Harden's survey result
“An ever-evolving, fun take on Mexican street food offering zingy flavours (plus a damn fine margarita)” all “efficiently served” in a “bright and buzzy” environment seems to have protected Thomasina Miers’s popular chain from much of the casual dining fall-out of recent times; and it remains “the most dependable of fast(ish) food chains” for many reporters. In particular, it’s “perfect for kids”, and families appreciate that “you fill up well for the price”. At the end of 2020, as a result of the Pandemic, the chain was rescued by Dick Enthoven, the billionaire owner of Nando's who put in £4m in exchange for a majority stake.
“An ever-evolving, fun take on Mexican street food offering zingy flavours (plus a damn fine margarita)” all “efficiently served” in a “bright and buzzy” environment seems to have protected Thomasina Miers’s popular chain from much of the casual dining fall-out of recent times; and it remains “the most dependable of fast(ish) food chains” for many reporters. In particular, it’s “perfect for kids”, and families appreciate that “you fill up well for the price”.
For a “flavourful and fun”, “dependable and quick” meal, fans of Thomasina Miers’ group of street food cantinas still feel it’s “one of the best chains around”, citing its “decent Mexican eats” and “fab cocktails” (and that it’s “great with kids”, if “a bit yummy mummy at the weekends”). But while ratings for its “friendly and prompt” service and energetic vibe have proved surprisingly enduring over the years, its food score dipped this year, with some regulars noting it has felt “a tad off-the-boil” of late.
“Fun and lighthearted” style – and providing “zingy” dishes at “great-value” prices, “fab cocktails” and “friendly service” – Thomasina Miers’ feisty street-food chain “shows no sign of decline, despite its expansion”. It’s “streets ahead of other Mexican groups” and “always a solid standby when you want a quick meal”.
For 30 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. In a typical year, diners submit over 50,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK. Each year, the guide is re-written from scratch based on this survey (although for the 2021 edition, reviews are little changed from 2020 as no survey could run for that year).
Have you eaten at Wahaca?
Wahaca Restaurant Diner Reviews
"A family favourite"
Without much in the way of publicity, this new Mexican venture was already doing good business on the couple of weekday lunchtimes when we visited, soon after opening. Perhaps it had something to do with the handy West End location. Just one minute from the Strand, it's only just far enough from Covent Garden Market that it doesn't come with a 'tourists only' sign above the door.
Or maybe its busy-ness had something to do with a light and elegant contemporary design that somehow allows the words 'bright', 'inviting' and 'basement' to occupy the same sentence. It also manages to be cool and airy, without being too hard-edged. Service was impressive too. Drawn from a rainbow of nations - though not, it would seem, Mexico - the staff were all both well drilled and engagingly enthusiastic. 'Make sure you come back, heh', said a waiter as we went out - to do that without sounding trite is quite an achievement.
The menu here is based around Mexican 'street food', which means a lot of familiar dishes of the tacos and quesadillas variety, plus some more substantial fare. Some of the cooking was perhaps a touch bland, but others - a crisp-tasting and very elegantly presented tostada for example - were really very good. And, for the heart of the West End, prices are low enough for any shortcomings swiftly to be forgiven.
So a great culinary experience to satisfy the hardest-core Mexicophile? Possibly not. But a really handy West End venue that might be pressed into service for a whole variety of occasions? You could do much worse.
all day noon - 11 pm
Last orders: 11 pm, Sun 10.30 pm