Garibaldi Mexican Restaurant moved at the end of April, but it didn’t go far. It moved from the spot it occupied on North Semoran Boulevard since the late 1990s to the restaurant space next door. You might know it as the original home of High Tide Harry’s, just north of Colonial Drive. High Tide Harry’s moved to 4645 S. Semoran Blvd. a few years ago. (Some restaurants move around so much they really should be food trucks.)
Garibaldi Mexican Restaurant should not be confused with Garibaldi Mexican Cuisine, but of course it is. GMR has only this one location; GMC has three. When I first wrote about GMC’s first location in Apopka, in 2001, it was called Garibaldi of Apopka and I was told that the restaurants used to be owned by the same person. The new owners of the Apopka restaurant said they were considering changing the name. I guess they decided not to.
Anyway, the Garibaldi in question, the restaurant on North Semoran in Orlando, upgraded from the smaller digs to a bigger, more expansive space that looks as though it could handle a large fiesta -- and as if one might break out at any minute.
I ordered a Dos Equis draft and nibbled on the rather mundane chips and the extraordinary salsa that accompanied. Back in 1998 I was impressed at the tomatoey pulpiness of the salsa. I still am. I’m glad they kept the same recipe (and perhaps the same salsa maker -- a salsier?)
For my main course, I chose the mixed chilaquiles Mexicanos, a delightfully gloppy mix of strips of corn tortillas with loads of shredded chicken and cheese and two perfectly fried eggs on top. It was accompanied by sour cream and guacamole, plus a little pico de gallo. There was also some rice, but really that was the least appealing thing on the plate (and I am a certified rice lover).
It was a tremendous amount of food, more than any one person should eat in one sitting. As I was enjoying it, I thought it would make a good breakfast. And it did -- I took half home and had it the next morning.
My server was cheerful and attentive. He seemed as though he really enjoyed his job, and his smile made me feel welcomed. Perhaps he could give some pointers the the rather dour young woman at the hostess stand.
The decor is bright and tasteful -- none of the decayed and falling plaster that some Mexican restaurants feel they have to create. The atmosphere has a festive air with appropriate music playing throughout the room (which is where it belongs and not on the website -- consider yourself warned).
This was a decidedly good move for this longtime Mexican eatery.
Garibaldi Mexican Restaurant is at 925 N. Semoran Blvd., Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. You’ll find prices on the online menu -- my chilaquiles was $10.99, a bargain considering a got two meals out of it. The phone number is 407-275-5035.