Order this... Fish tacos at Calaveras
Julio Mendoza, originally from Mexico, and Iliana Borisova, from Bulgaria, met on Block Island in 2011 and, as the saying goes, the rest is history — with an excellent result for Block Island.
In 2015 Julio, a self-taught cook who worked in the landscape business both here and in Connecticut, and Iliana, who studied architecture in Bulgaria and worked both in restaurants and in landscape design on Block Island, opened a Mexican restaurant named Calaveras. Calavera means “skull” in Spanish — and is a popular cultural symbol in Mexico. Skulls made of sugar or clay are often used in celebrations, including the Day of the Dead.
Julio does all of the cooking himself and Iliana is the businessperson. Julio, who grew up in Mexico City where all Mexican cultures reside, develops the menus, and many dishes are based on his childhood memories. Food is made fresh daily, as evidenced by the avocados that we watched him peel and cut for his authentic homemade guacamole and the delicious fish tacos that we tasted. Julio noted that the fish tacos are very popular in summer and more than 100 are sold daily.
The fish tacos are made of soft corn tortillas, oaxaca cheese, fresh baked fish — on this day it was cod — with lettuce and pico de gallo sauce. Iliana’s fresh daily homemade iced hibicus tea and cantaloupe aqua fresca (fruit water) were excellent complements to the tacos.
Calaveras has a take-out service, and guests are welcome to sit outside at one of the tables, which overlook Old Harbor. Calaveras does not have a liquor license, but patrons can bring wine and/or beer for dinner. Dinner is sit-down with full service. — Ruth Perfido and Becky Ballard
Calaveras is located in the Post Office Building, next to Island Bound Books. The phone number is 466-2495