Located in Boston’s up and coming Fort Point area, Papagayo, a new Mexican restaurant and tequila bar, uniquely combines elements of classic Mexican fare and vibrant spirit, while still fitting seamlessly into the exciting and trendy area of the city that it occupies.
Papagayo, offers a myriad of food and drink selections that vary from traditional to innovative. While the scene at the bar is always as lively and vibrant as the eclectic Mexican decor, the food is definitely worth checking out, although not entirely without flaws.
On any given week night, you can find the bar at Papagayo sufficiently crowded with many folks sampling their signature drink, the ‘RonaRita, a frozen margarita with an mini bottle of Corona turned upside down in the glass. While the Margaritas are solid and refreshing on their own, the ‘RonaRita offers a unique, if not subtle, way to up the ante on your Mexican cocktail. A very fun way to get things heading in the right direction.
In addition to the vast selection of tequilas (and a wait staff more than helpful enough to make recommendations), the food offers some very refreshing, modern takes on Mexican standards. The starters are always a highlight, beginning with a fantastic Guacamole made to order tableside. The server will customize your’s depending on your taste and preference; be it spicy, creamy, citrusy or anything in between. Obviously freshly fried tortilla chips and a wonderfully deep and flavorful house salsa accompany all orders.
Other first course highlights include the Empanadas of the day, whether chicken, pork or beef, will invariable pack a great punch. Packed with robust meat and creamy cheese flavor, and packed into a flake and chewy shell, these are a classic done right. Another high note comes from the Grilled Corn with lime aioli, chili powder and Cotija cheese. The perfectly charred corn offers a wonderful canvas for a multitude of flavors ranging from salty and spicy to pungent and sweet.
The entrees are solid, but in some cases suffer from lack of execution in a few areas. Mexican standards such as the Enchiladas and Fajitas (available with any type of meat, with Chicken Tinga being the highlight) clearly set Papagayo apart from most neighborhood Mexican joints. But the slightly more complex dishes such as the Braised Short Rib Tacos, Tacos al Pastor (chili rubbed pork tenderloin) and even the Tilapia Fish Tacos all suffered from the same fault–slightly overcooked, dry and poorly textured proteins. In most cases the supporting elements of spices, sauces and sides are good enough to make the dishes enjoyable nonetheless, but the meats would benefit from some more love along the way.
All in all, Papagayo offers an ideal setting for a fun and exciting group dinner out in the city. The cocktails are original and festive, and for the most part the food is on point. But by the time you’ve had a couple ‘RonaRitas and polished off a molcajete full of guacamole, you’ll be well on your way to a great night.
283 Summer Street Boston, MA 02210, (617) 423-1000