La Perla Tapatia
A Mexican restaurant that smells like a bar of handcrafted soap with a view of an Amish furniture store in a building called The Reed Opera House, that's not some Freudian nightmare, it's an actual restaurant in downtown Salem. La Perla Tapatia upstairs in The Reed Opera House is known around town for their $.99 tacos. In fact, Salem Monthly named them best Mexican Food. After trying the pollo and carne asada tacos I would have to say that they are among the best in town. With juicy chunks of steak and just the right amount of onions, cilantro and hot sauce, three of these tacos wasn't enough. Next time I'll order at least four but I will probably get them to go. To say that the atmosphere in this restaurant is odd would be an understatement. It's kind of a horseshoe shaped dining room with the center overlooking a wood furniture store on the first floor. That must be how the aroma of the soap leaks in. In the basement of the building is a store called S.L.A.B that sells $4 bars of soap that smell like peppermint oatmeal. The outer side of the dining room has a great view of the intersection of Court Street and Liberty. One thing they could do to liven up the place would be to have some Latin music playing in the background. Although I don't know how well that would go over with customers in the shop below. Another reason to get take out next time, is that the service was slow. Several tables were left unbussed which suggested to me that they were understaffed. And I was also disappointed in the chips and salsa. That's usually one of my favorite things about eating at a Mexican restaurant. But here, I thought that the salsa didn't seem very fresh. La Perla is a place I might go back to for lunch. I like The Reed Opera House a lot. With it's funky floor plan and stores it's always a fun place to dive into to escape the rain. And there's a cool little coffee/cafe in the basement called The Little Cannoli which makes great pastries and coffee. I've been meaning to get in there for a review, maybe Saturday.