Santa María Eastside: Organic, Handmade Tortillas and Premium Mezcal Setting a New Standard for Mexican Restaurants in Berlin
By BERLIN LOVES YOU . March 12, 2015
My search for an authentic mexican restaurant in Berlin has been a hard one, so when my flatmate first told me about a new mexican restaurant opening just two blocks away from my place, I couldn’t help but picturing the usual bean/rice burrito joint that dares to call itself authentic.
However, when he told me this new place was part of the Santa María group, and that it was launching a new menu, I had to go check it out immediately.
Raised in Mexico City, I have been a big fan of mexican street food ever since I was a kid. What I love about it is that when it comes to eating in the streets, every stand has its own uniqueness, its own way of preparing the food, and especially its own homemade salsas! Handmade tortillas are a given. Sometimes, particular food stands become so famous that all kinds of people from different backgrounds line up just to have a taste and see what all the fuss is about.
It’s not about the fanciest ingredients, but about the best recipe. Mexican street food is about capturing the essence of Mexico for a cheap price.
So when my flatmate and I decided to go check it out (and even though our expectations were quite high…) we were pleasantly surprised; handmade organic corn tortillas, homemade salsas and even a selection of premium Mezcal!
*Mezcal is a distilled beverage originally from the mexican state of Oaxaca, and it’s often confused with tequila. Even if their distilling processes are somewhat similar (not completely), they are made out of a different cactus (tequila is made strictly with blue agave and in the region of Tequila, Jalisco). Sometimes it is even more erroneously confused with Mescaline (the drug) but their similarities end in their names.
In case a selection of Mezcals and Tequilas, and handmade corn tortillas weren’t enough, I was thrilled in discovering their new menu included Cochinita Pibil (pork tacos with habanero chili, typically from the Yucatan region, arguably the richest of the country in culinary diversity) and Pozole soup. To be honest, it was the Pozole soup that I would’ve never expected to encounter outside of Mexico – it is the kind of food you would have a hard time finding even in traditional mexican restaurants back home; this soup you would only eat at your grandma’s or in the street.
When the food arrived it immediately seemed legit(imate). We ordered some Cochinita Pibil tacos, Barbacoa beef tacos and shrimp quesadillas. All of the three dishes tasted as authentic as they looked, and to top things off, these guys had the three main salsas no mexican can live without: salsa verde, salsa roja and habanero chili salsa. I was a happy Mexican.
A few days later I had to go back with a few German friends that really know their mexican cuisine, this time for breakfast.
We all had Chilaquiles (crispy corn tortillas covered in salsa, cheese and sour cream), they did not disappoint.
Now all I can say is I’m happy to have Santa Maria Eastside so close to my house – authentic mexican food right on my doorstep.
As an authentic mexican looking for authentic mexican food in Berlin, I can confidently recommend this place to anyone that’s in for the real experience, so next time you’re in the area and feel like eating some real tacos, don’t even hesitate to have a taste of Mexico at Santa María Eastside.
Santa Maria Eastside
Krossener Str. 18
Text: Fede Icaza