Where can you get a great tasting lunch, leave so full you can hardly walk out the door and not spend a fortune? La Bamba II Mexican & Spanish Restaurant in Margate…that’s where. It’s not like eating in Mexico, but the overall value has us going back. Located in the Peppertree Plaza at Sample Rd and State Rd 7, it’s hard to find if you are just driving by. We stopped in when my parents visited for lunch on a Sunday. We got there around noon, so the place was just starting to fill up. We got sat right away, drink order were taken and a basket of warm, fresh tortilla chips with salsa was dropped off (both hot and mild).
The menu is quite large with favorites from Mexico, Cuba and other Latin regions. They offer the full menu at lunch, but the real star is the Lunch Special menu. All lunch specials are served with a cup of coup (usually chicken noodle) or a soft drink…and all the chips and salsa you can eat. The salsa is so good here. They blend it fairly well so the flavors meld together creating a fresh, cilantro infused salsa. We love this stuff and find it so addicting. The hot version does turn the heat up so be warned and the chips are always freshly made making them better than most places.
The prices of the lunch specials range from $6.50 (the Quesadilla) to $9.50 (the Pollo a la Plancha) with most falling in the $7.50 range. They even have a hamburger and chicken sandwich on the lunch special menu for those that lean to the American taste.
We all chose the soup with our lunch special which comes out quickly. This is really good soup loaded with veggies and pieces of chicken. They also give a few sprigs of cilantro…so if you are not a fan, you might want to tell them to hold it as they appear to put it in at the end. Usually when you get the ‘free’ soup somewhere it’s just instant soup…here they treat it a little better to make it worth the extra bonus of getting it for ‘free’.
The main dishes came out shortly after. Depending on what you order…your wait time can be really short or just short. Most of the meats are thin so they cook quick or are like a stew so they make it ahead to get it full of flavor (like picadillo). I ordered the masa de puerco – Chunks of pork marinated with garlic sauce, deep fried and served with white rice, black beans and plantains. The chunks are fairly large and very tender. They do have a lot of flavor and a solid choice if you are pork fan. Sure it’s deep fried, but hey…why not. The rice is always so good here. They must put butter in it as I can never seem to make it this good. It’s almost good enough to eat by itself. The Black Beans are also done well here and go great with the tortilla chips or over rice. And of course the plantains were sweet and delicious…but I always try to keep them on the side until the end of the meal as my dessert…but it never works out that way.
Jeff ordered the ropa vieja – Shredded Beef cooked with peppers, onions, tomatoes and spices. This is also served with white rice, black beans and plantains. The meat was tender and spiced very well. It’s a cousin to the Pot Roast in my opinion but more ‘distant’ with the Latin spices and tomato. Here is a hint…if you order this dish and take ½ home, you can make your own taco the next day and get two meals out of it!
My Mom ordered the Quesadilla, filled with cheese and served with refried beans and taco sauce. Who doesn’t like melted cheese between a grilled flour tortilla? This was quite the large quesadilla too. We all liked the refried beans and I was partial to using the chips to scoop up a few servings.
Dad ordered the Burro Combo with beef. It’s served with yellow rice and refried beans. When the server put down the plate in front of him…all of our mouths dropped open. This plate was FULL and this was some lunch portion! The meat inside was beef and more like shredded and not ground making this much better in our opinion. The rice was nicely seasoned and not dry and went nicely with the huge meat Burro.
After all of this food (and 2 refills of chips and salsa) we were done. Our plan to not have that large of a lunch backfired as we didn’t take anything home for leftovers. The service was spot on and our drinks were constantly refilled. Friendly and quick this is a great choice for weekday lunch breaks from work. This place gets packed for dinner so be prepared to wait if you go during peak times, but we find it is well worth the wait. They also have an ‘Early Dinner’ menu with specials from 4 – 6 PM.
La Bamba II – Mexican & Spanish Restaurant is located at 5452 W Sample Rd, Margate, FL