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On the Road: Riviera Maya Review

December 30, 2013

Typically when my wife and I drive to Iowa to visit her family for Christmas, we’ll stop halfway on the way out to have dinner at a small-town Mexican restaurant and stay the night at a motel before continuing on the following morning.  This year we went to Chicago first (and ate at Girl and the Goat! – http://wp.me/p3jVIR-6D), so we didn’t do our normal practice.  However, on the way home, we stopped by Riviera Maya (http://www.rivieramayabarandgrillindy.com/) in Indianapolis.

When we first walked in, we were kind of blown away by the just complete over-done décor.  From a faux well in the middle of the dining floor (taking away precious seating) to the random hanging wagon wheel and door with a small porch high up on a wall, along with tons of stonework and colorful Mexican art…this place is crazy.  Add in a live one-man band featuring two straight songs by Allison Kraus, along with Of Monsters and Men, Gnarles Barkley (an acoustic rendition of “Crazy”), and what I believe was this guy’s version of Guns ‘N Roses’ “Civil War” and you’ve got yourself a night.  Actually, I kind of loved it.  When do you get this kind of craziness at a Mexican restaurant?

The menu was pretty typical for a Mexican restaurant.  Other than the décor, it could have been any of those small-town Mexican restaurants that I mentioned at the beginning of the review.   We started out with chips, salsa, and queso dip.  The chops were a bit thick and the salsa tasted like it was from a can.  The queso was standard but pretty good…not too thick, not too thin or runny.  Better than the salsa.

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For dinner, my wife ordered the beef tacos (3 hard shell tacos with ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese with a side of Mexican rice and refried beans) and I had the Burrito Gigante (a 10” flour tortilla stuffed with spicy chicken, rice, and beans then covered with cheese sauce; topped with lettuce, sour cream, shredded cheese, tomato, and guacamole).  The tacos were pretty good, but standard.  Nothing to really describe…the most normal taco you can imagine.  My burrito was solid…the chicken was white meat and well shredded.  The rice was well cooked and while the guac was nothing special, it added a nice flavor to the dish.  I’d recommend it as a good choice if you stop here.

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Overall, I’d recommend it.  Fair prices, good service, and a wild atmosphere (I did enjoy the decorations and live music!) made for a good time.  Basically, it’s standard Mexican done with style.

Riviera Maya Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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