2424 Kings Mill Road
Mason, OH 45040
|Hours:||Mon – Sun: 11 – 10 p.m.|
|Price Range:||$10 to $15 per entrée|
Caroline and I have regarded Viva Tequila as the master of Mason Tex-Mex and Mexican food since well before either of us had even moved out of our parents’ houses. Situated right off the 741 exit (exit 25) of I-71 across the highway from The Beach Waterpark and, more ironically, across the street from a Taco Bell, Viva Tequila inhabits a slightly run down old building that has housed a handful of restaurants in its time.
Like a lot of the best restaurants up here in Mason, it would be extremely easy to drive right past Viva Tequila and never know you had missed out on something great. We hadn’t been there in quite some time so, hungry for an early dinner that wasn’t too harsh on our wallet, we hopped in the car and headed over there last night.
We arrived at around 4 p.m. and found that for that early on a Wednesday night they were actually fairly busy. Even so, we were seated immediately in one of the booths in the front dining area. The inside of Viva Tequila is very plain. A handful of steretypical decorations adorn the walls, and it doesn’t look like the building has been repainted in a long while. Regardles of the drab decor, the restaurant is extremely clean looking.
A moment after being seated, we were presented with a bowl of chips and salsa, our menus, and our drink orders were taken. The chips and salsa there are excellent; not too salty with just a hint of lime complimented by a thick, moderately spicy salsa. Caroline and I already have our favorites at Viva Tequila, so we decided quickly. Honestly, the hardest part about deciding is choosing between the handful of things we really like there.
Normally, for a full review we would go with an appetizer, entrees and then desserts, but this was a budget conscious meal so we decided to skip the appetizers and share a dessert.
Caroline chose the Steak Nachos Fajitas for her entree, and I went with the Especial Dinner. It may just be that one’s sense of time is altered when eating such good chips and salsa, but it seemed like it was only a few minutes before our waiter returned with our dishes.
The Nachos Fajitas is a plate of nachos topped with fajita steak and vegetables and then drenched in a special melted cheese sauce. The steak was tender and the cheese sauce fantastic, particularly when blended with rest of the ingredients. Caroline said that the only problem she had with it was that the chips lost their crunch too fast while drenched in the sauce and the juices from the steak.
The Especial Dinner comes on two plates and is definitely intended for someone who came hungry. It consists of a chalupa, chile mixto, taco, enchilada and a tamale all served with rice and beans. Every last bite of it was excellent. The filling of their tamales is one of my favorites, and the sauce on the chile mixto was very similar to the sauce on Caroline’s Nachos Fajitas and every bit as delicious. If you’re hungry, or if there’s two of you and you don’t mind sharing, the Especial Dinner is an excellent way to try a handful of the different things Viva Tequila has to offer.
Though I made a valiant effort, neither of us could finish and had to request take-home containers. When our waiter brought them back he asked off-hand if we wanted dessert and I was amazed at how his face lit up when we said we would.
Rather than go get another menu, he listed all of their desserts off the top of his head, and we decided to split an order of Sopapilla. He returned with it shortly and we dug in. The Sopapilla is fried tortilla dusted with cinnamon and sugar and then drizzled with honey, chocolate sauce, and crowned with a dollowed of fresh whipped cream.
Even though it sounds like a pretty simple dessert, it was absolutely fantastic. Even Caroline, extremely full from the meal and not a fan of honey in the least, devoured her share.
The waiter had left the check when he delivered our dessert, and we took it up to the register at the door to pay as is standard procedure there. All in all the bill came to just under $30 for a big dinner for two, plus enough leftovers for another meal for each of us, and a split dessert.
Verdict: You Should Go
If you’re up in the area of Kings Island or The Beach, or live/work in the Mason area and like Tex-Mex and authentic Mexican food, you nead to go try Viva Tequila. They are easily the best Mexican restaurant Caroline and I have had up here in Mason, and are on the cheaper side. If you come during normal dinner times, particularly on the weekend, expect a big crowd. Some nights they have a mariachi band wandering about the restaurant playing for everyone too, so if you want a quiet evening you might want to call ahead and check when they’re playing.