Food review: Tortilla, Gunwharf Quays

In this review the Dish Detective ventured into familiar territory for a CaliMex delight. It was a summery evening when DD and his not-so-trusty companion arrived in Gunwharf Quays, heading for The Spinnaker Tower.

By Dish Detective
Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 5:22 pm

Nestled beneath it you’ll find Tortilla – a Californian and Mexican-inspired fast-casual chain. Founded by a former Silicon Valley executive, the takeaway promises fast, filling and fresh food that ‘doesn’t cost a bomb’.

The new addition to the Gunwharf family opened on June 17, the 50th store to open in the UK.

Upon entering, without a booking or doing any research, we were shocked to find there was no table service. Instead, we found a set-up similar to those New York transportation network-inspired sandwich shops.

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Tortilla, Gunwharf Quays.

With our shoulders shrugged, and our expectations lowered, we approached the till and the young, smiley team.

The interior was intimate with little seating but boasted trendy red-glazed tiles, hanging lamps and foliage.

Choosing was difficult, but the staff were helpful and happy to give recommendations to the confused and uninitiated. After paying we found colourful chairs and benches outside, perfect for the weather.

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Tortilla, Gunwharf Quays.

DD ordered a personal favourite, a chicken quesadilla filled with cheese and salsa. My assistant took advantage of the 2-4-1 burrito deal. To go with our wise choices we caved into sharing a plate of nacho queso with two margaritas. Other options include tacos, salads, churros and burritos of the naked variety.

The quesadilla was one thing, moreish, the lightly spiced chicken complemented the vibrant salsa all oozing cheesy satisfaction. It was served with chips and dips, I went with sour cream and the second spiciest salsa they had - I wasn’t feeling brave.

For £6.40 I was impressed. Compared to other fast food options nearby you’ll definitely get more bang for your peso. My subordinate tucked into his large house burrito, crammed with tomato rice, chicken, black beans, cheese and guacamole.

My chum said ‘this is great’ and ‘tasty’ - a good sign for the more expensive option priced around the £8.50 mark. The extra ‘barbacoa burrito’ was packed with beef, coriander rice, pinto beans and salsa.

Tortilla, Gunwharf Quays.

All main menu options allow a choice between chicken, pork, beef, veggies or vegan chilli as their filling with a selection of toppings. Our side plate of nachos (£6.40) was what you’d expect, generous amounts of chips covered in cheese, salsa and guac.

The margaritas (£4.75) were reminiscent of the icy beverages you might find in cinemas. Coming from a bartending background, the flavour of concentrated lime juice was unmistakable - unfortunately, the taste of tequila wasn’t.

The variety and prices at Tortilla set it apart from its harbourside competitors. It’s for those who want a quick, cheap bite without compromising flavour or quality. A second visit is compulsory. Bienvenido a Portsmouth, Tortilla!