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Garibaldi Mexican Restaurant

929 North Semoran Boulevard
Orlando, FL 32807
(407) 275-5035

(*NOTE*) This is a review of Garibaldi Mexican Restaurant located on Semoran Blvd. They are not associated with the two Garibaldi Mexican Cuisine's in Orlando and Kissimmee.

Garibaldi is named after the famous Plaza Garibaldi located in the historic center of Mexico City, on Eje Central (Lázaro Cárdenas) between historic Calle República de Honduras and Calle República de Peru, a few blocks north of the Palacio de Bellas Artes.

The Plaza is best known as the home of mariachi music. At all hours of the day and night, mariachi bands can be found there playing or soliciting gigs from visitors to the Plaza.

Good times to find mariachi at Garibaldi in Orlando are usually on Friday and Saturday nights.

While Garibaldi claims to have "Authentic Mexican" food, you will find a lot of "Tex Mex" on the menu as well.

And thus we start the great debate all over again. If you recall my review on Amigos a few months back---we determined that Amigos is a true "Tex Mexery" 

But what is real authentic Mexican? 

We can definitely rule out Taco Bell's vision of Mexico. Their version of south of the border is actually foreign to those who are from south of the border.

California-based Chevys restaurant chain, offers "Classic Fresh Mex Combos" such as chimichangas  and Buritos. "Fresh Mex" is the new "Tex Mex"

The El Torito chain, also based in California, offers deep-fried ice cream on its "autentico" menu. Deep Fried ice cream is hardly authentic to Mexico.

Many so-called Mexican restaurants decorate their walls with bright sombreros and hire a mariachi band and think that makes them authentic.

The truth is...Traditional Mexican cuisine dates back 3,000 years to the Mayans, who based their diet on corn, beans and vegetables. Most authentic Mexican is not deep fat fried either.

"Tex-Mex" specialties such as chili, chimichangas, nachos and hard-shell tacos,  are not real Mexican food. The same goes for "Cal-Mex" fusions, such as the burrito, which combines fresh vegetables, fish and even fruit-based salsas with rice and beans in a flour tortilla.

Dishes like "Authentic Posole" which is a soup made with the pig's head and ears, or Pork Stew in Green Salsa  are not likely to wind up on any menus near you soon.

I have heard that some local taqueria's offer Horchata -  a milk drink made of rice with vanilla and cinnamon. I think locally taqueria's are about the closest you can get to a true taste of Mexico.

It is there you will find barbicoa beef, stewed lamb, pork belly and other meats to add to your  soft corn taco.

As far as Mexican restaurants in Orlando go,  most of the ones around  like Garibaldi are just "Tex Mexerys" with a sampling of authentic Mexican.

Garibaldi's has a nice outdoor seating area with covered tables and a water fountain outside. When the weather is is quite a nice spot to relax at.

The inside of Garibaldi's is small, but charming. I think there is only 14 tables available inside.

The decoration of wall murals and tiled wooden tables makes for a nice atmosphere. 

The standard fare of chips and salsa are pretty decent.

Garibaldi's salsa is a bit caliente---so be warned!!
They also have a really good queso dip.

The Gordita is two slices of fried cornbread
stuffed with beans, cheese, cilantro and onions topped with your choice of meat.

A Gordita is an authentic Mexican dish. They can be stuffed into a pocket or served between two pieces of cornbread.

The Pollo Ranchero is more or less a "Tex Mex" creation. The dish comes with the Tex Mex staples of re fried beans and rice with three. flour tortillas

It consists of pan seared chicken breast, sauteed onions, tomato, jalapenos and cilantro. It was pretty good.

I had the Beef Milanesa. Milanesa can be called an authentic Spanish dish, or even European dish. It is widely popular in South America. Just a simple breaded and fried thinly sliced steak that is delicious.

In Germany this would be Weiner Shnitzel and in Italy it would be scallopine or escalope alla Milanese.

The last dish on our table was the classic "Tex Mex Combo". A Taco and an Enchilada all smothered with cheese and served with beans and rice.

We like Garibaldi's very much. My favorite thing is the beef milanesa, as it never disapoints. Just about everything I have eaten there is quite tasty.

Garibaldi's does in fact have some classic Mexican dishes like Heuvos Rancheros and authentic soft corn tacos with carnitas, Sope, and even Torta's (Mexican for sandwich).

But they also have quite a large selection of the classic Tex Mex fare like Enchiladas, Fajitas and Burritos. They also have a pretty darn good Flan, but we had no room to fit any.

The debate over "Authentic Mexican" vs. "Tex Mex" still rages on, but Garibaldi's will make you happy no matter what side you are on.  Two people can dine there and be stuffed for around $25.00 and that ain't bad!!

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