Brunch at Odessa

I feel like I should subtitle this post: The Never-Ending Quest for Decent Mexican Food in Dublin.

Coming from California, there’s not much I love more than good Mexican food. When I first moved to Dublin in 2007, it was nearly impossible to find. There were two Mexican restaurants (that I knew of) in Dublin then: one, Acapulco, was just down the road from me, and the other, called Mexico to Rome, was a combo Mexican-Italian restaurant in Temple Bar (which really tells you all you need to know about it). I was a student and didn’t have much money, but I remember saving up to go out for my birthday. I knew I wanted Mexican food, and so we ventured to Acapulco to celebrate in style.

It was, unfortunately, a disappointment. I’m sure it tasted great to Irish mouths that were less familiar with the real Mexican food on which I was raised, but it was just not right. We ordered chips and salsa, and were brought a dish of oven-baked spicy Doritos with a ketchup-like sauce. It went downhill from there. To be fair, I haven’t been to Acapulco since, and I’m sure they’ve made improvements over the past nine years (they do have four stars on TripAdvisor!), but I haven’t been up to risking it again.

Anyway, since I left Dublin, Mexican food has become more popular. Everywhere you look, you find burrito bars. It was the new hip food for a few years, which is great news for me as it means the food I love is much more accessible. It’s still not quite the same – nothing will ever hit the spot like $1 chicken tacos from Don Antonio’s – but it certainly makes Dublin feel more like home.

On a recent trip to Dublin, a friend brought me to Odessa for brunch. I wasn’t sure what to expect – I’d never been before, and had only ever heard about the club downstairs. Upon arrival, we walked upstairs to the restaurant and were seated right away. One look at the menu, and I knew what I had to try – huevos rancheros. This amazing breakfast is really more Tex-Mex than true Mex, but it’s one of my favorite ways to start the day. Eggs, cheese, guac, and salsa all piled on top of crispy corn tortillas…perfection. However, I’ve been burned before by inferior huevos rancheros. When they’re bad, they’re bad. I knew I was taking a risk, but I also knew I’d always wonder if I didn’t try.

I’m so, so glad I did! These huevos rancheros were incredible. Fresh ingredients, well-cooked, and oh-so comforting. They came on a bed of breakfast potatoes (because this is Ireland), which is certainly not traditional, but I actually really enjoyed the combination. This was by far the best Mexican breakfast I’ve had outside of the US. Odessa also has some other great brunch options – my friend got the veggie breakfast and it was pretty phenomenal.

If you find yourself in Dublin and are searching for a great brunch option, give Odessa a try!

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