Pablo Y Pablo

Barrio is a dependable upscale Mexican spot. So when the same restaurant team opened Pablo Y Pablo, a similar taco-focused place in Wallingford, we were ready to be blown away. We weren’t, but not because this place isn’t good—more because the bar was higher.

Pablo Y Pablo is smaller than Barrio, but it’s easier to get into, and it’s in a non-congested part of the city with free parking. The menu is full of trustworthy classics like nachos and carnitas, as well as some more inventive options, like our favorite thing here: a riff on an Italian chopped salad that features cured chorizo slices, pepitas, and a tangy oregano vinaigrette.

Pablo y Pablo review image

And then there are the tacos: 15 varieties, all made with fresh tortillas. Options range from the basics, like braised chicken and baja fish, to a category simply called “baller” that includes fillings like pork belly banh mi, boar meatballs, and fried soft shell crab. They can be a bit hit or miss—a crunchy taco with vegan chorizo and cashew cheese sauce is really delicious, while the pineapple and bacon taco is unpleasantly limp. The spiced steak is great, while the grilled shrimp is bland. The beer-battered fish's crunch can vary too, even if ordered by multiple folks at the same table. Overall, the food here is good—just not good enough for you to travel for it.

One thing Pablo Y Pablo is especially suited for is an early-in-the-game date. The big bar, small tables, and many candles make for an atmosphere perfect for getting to know someone. If nothing else, you will at least figure out how good your date is at using an eyedropper, since that’s how you add hot sauce to your food here.

If you’re aiming for an outstanding Mexican meal, head to Barrio for better food, better cocktails, and an overall nicer ambiance. But if you’re simply looking for a laid-back meal over tacos in the immediate area, Pablo Y Pablo works.

Food Rundown

Pablo y Pablo review image

Pablo Chopped

This is a clever little twist on an Italian chopped salad that has chickpeas, romaine, kale, and an oregano vinaigrette, as well as cotija cheese and cured chorizo. Plus avocado and spiced pepitas on top. It's our favorite dish here—especially with grilled chicken added—but if you can't handle spice, please do yourself a favor and order it without the peppers.

Pablo y Pablo review image

Spiced Steak Tacos

Tender marinated steak with a spicy cascabel salsa, guacamole, onion, and cilantro. It’s simple, and it works.

Pablo y Pablo review image

Vegan Chorizo Tacos

Non-vegans, you’ll want to order these on purpose. They’re made with meatless chorizo, a cumin-spiked cashew cheese sauce, shredded lettuce, and pico de gallo, plus a crispy corn tortilla. They put any roasted squash or portabello tacos you’ll find elsewhere to utter plant-based shame.

Pablo y Pablo review image

Pork Belly Bánh Mì Tacos

The pork belly in this is slightly tough, but it’s still a fun mashup.

Pablo y Pablo review image

Baja Fish Tacos

Not the best fish taco in the city—the beer batter can be a little greasy—but when it's good, it's very good.

Spiced Grilled Pineapple Tacos

It’s hard to make bacon with pineapple unappetizing, but this stuff is. Skip.

Chipotle Braised Chicken Tacos

Picky eaters don’t have to exit the restaurant in tears—these chicken tacos (topped with romaine, crema, and salsa) are pretty basic and reliably good. There are better tacos to be had here, though.

Pablo y Pablo review image

Chipotle Braised Chicken Enchiladas

You can choose between a red or green sauce, or get half-and-half, but we prefer the red in these enchiladas.

Included in