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Tortilla (Restaurant)

Picture of Tortilla in Angel & Islington, London

13 Islington High Street, Angel & Islington, London, N1 9LQ
Cuisine: Mexican Average Price: £6.00
Tel: 0207 833 3103 | Email to Tortilla | Transport: Angel | Write review

Tortilla Review

Picture this: you and your closest hombres have sunk a few cervezas in Londres centrale and now you’re making your way back to your casa, up in Highbury & Islington. You ascend the considerable length of the Angel escalator, fumble your way through the gates, and exit onto the bustling Upper Street. You haven’t eaten yet and your stomach is starting to make you aware of the fact. Across the road is a Burger King. Hmmm, could do, but you’re not that desperate; yet! You spy another eatery just next to BK. Is that a Taco Bell? The popular American fast food chain that churns out nifty packages of Mexican flavoured joy? Could this be the answer to your irritated abdomen? Well, in a word: no. Why? Because Taco Bell died out in the mid-1990s when the economic boom saw fit to destroy the notion of ‘trading down’ your dinner options. What’s happened here is a hallucination, or some sort of daydream time travel scenario, and your reverie quickly turns to the stuff of nightmares as you suddenly envisage yourself pushing your way in through the Burger King doors.
Unless another American food chain steps in and saves you from this torrid ordeal. Perhaps a chain called Tortilla cleverly sets up shop in Angel, right where you thought you saw Taco Bell, and lures you in with satisfying sustenance at a fraction of the cost. The recession has recently choked London town and Tortilla were wise enough to preempt the penny-pinching disposition that an entire capital of hungry bellies were bound to adopt.
So you wander in, unsure of what to expect and, at first, you become momentarily disheartened by the school dinner approach to ordering. These containers of indescribable slop aren’t immediately appetising. The menu is as simple as it is sloppy with varying heat levels of sauce - runny mild up to the more viscous hot - so you decide to take the plunge and order a burrito. Once the tortilla is steamed and primed, it’s then up to you to point and give approval on two kinds of rice, two types of beans, three sorts of meat - vegetarians, don’t bother - and a myriad of sauces, cheeses, vegetables, and other forms of sloppiness. The final outcome is a Tyrannosaurus Mex. This beast would make the perfect missile in a food fight, due to its size and density. And allegedly, this is only the ‘medium’ (NOTE: they don’t do small and the large - or Godtilla? - is reserved for professional eaters only. Them, or anyone wishing to catch some snooze time on the Northern Line and eventually overshoot their stop by about 5 stations). All this arrives in your hand with corn chips and spicy salsa, just in case 28 of your friends suddenly turn up and need feeding.

You also order one of their many authentic Mexican beers to keep your buzz alive and, realising your meal is far too messy to scoff on the run, take a pew at one of the communal tables (like Wagamamas, only smaller). Once seated you begin harassing the strangers next to you. Upon realising that nobody within your immediate vicinity wishes to make friends with you, you relocate to the one and only Parisian-style street table outside. There you’re blessed with a sterling view of the Upper Street traffic jam, part of which is the hilarious parade of Lamborghini owners driving their vehicular inadequacies up and down the length and breadth of Angel, thus making you feel like less of a loser.

You decide that the plastic knives and forks provided by Tortilla are merely decorative utensils and instead craft an adult bib from a handful of napkins for fear of injuring your pristine white shirt. You begin to eat. The next 15 minutes are swirl of flavours, sounds, images and raw emotion and you don’t recall much of what happens. You just know you enjoyed it.

Once the transaction between your hand and your stomach is complete, you stupidly opt to wash it all down with a £4.25 Margarita, not realising how exceedingly strong they are. The novelty of classy alcohol at a fast food restaurant had previously been restricted to your local kebab slap where you frequently dished out 3 quid for a luke warm Carling. So this is seems fairly avant-garde.

Before you depart you scan the menu for dessert - in particular, doughnut’s long lost cousin, the churros - but find nothing, sadly. So you struggle through the back room sauna - the dishwashing area - to use the facilities and, once relieved, stumble back onto Upper Street, sated and slightly sozzled.

In conclusion, make no mistake, this is fast food. But thankfully, fast food that is one wrung higher on the evolutionary ladder than Taco Bell. Tortilla offers the modern day Cornish pasty with veg, meat and carbs all snuggled together in one almighty blanket of simplicity. Be aware, though, this is not Mexican food. Neither is it the famous Tex-Mex hybrid. No, this is, for want of a better word: Mexifornian, a distorted remix of Mexican food as seen through the eyes of Californian surfers who only have time to eat with their hands.

What it lacks in range it makes up for in taste and professionalism (the staff eat here too so it must be palatable) and although Tortilla was not schooled in the Wahaca art of ‘street market’ dining, it does offer recession-beating cheap eats that are genuinely appealing.

Needless to say, Tortilla is very popular in that 9-11pm slot and if you find yourself in this transient, hungry torrent, make sure you ignore the devil dressed as Burger King (or even Chicken Cottage next door). Instead, embrace your inner Pedro Zuckermann - the Mexican-born, moustached Californian within each of us - and treat him to an injection of, yes, HEALTHY fast food. more

Customer Reviews for Tortilla

Average (based on 3 votes): 3 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of Tortilla.

“Big portions, right opposite the Angel tube station, and it’s not too expensive either. Plus, they serve beer. Ideal post-pub Islington High Street fodder.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Leigh, Tooting (11 years 6 months 22 days ago)

“A great place for a quick and tasty feed at a modest price. A good portion size that should satiate most appetites.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Matthew Chambers, Wandsworth (11 years 7 months ago)

“I finally find the tasty and fresh food made from scratch with lots and lots of flavors. Quick service and friendly staff. Would like to see more Tortilla restaurants around city. Strictly recommend for people whom appreciate fresh, made from scratch with kick food.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Tom, London (11 years 8 months ago)

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Wholesome, delicious Mexican fare at very affordable prices.

Choose whether you want a burrito, fajita, salad etc and then choose which meat you would liek from grilled chicken, grilled beef, braised pork or a vegetarian alternative and then watch it being made expertly before your eyes!

Updated 16/02/2011


Good selection of soft drinks and of course excellent Margheritas and Mexican and International beers.

Updated 16/02/2011

Tortilla Opening Hours

Monday: 12:00pm - 10:00pm Friday: 12:00pm - 11:00pm
Tuesday: 12:00pm - 10:00pm Saturday: 12:00pm - 11:00pm
Wednesday: 12:00pm - 10:00pm Sunday: 12:00pm - 10:00pm
Thursday: 12:00pm - 11:00pm    

Additional Information

  • Cuisine Type: Mexican
  • Average Price: £6.00
  • Group: Tortilla

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Venue ID: 19866

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