When I moved back to Orlando, I felt like I’d never have really good food again. Gone were my days in Los Angeles, with more good restaurants than I could count. The only thing Orlando seemed to have was an abundance Applebee’s. I was forced to come to terms with the fact that I had left home a normal person and come back a complete food snob. All hope seemed lost until my brother brought my family and I to Tako Cheena for his birthday.
Admittedly, I didn’t enter Tako Cheena with an open mind; let’s blame it half on food snobbery and half on sibling rivalry. When I saw Tako Cheena, I thought it was just some hole in the wall and I couldn’t have been less excited to try it…then our food came.
It’s affordable, fun quick, and best of all: not a chain.
Tako Cheena fuses flavors from all over the world, specializing in Asian and Latin American cuisines. Their menu is small, but mighty, consisting mainly of tacos and burritos with an additional unlisted menu consisting of a variety of arepas (a type of sandwich with corn cakes instead of bread) and empanadas. Tako Cheena makes everything fresh to order and even has vegan options. I’d recommend their curry tofu taco, and I’m not even a vegetarian. Soda is available, but I’m partial to their complimentary cucumber water. If you’re looking to imbibe, don’t feel downtrodden just because they don’t serve alcohol; Tako Cheena is BYOB. There’s a great little liquor store across the street called Wally’s that can set you up with some great beer to go with your tacos.
Tako Cheena is located in the middle of the Mills 50 district, arguably the most fun neighborhood in town. The area boasts various bars with live music, and is simultaneously hip and relaxed.
Though my first impression was that it was somewhat of a hole in the wall, Tako Cheena is clean and consistently adorns its walls with great local artwork. Yes, there’s a definite hipster vibe here, but that’s part of what makes it great.
Tako Cheena has renewed my faith in the restaurant scene of Orlando. It’s affordable, fun, quick, and best of all: not a chain. Taco prices start at around two fifty so it’s workable for poor college students. Check it out, your taste buds will thank you. Remember to pay at the register. Or go to Applebee’s if you’re just too lazy to microwave your own food.