MIAReview

Pez Loco Restaurant & Tequila Bar review image
7.5

Pez Loco Restaurant & Tequila Bar

$$$$

Pez Loco is in a peaceful oasis right in the middle of a Wynwood nightclub minefield. The concrete complex feels like a secret meeting place for people who groan whenever they hear the words “wyn” and “wood” too close together in a sentence. And it’s the perfect setting for a restaurant that bucks the trend of lackluster, uncomfortably overhyped restaurants that dominate Wynwood these days. 

The Mexican seafood spot has a tasteful design, cordial service, and is one of the few remaining options for folks who've grown more than a little sick of Wynwood, but still—for whatever reason—want to go out in Wynwood. 

This would all be more than enough to make us stop in for a drink, but Pez Loco also has some great food. An appetizer of thick, crunchy tostadas served with a trio of great homemade salsas will instantly let you know that this isn’t some half-baked Mexican-inspired concept trying to trick you into thinking you’re in Tulum. Rather, this is a restaurant that takes Mexican flavors and reimagines them into some of Wynwood’s best dishes. 

Pez Loco Restaurant & Tequila Bar review image

The smoked pineapple salad is served cold and gives all the flavors of tacos al pastor—smokey, sweet, and savory—in the form of a refreshing meatless appetizer that’s perfect for the nine months out of the year when even the sidewalks are sweating. Even the blistered brussels sprouts—a throwaway dish at most restaurants—is surprisingly good with its complex, smoldering chile seasoning and topping of whipped goat cheese. But our favorite dish here is the octopus puttanesca, which is an example of flawless cross-cultural fusion and is also the reason why we’ll never be able to eat another conventional puttanesca without thinking of Pez Loco’s version. 

Pez Loco Restaurant & Tequila Bar review image

The restaurant's design is refreshingly cohesive for a neighborhood that takes its aesthetic cues from the imagined meeting of Liberace and Versace, if they went to Ultra together. It feels like the home of Robinson Crusoe’s millennial son, with lots of sunshine pouring in through the floor-to-ceiling windows, plants, and some fresh green tones that give off a glamping in the jungle vibe. It’s a fitting continuation of the tropical art installations that decorate the rest of the weird hidden mall that houses Pez Loco, so that when you leave, it feels like you’re still in the restaurant’s domain. It’s a nice intermediary space to linger while you emotionally prepare for the onslaught of tiki-tiki music and kids toting fake IDs who took the Dolphin to get to here that awaits outside.


Food Rundown

Trio Of House-Made Salsas

The chips are crunchy, thick tostadas instead of those flimsy fried wonton wrapper things à la Chili’s. The salsa verde is the mildest of the trio featuring tart tomatillos, while the mango salsa is the spiciest and includes habaneros. But the award for Most Interesting Salsa goes to the coffee and tomato salsa that’s rich and slightly smoky.

Crispy Brussels

These might be our favorite brussels sprouts in Miami. They’re not too crispy, but have a nice char that plays well with the salsa macha they’re covered in. The whipped goat cheese on top, though, is what really brings this dish together. It’s a tangier and lighter alternative to the crema one would typically expect as a topping at a Mexican restaurant.

Pez Loco Restaurant & Tequila Bar review image

Guacamole

Here’s what happens when a standard guacamole is done exquisitely well. It’s slightly tart, a little oniony, and has just enough salt along with a touch of chopped cilantro. It’s a perfect accompaniment to the salsa trio since it can cool your mouth down after a bite of that mango salsa.

Smoked Pineapple

This dish is genius. The pineapple has a pleasant smokiness that blends with the tangy, savory, and spicy accompaniments—like finger lime and shishito peppers—to give you the flavors of tacos al pastor in salad form. And it does all that without any pork.

Octopus Puttanesca

This is fusion done very right. It features tender pieces of octopus in a rich tomato sauce flavored with dried Mexican chile, mezcal, and orange. It’s tossed with radiatore pasta that catches all the sauce in little cups that burst in your mouth. And the pecorino on top is strong enough to stand up to all the bold flavors going on.

Banana Leaf Braised Lamb

One of three meat dishes on the menu, this lamb entrée sounds more interesting than it tastes. It consists of a large chunk of fork tender lamb with heirloom beans, a nopal relish, morels, and crème fraîche. But it tastes like it was made in a different restaurant. While almost everything that comes out of the kitchen is full of bold, punchy flavors, this dish is just surprisingly bland.

Baked Miami

This dessert is a sort of deconstructed baked Alaska. It doesn’t have the fiery presentation of a traditional version, but we really don’t care because it’s just good: discs of key lime curd rolled in graham cracker crumbs, topped with torched homemade marshmallow fluff, and served with a quenelle of coconut ice cream.

Featured in

.
Where To Go In Wynwood If You’re Sick Of Wynwood guide image
Guide
Where To Go In Wynwood If You’re Sick Of Wynwood

Wynwood can be overwhelming, but here are some casual places where you can actually have a conversation.

The Best Restaurants In Wynwood  guide image
Guide
The Best Restaurants In Wynwood

These are our 21 favorite places to eat in Wynwood.

Suggested Reading

.
Where To Go In Wynwood If You’re Sick Of Wynwood guide image
Guide
Where To Go In Wynwood If You’re Sick Of Wynwood

Wynwood can be overwhelming, but here are some casual places where you can actually have a conversation.

The Miami Hit List: The Best New Restaurants In Miami     guide image
Guide
The Miami Hit List: The Best New Restaurants In Miami

The new spots we checked out—and loved.

The 25 Best Restaurants In Miami    guide image
Guide
The 25 Best Restaurants In Miami

Meet our 25 highest-rated restaurants.

The Best Restaurants In Wynwood  guide image
Guide
The Best Restaurants In Wynwood

These are our 21 favorite places to eat in Wynwood.