Tarahumara restaurant review

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A couple of years ago my friend Roger moved to Heber City. There were a lot of good reasons for the move, but I admit I didn’t love the idea. I complained that Jason and I would never see him, and he very nicely reminded me that it really wasn’t that far away – shorter than a lot of other people’s commutes we knew. I grumbled, but we did drive up, and as a nice surprise Roger took us to a Mexican restaurant in Midway called Tarahumara. Roger has since moved back to Salt Lake, but we’re all still driving up to eat at Tarahumara and a couple of weekends ago the three of us decided to made a quick trip up (about 40 minutes from my house in Holladay).

The restaurant can be a little deceiving from the front. When you walk in, there’s a big chalk board with their menu listed, and a counter where you order your food. Each person’s order comes with tortilla chips, and you’ll want to eat every single one when you see the amazing salsa bar in the back. After you order, you’ll be handed a little electronic device that will buzz you when you’re order is ready. Through a little hallway is the large seating section of the restaurant, and this is where you’ll also pick up your food. Speaking of the salsa bar, I can’t say enough about how good it is. When my dad lived in El Paso, Texas I got used to having a wide selection of salsas everywhere I went, so it’s a real pleasure now to get to visit Tarahumara’s salsa wonderland.

tarahumara salsa bar 1

tarahumara salsa bar 2

On this particular day I ordered a couple of things to eat and share. The first was the Ceviche. This lime marinated Mahi Mahi comes in a tostada cup and is topped with guacamole and pico de gallo ($8.95). As usual, it was deliciously cold with just the right balance between fish flavors and tartness.

tarahumara ceviche

Gateway entertainment destination

And because I was feeling in the mood for some comfort food I ordered the Carnitas Quesadilla ($6.95). I know from the picture it looks very basic, but I’m sort of addicted to this thing. The pork is perfectly cooked and full of flavor, and there’s a lot more meat here than cheese. It also goes really well with my favorite honey chipotle salsa. Jason tried something new this time, the Chicken Enchiladas ($9.95). Full of succulent shredded chicken and topped with an enchilada sauce that rivals the complexity of a mole, these are much more than your average enchiladas.

tarahumara quesadilla

tarahumara enchilada

Roger ordered the Carne Asada Burritos, and because they’re smaller than your average Utah burrito you get to have two – each with its own smothering sauce ($11.95). My bite of the red burrito was rich and wonderful with the grilled beef cooked perfectly inside. Roger also opted for the veggies as a side dish (versus the regular rice), and the pan-fried green and yellow beans were dressed with a tangy vinaigrette. Roger and Jason ordered yummy Mexican Mojitos ($7.00). I can attest to their refreshing minty deliciousness, but on this day I was out of luck as it was my turn to drive home.

tarahumara burrito

tarahumara mojito

We were completely stuffed by the time we left, but I should mention their wonderful Mexican pastries, which are on display when you first walk into the restaurant. Be smarter than me and save room for one.

One of the other things I really love about Tarahumara is the service and I know that may sound strange at a “self-serve” place. However, this restaurant is family run and you can tell they take great pride in the food they serve and in the space they’ve created. It is a wonderfully comfortable place, and in the summer the patio is one of the best places to eat in Utah.
You can probably tell, and I’ll readily admit, that I’m smitten with Tarahumara. My advice is to try it and you’ll soon see why it’s easy to fall for this place…even if you have to drive to Midway to eat there.

Tarahumara
380 East Main Street, Midway, Utah 84032
(435) 654-3465

Hours: Monday thru Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m
Website: www.tarahumara.biz

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18 COMMENTS

  1. Looks good, Midway needed a new restaurant.

    By the looks of it they should muddle the mint with a little ice in the glass to impart more flavor rather than just throwing mint leaves in the margarita mix for a Mexican Mojito. To spice up my Mojitos I often muddle a jalapeno with the mint to give it some kick for a ‘Mojito Fuego’.

  2. I think maybe my picture just doesn’t do the mojito justice. The mint is very pronounced in the drink, and so I’m pretty sure they do muddle. It tastes very fresh and really nothing like a margarita either. I will have to try to make a Mojito Fuego though! Sounds like my kind of drink.

  3. I have had a place in Midway for over 20 years. For about 15 of those years, there was only one or two viable options for dining out. With the arrival of Snake Creek Grill, Tarahumara, and a few others we generally don’t get to go to all our favorite places in one trip up there. Tarahumara is really a special place. There seafood is always surpringly great. They generally have a scallops dish that is really good, and as you mentioned their carnitas is as good as I have had anywhere.

  4. Finally had the opportunity to try Tarahumara over the weekend. Wow. If this was on the other side of the Wasatch Front I could easily see myself eating here at least once a week. Had the barbacoa (lamb) tacos. The lamb was prepared very simillarily to how pork carnitas are served. Slow roasted and very tender. Served very simply in three corn tortillas and complimented perfectly by the cilantro jalepeno salsa (almost like a pesto?) from the amazing salsa bar.

    My wife and I shared the tres leches cake for desert. Didn’t look like much when pulled out of the lobby fridge, but it was quickly passed off to the expert kitchen staff who topped it with fresh barries and plated in a shallow pool of the sweet cream mixture.

    On special the day we went were shark tacos that I wish I had tried. Looking forward to many more trips up Parley’s to work my way through the rest of the menu.

