Portsmouth is home to an excellent range of independent eateries, and a newly opened foodie spot on the ever popular Palmerston Road has earned itself a spot on my list of favourite restaurants – let me introduce you to Bonita’s Southsea.
Bonita’s Southsea opened in September in their prime location in the heart of Southsea, a few minutes walk from the seafront and popular tourist destinations. Ever since they’ve opened, Bonita’s Southsea have been fully booked and I’ve heard so many good things about the restaurant. Bonita’s is a taqueria and cocktail bar serving up Mexican food and margaritas, alongside other things!
So, I grabbed my favourite taco-eating companion (Tom, of course) and booked a table. Bonita’s are running a special deal every Tuesday – called Taco Tuesday (if you couldn’t guess) where they’re offering all you can eat tacos, quesadillas & curly fries for a very reasonable price of £15pp.
How could I resist? Endless amounts of tacos – I’m in!
If you visit Bonita’s Southsea, there are plenty of places to park nearby – either on street or in Ashby Place car park (you can even pay to park with your card here – very handy). You’ll spot Bonita’s straight away – just head towards the neon pink glow and you’ll find their unique restaurant front!
Clearly designed to get you talking about what Bonita’s resembles – and I love it. So unusual, and unlike anything else in Portsmouth – or the neighbouring areas, to be honest! Such a standout appearance that gives an air of intrigue and lures you inside to find out more.
Inside Bonita’s Southsea you’re greeted by colourful, vibrant pink decor, green foliage and the occasional bit of blue seating. This is bound to be an instagram hotspot – and for good reason – and the design inside is beautiful.
Bonita’s is a fairly small restaurant, but the table layout and bright decor allow each table plenty of space and privacy, making this the perfect spot for dinner with friends or a date night with your better half.
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We headed to our table at the far end and settled in to peruse the Taco Tuesday menu.
A note for if you’re booking ahead – Bonita’s will need a deposit if you’d like to secure your table as it’s a very popular and small space that they need to keep fully booked, so prepare yourself for a big deposit if you want to ensure you get a seat! We paid a £30 deposit for our table, which was basically paying in advance for our £15pp Taco Tuesday food – which we were perfectly happy to do as we knew we’d definitely keep our booking.
If you visit on any other night of the week, Bonita’s have all of their tacos and quesadillas on offer, plus some tostadas, burrito bowls and churros for dessert – or, if you fancy something a little more decadent there’s a Bottomless 3-course Brunch on offer on the weekends!
There’s no need to order the quesadillas on Taco Tuesday as the waiters & waitresses come round with platters of the different flavours for you to try as you please – so when you settle down with your menu, make sure to focus your attention on the tacos!
We, of course, wanted to try 4 of the tacos – sharing with each other to lighten the load!
First up were a bowl of curly fries, delivered very promptly to our table alongside some tortilla chips and salsa – perfect to nibble on while you wait for your tacos.
The curly fries were excellent – gently spiced, perfectly crisp and fluffy on the inside. We devoured two bowls of these, only slowing down to allow room for the tacos & quesadillas!
We sampled three types of quesadilla on our visit:
- Cheese – with onion, parsley & ancho chillies
- Carnitas – smokey pulled pork with cheese & pineapple-mustard salsa
- Chicken – zesty with onions, garlic & cheese
The quesadillas all tasted incredible – but I think my personal favourite were the chicken ones. I might have eaten two! The chicken was succulent and bursting with citrus flavours, and the cheese was perfectly melted – a delight to eat.
Our first round of tacos arrived – and we were so impressed with how fresh everything looked and the simple, irresistible presentation.
My first choice was, of course, the buttermilk fried chicken tacos. These were served with chunky guacamole, pink onions & a drizzle of chipotle sauce – not too spicy and the perfect amount of warmth. Coupled with the crunch of red cabbage, the buttermilk chicken tacos were delicious.
The chicken was tender and perfectly cooked, the combination of flavours and textures complimented the fried chicken so well – I could have eaten these all night!
If you’re a fried chicken lover like me, check out my guide to the best fried chicken in Hampshire!
Next were the Chifa Duck tacos – crispy duck served with a hibiscus reduction, spring onions and crunchy cabbage. These were a fusion flavour that I loved – traditional crispy duck flavours with a mexican twist. The hibiscus reduction complimented the duck perfectly, giving just the right amount of sweetness to the duck.
These were possibly the highlight of our meal – although it was all so tasty, who can really tell?
The next taco to arrive was the Carne Asada – steak tacos with chimichurri, pico de gallo and poblano sauce. To be honest, these didn’t really blow me away – the flavours were nice, but I didn’t enjoy the steak itself as it was a little chewy.
HOWEVER – I hear rumours that the steak tacos are sliding off the menu to make room for something even more exciting and delicious, and I can’t wait to try the new flavour!
Our final tacos – and they were excellent – were the Carnitas tacos. Sweet & smokey pulled pork topped with poblano & pimento sauce, pineapple-mustard salsa and pink pickled onions – plus some red cabbage for good measure.
The pulled pork really packs a punch in the flavour department – smokey flavours with hints of citrus give the tender meat new levels of taste that I wasn’t expecting. A far cry from the standard BBQ flavour pulled pork that you see on so many menus these days!
I loved the pineapple-mustard salsa that accompanied the pulled pork tacos and quesadillas – such an interesting flavour combo that worked surprisingly well.
The happy face of someone who consumed 4 tacos, 4 quesadillas and a bowl of curly fries – the recipe for an excellent evening!
If you’re after somewhere a little different to try for dinner in Portsmouth – you’re in luck. Look no further than Bonita’s Southsea! It’s fantastic to see an independent restaurant do so well as soon as their doors opened, and I can see why it is such a popular spot.
The service was excellent and the staff were incredibly attentive – our friendly waitress refilled our curly fries and topped up our drinks before we even realised they were finished, and excellent service is what keeps us returning to good restaurants.
Inside Bonita’s, the atmosphere is warm and welcoming – the music is loud enough without being intrusive and the decor is beautiful. It’s clear that a lot of thought has been put in to the layout and design of Bonita’s, and it’s paid off!
The food was excellent, and we are already planning on heading back to sample more of the food – the tostadas, bonita bowls and churros are all very appealing!
To find out more about Bonita’s Southsea, have a look at their menu here. You can book Taco Tuesday here and Bottomless Brunch here – and while you’re there, why not follow them on Facebook and Instagram too?
While you’re here, you might also like to have a read of my Hampshire Food Guides – my guides to the best food in Hampshire!