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Maria Bonita’s

September 23, 2008

I have already written about a couple different Mexican restaurants, but I had to go to Chinatown to get the best Mexican in Hawaii (that I know of). Go figure.

I suppose this means, logically, that I’ll have to go all the way to Mexicotown to get some decent Chinese.

No, that’s just stupid.

While I’ve grown pretty fond of Wahoo’s Fish Tacos – partly because there is one near my office, allowing me to gorge frequently – but there is still something distinctly fast food about the place, plasticky and prepackaged. Whereas Maria Bonita’s is nothing more than a hole in the wall, a grungy little diner decorated with crepe paper and cheap knick knacks. It is so unassuming a place that when I told my colleague I went there for dinner, he said, “Didn’t that place close?”

I find it hard to believe that anyone who has eaten there would utter those words. While it may look like it is run on a shoestring budget – and probably is – it brings in the business in an area where there is plenty of competition.

The food has a homey taste, as if you were eating in a Texan Mexican grandmother’s kitchen. The thin, soupy salsa that came out with the obligatory chips was surprisingly delish. I was ready to sip from the bowl when the chips ran out. And the burritos were loaded with little anomalies like potatoes and carrots that you don’t usually think of as Mexican but which fit and added extra dimensions of flavor.

The place has no liquor license to speak of, but you are free to take a little adventure down the street to the local liquor store and byoc (bring your own Corona).

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