Bonita's, Southsea | Food review

It’s been three years since Dish Detective had a dose of pink Mexican madness at Bonita’s.

By The Dish Detective
Friday, 25th March 2022, 8:42 am
Updated Sunday, 27th March 2022, 4:23 pm

So it seemed only right to come back and see if the food was as likeable as the flurry of Instagram posts tagged at this social media hotspot.

Both me and my companion are glad we have pre-booked, as the place is packed – a promising start to our Saturday night out.

DD last visited in 2019, three months after its grand opening.

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Nachos at Bonita's, Southsea.

Since then it seems there has been a revamp of the menu – with a refined selection of dishes.

I’m glad – as I’m not a fan of there being so many that you end up weighing up about five different options. Simplicity over reams of offerings is a big tick.

Usually, this too gives me an idea that the food must be cooked from fresh.

Within seconds of walking it to the place I am dazzled by the number of neon signs, futuristic set up and there is so much trendy décor to look at to keep you occupied while eating.

Food at Bonitas in Southsea.

We are guided to our table and swiftly informed that to access the menu we must use our phone camera to scan the code. Neither of us is fazed because it’s a common theme after the trying times of Covid.

In just a few minutes of scanning the options, tostadas, nachos, tacos, a selection of Mexican-inspired sides, our server asks if we would like to order.

We go ahead and order a Fancy Frida (£12) and a can of Corona (£4.50) as we are not ready to order any of the Mexican goodness on offer just yet.

Bonita's.

I am pleasantly surprised to see my Mai Tai inspired cocktail – with house tropical pineapple Mai Tai – is served in a bright pink inflatable flamingo with the cup placed inside and topped with a fizzy rainbow belt.

What’s more, the flamingo is complimentary so I can wow – or alarm – a future dinner guest at home!

The cocktail is sweet with a pineapple punch that’s strong enough to remind me this is certainly alcoholic.

DD and companion are seated at the front of the restaurant, immersed in the hubbub of noise, 80s dance music and chatter of young groups – perhaps after a quick meal before venturing to the pubs along Palmerston Road. One can only assume…

Fancy Frida cocktail at Bonita's.

Nachos take our fancy to start.

It comes with cheese, salsa, sour cream, guacamole and chillies and the sauce to crisp ratio is perfect. The portion size was very welcome after going hungry most of the day in preparation for tonight. We also go for two portions of curly fries – both generous portion sizes and delicious.

The food arrives promptly which is what I expected from a tapas themed place, with dishes coming out at different times.

I was anticipating the arrival of a juicy, tender philly steak taco dripping with creamy cheese and a good balance of spice (£9) when we ordered our mains. It is a ‘Mexican Shop’ after all. However I was very disappointed.

The steak is bland, lacking any real flavour and was bordering cold on taking the first bite.

For the price we are paying, it was unfortunate and I even considered I could have done a better job preparing it at home.

My companion on the other hand was very satisfied. Opting for the maple pork belly tacos (£7) his verdict was: ‘Very good. The pork is cooked to perfection and there are enough chillies to give it a kick.’

It’s a shame I couldn’t report the same for mine. Had we not gone overboard with the carb heavy dishes, perhaps this would have been an all together better experience. I regret to say, the steak needs a major refresh if Bonita’s is to get my custom again.

RATINGS (out of five)

Food: 3

Value: 3

Ambience 5

Child-friendly: N/A

Tel: Book online

A message from the editor, Mark Waldron.

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