We enjoyed lunch in Bartow recently. I haven’t spent much time in Bartow, but it is the county seat of Polk County and where you’ll likely go if you’re called for jury duty. Bartow has a lovely downtown area with historic architecture, including the old courthouse building (built in 1908-1909) that is now home to the Polk County Historical Museum. It was a rare rainy day for this time of year in Florida, so we put off most of our exploring for another day.
Our mission was to find someplace for a delicious lunch, and we succeeded. We strolled in one of the first open restaurants we came to, Hacienda Mexico Restaurant, on Main Street in the main downtown area. Hacienda is a family-owned restaurant that emphasizes recipes from the Mexican state of Jalisco. They have a full menu including seafood and steak dishes, with lunch specials during the week. I enjoyed tidbits of historic information included on the menu, including some history on the Mexican flag.
The inside was simple and inviting and it was early, so we had our choice of seats. Our server was very friendly and quick to offer us beverages and chips with salsa. My wife ordered Taquitos Dorados, three deep-fried taquitos with shredded beef, served with rice and refried beans. I had Entomatadas, two cheese enchiladas with mild red sauce, normally served with rice and a salad, but they gladly substituted refried beans for the salad at no extra charge. My wife had diet Coke to drink and I had a tamarind-flavored Jarritos (Jarritos is a soft drink owned by a company based in Guadalajara, Mexico).
The food was delicious, just what we wanted on a gloomy day. Everything tasted fresh and homemade, right down to the guacamole on the taquitos. We were a little disappointed with the refried beans, the flavor was good but they were a little too mushy in texture. Everything else was well done and easily worth the price. The portions were generous so we were able to bring home leftovers. With tip our total bill came to almost $30 (they were kind enough not to charge us for the second diet Coke my wife requested to go).
If you’re not already in Bartow, Hacienda is reason enough to make the trip. Friendly service and authentic, locally-made Mexican cuisine at reasonable prices. We’ll be back.
If we’ve inspired you to try Hacienda Mexico Restaurant, or you’ve been there yourself and want to share your experience, please comment below. And if you have Polk County restaurant tips, we’d love to hear them via our Contact Us page. Happy eating!