botero is selling his art pieces at a restaurant??? BTW if the author of this article would've checked the paintings closely she/he would've noticed that there is a label under each one of them with the name of the artist and the selling price!

JasonoftheSea
JasonoftheSea

price tags next to paintings in restaurants is tacky.

 
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