If you are a frequent visitor of our little food blog you may remember my “A Tale of Two Restaurants” post from March of last year, where I went over the four different Mexican restaurants I had found around Bangkok with my focus on my two favourites; La Monita and Charlie Browns. My verdict last time was that La Monita was the best Mexican I had found in Bangkok with Charlie Browns in second place, well I have now reversed that ranking and have moved Charlie Browns into first place.
I visited Charlie Browns first on this trip. You may remember that my main complaint with them last time was the level of service, but this time the service (and food) was much better. Once again the meal started out with the complementary chips and salsa with home-made chips and I think the salsa was also home-made this time (last time I think it was from a jar). I decided to go for enchiladas this time and had the Enchiladas de Mariscos with fresh ocean fish and a spicy tomato and chilli sauce. The enchiladas tasted very fresh and the fish was cooked to perfection practically melting in my mouth. There was a nice spice to the dish with the chilli in the sauce but the creamy melted cheese on top helped balance out the heat making this a very enjoyable dish.
Later on the trip after Hang had joined me and we had wrong in the new year we were in the mood for Mexican food so headed over to my old favourite (I had saved this for when she could join me) La Monita, but it was nothing like I remembered and I was rather disappointed. After sitting down and waiting for a while we flagged down a server and decided to start off with chips and guacamole (no free chips and salsa here) but the chips were rather stale and the guacamole tasted like it had not only come out of a jar but had also passed its use by date. In order to have a fair comparison with Charlie Browns I decided to have enchiladas once again, there were no fish enchiladas on the menu so I decided to go for the steak but was told there were no more and a substitution of the steak tacos was recommended which I ordered. I was actually looking forward to my tacos as I remembered they were rather good last time, but alas it was not to be for a few minutes later our server came back to say the steak tacos were also finished. At this point Hang and I decided to just cut our losses, pay for the chips and guacamole, and head over to Charlie Browns (which sadly was closed that day so we ended up in Tapas Cafe).
I noticed that La Monita had installed a salsa bar (I don’t think it was there before). On a close inspection of this new salsa bar I found that most of the salsa dishes were empty and the ones that were not did not look very fresh.
La Monita has expanded and has two new locations (sorry I forget where they are) and I can only hope that their new locations have the quality I remember from my first visit their last year.
In conclusion based on my past experiences with La Monita I am going to assume that we just went on a bad day, it was just after the New Year and rather late for lunch but still early for dinner so we may have just caught them at a bad time. That said you never know when a food blogger (it could be anybody, even me) may be dining in your establishment so you should always strive to do your best.
I also saw an improvement in both the service and the quality of the food at Charlie Browns which tells me that they actually try to look for feed back on their restaurant (who knows maybe they read my post of trip adviser review).
I hope you enjoyed reading about Mexican in Bangkok and hope you can get the chance to travel there and try for yourself.