Reyna Foods in the Strip District has long been our favorite place in the city to stock up on Mexican groceries and amazing house made tortillas. Naturally, we were ecstatic when they opened a restaurant in the basement below their grocery store (aptly named Casa Reyna). The menu goes far beyond the standard Tex-Mex fare and includes some great traditional foods that we enjoyed while traveling through Mexico, so we were eager to give it a try.
Unfortunately, at least on our first visit, it didn't quite meet our expectations.
Authentic, But Needs Improvement
We started off with two salsas and house made corn tortilla chips. The salsa menu is extensive and includes everything from peanut salsa to spicy green jalapeno salsa.
We chose the casera salsa which was a typical tomato-based salsa you find at most Mexican restaurants, and the spicy mango salsa. The casera salsa was unfortunately quite bland and we had to throw a bunch of salt in it to bring out the flavors that were waiting to come out. The spicy mango salsa was a smooth, pureed salsa that was rather sweet and not as spicy as you would expect.
During our time in Mexico, tacos al pastor were one of our favorite things to eat, so were happy to see them on the menu here and ordered them instinctively. We ordered them “Mexican style” which means topped with just cilantro and onion – we're glad that these are the default toppings as they are definitely the most traditional.
Our tacos al pastor came with lots of delicious roasted pineapple and their homemade corn tortillas that we've come to know and love. The seasoning on the meat wasn't like the traditional achiote that we had in Mexico, but it was nevertheless good even if the portions were a bit small for the price.
The tacos came with a side and we chose the rajas, a dish we fell in love with in Mexico that consists of roasted poblano strips in a creamy sauce. I was a bit confused when the rajas were served to me as the dish was basically just roasted corn with a few tiny specks of poblanos and no crema or cheese to be found- a huge letdown.
Looking to Try More Mexican Items
There are many other traditional dishes on the menu that we'd love to try: gorditas, tortilla soup, tamales, barbacoa, chiles rellenos, chilaquiles, huaraches, and tortas, just to name a few. We really hope that these dishes will taste more like what we remember from Mexico, as Casa Reyna is one of the only restaurants in the area that serves most of these traditional foods that we came to love in our travels.
We'll just have to return to find out!
Casa Reyna is located at 2031 Penn Avenue in the Strip District.
For more Mexican food in Pittsburgh, check out La Palapa, El Burro, Las Palmas, and Pittsburgh Taco Truck! Or, for more reviews of Pittsburgh restaurants, click the previous link to be taken to our directory of every review on Discover the Burgh!
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