‘Watts for Dinner’: From ‘Cast-Iron Carnitas’ to unique tamales, Zaza satisfies

Will Watts

Our next dining destination is Zaza Mexican Kitchen in Olde Marco.

Things got off to an appetizing start with the taquitos ($10). This dish includes four small tortillas with a meat filling, in this case tinga de pollo (chicken deep-fried, then topped with guacamole and queso fresca. Yum! So crunchy and delicious. Packed with chicken and a generous amount of guac. I could eat my weight in these bite-sized treats.

For my main entrée, I selected the “Cast-Iron Carnitas” ($16), delicious roasted pork served braised and shredded, with onions in the mix, a side of corn (or flour) tortillas, rice and your choice of beans and salsa (I picked charro beans and salsa verde).  

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There’s no better choice for carnitas than green salsa. And for me, the tortillas must be corn. In many places, this dish is served with lots of fat in the mix. I’m happy to report that’s not the case at Zaza. These carnitas are lean and top notch. The beans are quite tasty as well. I highly recommend this dish.

My dining companion opted for two street tacos and one of the “Zaza Bowls.” The tacos come in many flavors, from the tinga de pollo to the al pastor and falda (skirt steak). He got the carnitas and the chorizo, a spicy red sausage). Delicioso! The double corn tortillas are an especially nice touch.

The bowls also come with a choice of fillings. He went with the tinga. This is a deep-fried taco shell, just like many taco salads are served in. This one was filled with rice, beans and lettuce, a giant slice of avocado and a heaping pile of chicken. Another dish earning high marks.

 We also took home some tamales. You can get chicken or carnitas. We opted for the pork. These tamales are unique, prepared with potatoes and tomatoes in the mix. The tomato slice is very visible embedded at the top of the tamales.

Kudos to Zaza for offering something unique and unlike the rest. I always like to try new things.

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I also want to discuss two standouts from our February 2020 visit. The esquites, a salad – for lack of a better word – based on Mexican street corn. Love this dish. Also, the chile relleno, one of my favorite dishes. Typically, it’s two egg coated chiles stuffed with cheese and deep fried. In this dish, strips of the chile are mixed with cheese, rice and beans inside of a giant burrito. While not highly representative of the chile relleno dish, it was a delicious and generous alternative to a meat-filled burrito.

Back to today and outside the Mexican-themed fare. It appears that the Chicago pizza is off the menu for now. There’s still some pasta dishes and wings! New to the menu, hamburgers and foot-long hotdogs. There are also some vegetarian options. Happy eating!     

More:Hey Marco Island, looking for a place to eat?

This newspaper pays for all meals related to dining reviews. We do not solicit or accept free food. Not all dishes are featured in print, but you can find a gallery of all reviewed dishes online at marconews.com.

If you go

Zaza Mexican Kitchen

  • 1095 Bald Eagle Dr., Unit 8, Marco Island
  • 239-970-5205
  • eatatzaza.com