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  • Pistolera first emerged in Shanghai in 2010, and has a been very popular ever since. As we close in on a decade of Tex-Mex temptations, here is a summary of the place. It’s owned by True Legend Hospitality Group, the guys and girls behind Big Bamboo and the Blind Pig. Currently, there are four branches around town: Xuhui, Changning, Jing’An and Pudong.

    Having visited all the branches, I would say the best, which also happens to be my local, is the Hengshan Road location in Xuhui. A few tables out front, along with a large rooftop terrace, make it a great spot for al fresco dining. Space inside is plentiful too, you can often catch live music in the evening, and salsa nights regularly.

    Onto the food and drink anyway. The tacos are always a winner, for this visit my partner and I had some Rib-Eye Steak ones, as well as the delicious Grilled Fish Tacos. The tacos range from 65 to 78 RMB for a pair. You can also mix and match 3 for 95 RMB. Other options include Pork, Carnitas and Tinga (Potatoes and Chicken).

    The Rib-Eye steak tacos are a delight, a thin slice of flash grilled steak topped with guacamole and pico de gallo salsa. Simple, but very tasty. The piscis of choice for the fish tacos is grilled Tilapia filets. Again topped with guacamole and pico de salsa, with added cilantro and chopped cabbage. These really are exquisite, I find myself returning to their ‘melt in the mouth goodness’ all too often.

    Drinks choices are plentiful, with several beers to choose from, craft and others. There is an extensive cocktail menu, where the Margaritas are the pick of the bunch. Coming in four flavours, regular lime, mango, coconut and strawberry. These can be got for 38RMB instead of 55RMB on Mondays. My partner opted for the Mexican Sunset which I’m told was also pretty good.

    Had some Churros to finish of the meal which were absolutely outstanding, 60 RMB will get you 5 ‘Mexican Youtiao’s’. These doughnuts are sugar heavy, with a sprinkling of cinammon, with a perfect texture. They'll hit the spot if you have a sweet tooth. They come with a choice of three sauces to dip into, including chocolate.

    Go for: Burritos, Tacos (Recommend: Fajita Burrito), Margaritas, Churros.

    Avoid: Quesadillas

    Good for: Dates, Friends, Drinks before/after the cinema adjacent to the restaurant.

    Cost: 417 RMB for 2 people (6 Tacos, 3 drinks, Dessert)

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SmartReviews is SmartShanghai’s crack squad of amateur reviewers, eating their way around the city and writing about it. They have been chosen from a large pool of applicants and given a set of strict guidelines to follow to make sure their reviews are honest, informed and fair to both potential customers and the restaurants themselves.