  5. We had a great trip to Tarahumara! We had the carne asada burritos and chicken and beef and cheese enchiladas. The burritos were hands down much better than the enchiladas but the salsa stand was incredible. We had so much fun sampling all the salsas and picking out our favorites. I love that they had limes, pickled onions, pickled jalapenos, and pickled chiles with carrots and onions, and fresh radishes to boot. With a little pico de gallo, any dish can be dressed to ordered. This takes mucho, mucho effort to prepare all these dressings and I can only say Thank You, Muchas Gracias! Lovely recommendation, thanks for including it!

  6. I’m surprised that Tarahumara hasn’t been discovered by the weekend motorcycle crowd yet, but it should definitely be on the list of favorite lunch stops. Food is excellent and reasonably priced, and the porch is a great place to sit back and relax before the afternoon ride home.

  7. I am in Salt Lake City for training. This restaurant was highly suggested as a place to eat. Unfortunately, one taste and I gave the food back. I spent $15 for lunch and the food was aweful. The service was actually bad as well. The poor guy serving the food kept bringing out the wrong entrees for my fellow workers.

    I am not sure if the gentleman who picked up my plate was the owner or manager, but he asked if I wanted a box to take my food. I would think that looking at a plate that only a small portion of one out of three enchiladas was missing and the rest of the food not touched should indicate something. I expressed my opinion politely that the food tasted terrible. There was actually no flavor to it.

    I’m sorry, but who puts parmesean cheese on Mexican food. I grew up learning to cook authentic Mexican food. My Grandmother and mother taught me how to cook. I would not go there ever again nor would I suggest it to anyone. Especially for the price. That was ridiculous.

  8. What did you eat Steve? I’ve had nothing less than stellar experiences there.

    While it may not be authentic Mexican (and really, there aren’t that many places that are) cuisine – everything I have tried from Carnita’s to Barbacoa taco’s have been first rate.

  9. Food at Tahamara is pretty good, but unfortunately the service is bad, the attitude is bad, and the wait for drinks too long, as well as the food wait. I think they are overwelmed and think that as long as they are busy who cares. My second bad experience and I wil never be going back!!!

  10. In a nut shell? Don’t bother! We waited over an hour and a half for overpriced “so, so” mexican food…..They need to have a better seating system, pay first and wait for a table to open up? Poor, poor business! After waiting in line for 45 minutes, we arrived at the counter to order and we were asked if we had table reservations. It was not posted on their website or anyplace else for that matter, that reservations are needed. Many people who had ordered were standing around with their drinks and chips waiting for a table to open up. I can’t believe that this place stays in business…I’ll never go back!

  11. I am shocked at some of the negative reviews. We ate here recently and were blown away. The tortilla soup is complex and rich and is one of the top 3 I have ever had. Their chips and salsas were incomparable. We had the lamb chops were were divine, and hard to believe it was only $17! This place was a fabulous find and we just regret we are only finding out about this now. The guys next to us at the bar were having an early meal and I overheard them saying they would be back later tonight. I am going back already and it has only been 4 days.

  12. Very bad experience Sunday evening – not like other times. Microwaved fajitas dry and WAY overcooked, forced to listen to loud football broadcast and ads on the speakers inside and on the patio. We even asked for the football/ads to be changed to music, but the server said “It’s on the TV” so there was nothing he could do. Is your restaurant now a sports bar? We expected fresh cooked food and a delightful Tarahumara ambiance – so disappointing. The salsa bar was also in disarray with none of the labels matching the tubs of salsa.

  13. Something bad has happened to this place. Service and food quality has hit rock bottom. This last visit was the last. Empty salsa bar, really really bad service and just average food and the bathroom was extremely discusting. We saw 3 tables leave while we were there because they never sent a server over. This is sad, as I used to be a frequent customer and big fan.

  14. Was in the area visiting family. Daughter said to try it, she’d been here a few years ago. Wife and I went for lunch early.
    Wasn’t particularly hungry going in, but got waited on promptly. Surprised by no ground beef dishes on the menu, but not disappointed. Wife had burritos I had beef torta.
    Got to say both were excellent, as good as I’ve had. Salsa bar was good, chips fresh, French fries and salad very, very good.
    Never wrote a review before. Made an exception. Great chow, great service.

  15. One of the biggest let downs in dining out that I’ve ever experienced. We were one of two parties when we were FINALLY welcomed and seated. At the worst table in the place, with a very clear view of their filthy bussing station. Food spilled all over the walls, dirty dishes piled up just inches from our table. Ick. They brought the chips right away, and we took advantage of the much anticipated salsa bar. A disappointment. Most lacked flavor, and the rest tasted mostly of vinegar. Settled on the mango. Waited and waited for him to take our orders, then waited and waited some more for our food. The food finally came, but we couldn’t eat because we still hadn’t received any napkins or utensils, and 2 parts of our order were missing. The food itself was just—meh. Nothing special or great. Just meh. We asked for missing items, and he brought them, when we were all done with everything else. Then we waited 20 minutes for our check, which came as a crumpled up Receipt. Will not go back. Ever. Better off at the dairy keen.

  16. This Must be under new management or owners: I was so disappointed in the service and food. I use to love to eat at this restaurant in years past.our family went this weekend after swimming in the crater. The restaurant was not busy at all. The kids were starving, it took one hour and 15 mins to get our food, when the food came out they Served 4 Adult meals each plate had all the wrong items. They did not bring out any of the kids meals. The food we did get was cold and horrible. We paid for the food we received and had to drive to Heber to feed the kids a Carl’s JR. Don’t waste your time or money! worst dining experience ever.

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