You only have to look at the lineup out the door to know that Sal y Limon has quite the dedicated following. Luckily, the casual Mexican restaurant has already expanded and renovated its original space to accommodate the popularity. And they run a very tight ship.
The line moves quickly (as long as you’re not standing behind a woman who was asking about everything on the menu and what she could substitute in each item. I’m not making fun of someone with allergies because this lady was saying stuff like, “Oh, I don’t like cheese.” This is why I hate people).
You order at the till and receive a big number on a stand to put on your table. Food is brought to your table when it’s ready.
I appreciated small touches like a station with cups where you can get your own chilled water, instead of having to flag down a server. In a busy place like this, things like that save everyone time and turn tables over quicker.
Even though Sal Y Limon has an extensive menu with tantalizing burritos, tortas (Mexican sandwiches), and sopes (kind of like a Mexican corn pizza?), I went with old-school tacos ($2.25 each/$2.75 with cheese). It’s sort of my benchmark when trying new Mexican places.
Big points from me for using corn tortillas (and not flour ones). The al pastor (marinated pork with pineapple) taco was very good with a delicious balance of the savoury pork, sweet pineapple and fresh cilantro and onions. I found the lamb marinated in cilantro a tad dry but the flavour was nice.
Jason opted for the chorizo con queso torta ($8.75). He won. He always wins. It’s pretty genius to put Mexican sausage (not too spicy here) and melted Mexican cheese into a soft bun.
H was sleeping over at my parents’ place, so we only had T with us. Yet we still had our hands full (hence the terrible torta photo because I was trying to keep him from knocking over a bag of tortilla chips).
T had a simple cheese and beans quesadilla ($4.75), which he devoured in record time. Note: ask for it without the squirts of creama on top if you have one of those toddlers that loses it if their food is touching something else on the plate. (Luckily, we spotted the cream before he did and mopped it off. Because we are PRO parents.)
Art from Mexican artists is displayed on the walls and changed regularly like a gallery. The atmosphere is busy but welcoming: lots of families, couples, and groups of friends.
The parking lot is tiny so I suspect that many people walked from their homes in the neighbourhood, though it is a very central spot for public transit too.
Sal Y Limon has zoomed up my list of kid-friendly spots, because it thoughtfully provides a play area for kids in the middle of the action. And I don’t mean a sticky corner of used colouring books and crayons either. It’s an ample space with a play kitchen, play workshop, and lots of toys.
Risk of long lineup so plan accordingly (arrive before peak hours, or bring snacks for the wait). High chairs available.
Sal y Limon, 701 Kingsway (at Fraser), Vancouver, (604) 677-4247. Open daily 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.