Give Me All the Late Night Tacos at La Primavera

Good Bite

Pictured: In addition to its daily offerings of authentic cuisine, during the weekends, La Primavera transforms into a late night taco oasis. Photo by Kevin Allen.

On the south wall of La Primavera, one of the area’s most celebrated Mexican grocery stores and eateries, something special happens every weekend evening. If you want to simplify it, call it a taco bar that’s open until midnight. But there’s something bigger happening here.

The first thing that hits you is the smell of sizzling meat and corn tortillas. The mind starts to wander to thoughts of which meats, which toppings, which combinations will I try tonight?

The al pastor (pork), asada (steak) and birria (beef stewed with chiles and spices) are the more traditional offerings, and represent an easy entry into authentic Mexican cuisine. La Primavera also offers delicacies like tripa (tripe) and lengua (beef tongue) that provide exceptional experiences for the more adventurous diner.

A trip for late night tacos at La Primavera has become a tradition ever since my friend, the local theater director Will Luera, introduced me to them (and invited me to play on the Late Night Tacos softball team, named in honor of La Primavera’s offerings). Lines can get long and then tend to dissipate a bit after 11:30, but if you have to wait a bit, know that it’ll be worth it.

Paired with an ice cold bottle of Corona or can of Modelo, every single bite of these tacos, served with such expertise at such an unassuming locale, is a reminder that there are hidden gems everywhere in this city. La Primavera also serves as a de facto hub for Sarasota’s Hispanic community, and the patio always has a welcoming, party atmosphere. The staff is amazingly friendly, patient and passionate about what they do, always quick with a recommendation.

“I don't think there's another store that puts out a taco cart on the weekends like we do,” La Primavera owner/manager Neida Esquivel says. “I think that's probably pretty unique to us, and people love it. They're obsessed with the tacos outside.” Esquivel notes that many of the clientele for the late-night taco bar are restaurant workers just getting off their shift.

Inside La Primavera, you’ll find plenty of authentic Mexican dishes every day and into the evening, while the late-night taco bar, which offers two salsas, onions, cilantro, lime, and radishes as toppings, is only open during the weekend.

Sarasota is seldom thought of as a late-night dining destination, but La Primavera has staked its claim as the spot for affordable, authentic, and delicious cuisine after hours.

La Primavera, 901 N Washington Blvd, Sarasota, (941) 366-5321.

Pictured: In addition to its daily offerings of authentic cuisine, during the weekends, La Primavera transforms into a late night taco oasis. Photo by Kevin Allen.

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