“Una cerveza, por favor.”

That is the limit of my Spanish speaking ability but not nearly the beginning of my love of Spanish and Mexican food and drink. This review actually started out as a review of Chez Lucien on Murray Street. But at 8:30 on a Thursday night they were so incredibly busy that we waited an hour with no table opening in site. Starving, we moved on up the street to Ahora (307 Dalhousie) an utterly authentic, affordable and fantastic Mexican cafeteria.

Price – You can’t get better than the prices at Ahora. This place is so affordable but they in no way skimp on what you are getting for that price. I had one chicken taco with a side salad for $5.50. A whole plate of food for $5.50! The other menu item are equally well priced. Honestly I was so blown away by the prices here that I lowered my expectations as to how the food would be… but there is no need. The food is as amazing at the price.

Ambiance – You honestly feel like you are in Mexico. Bright colours, a super relaxed atmosphere… this place is perfect for grabbing a late night snack or a meal before heading out to the market for some fun. It’s unlike any other place in Ottawa. While you may get some of the same Mexican decor at a place like Mexicali Rosas or Pancho Villa but not like this. This is in your face colour – it really reminded me of all my trips to Mexico. Love it!

Menu Options – When you walk in the menu is on chalk boards above the cash (or handed to you to look over while you stand there). It’s a great system that allows you to pay and order your food at the same time, take your drinks and grab a table. The food is then dropped off for you so that all you have left to do is enjoy! The menu is full of authentic Mexican food – not just the cheese filled nachos of Canadian Mexican cuisine. So many options – I can’t wait to go back and try something new! And for every dish you can pick the heat level with their Salsa bar.

Food – As I’ve said – awesome… or asombroso. It’s authentic, fresh and flavourful. Best Mexican food in the city. The only thing I would say is that for the items that could be sourced locally I don’t know if they are. They make no mention of it so it leads me to believe that they dont. If they did this would be a solid 5 out of 5. Now I know you can’t get local limes or avocados, but we do have tomatoes, lettuce and onion. It might make the awesome price just a touch higher, but I for one would be alright with that.

Overall – Love love love this place – I can’t wait to take my Dad! 4.5 out of 5 stars.