Viva Tequila Sunrise

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Tequila Sunrise is the name of a cocktail. It’s also one of the city’s best Mexican restaurants, right on Bell Boulevard in Bayside.

While the ornate Aztec calendar-piece adorning the wall of the main dining area is beautiful, what will really impress those who imbibe is the glass-walled beverage closet, containing some 700 bottles of wines, liquors and upscale tequilas.

The Mexican dishes – chimichangas, enchiladas, quesadillas and tacos – can be ordered in several combinations and with different cheese, chicken or beef fillings.

They’re authentically prepared and served with flair in the brightly decorated multi-level dining areas around the well-stocked, “U” shaped bar. You can even order one of the rarified, aged tequilas from the owners’ “private stock.”

Several Mexican beers, frozen daiquiris and margaritas are available, but the Sangria – particularly the fruity, golden, potent white Sangria – is amazing.

Appetizers are delicious and easy to share. Don’t miss the guacamole; it’s whipped together tableside and maybe better than mamasita used to make.

Entrees are many and varied even for vegetarians, who will love the chili rellenos or the fajita vegetariana (both contain queso blanco, a milk product.)

Beef eaters take note. This family-owned restaurant has added a well-trimmed, 18 ounce T-bone to the menu that comes with their magnificent Presidente sauce. This wondrous combination of cream, mushrooms and brandy is thickened by reduction, not a roux, and will make you regret ever bothering with steak sauce.

Seafood is well represented and there are some recent additions to an already impressive menu.

Maya Cayo de Hacha is one; Jumbo shrimp and sea scallops, surrounding garlic mashed potatoes. They are nestled in a superb, tomato-based sweet red pepper sauce.

Another new arrival is a 2-pound lobster stuffed with shrimp, scallops and calamari, served with rice and seasonal vegetables. It comes with “Alfredo sauce,” another flourless creamy reduction that’s better than some lobster bisques I’ve tasted.

New desserts include Bananita Tequila Sunrise, a brandy-sauced update of Bananas Foster, is warm and wonderful. Apple Rollito – the fruit rolled in a flour pastry with Kalua syrup is a masterstroke.

If you’re worried an after diner coffee will keep you awake, try Café Daiblo, made at your table. High-octane rum is flambéed to caramelize a sugar-rimmed snifter, dusted with cinnamon while still alight, and the coffee is added to Bailey’s cream, Meyers’s Rum and Kalua, topped with whipped cream. Wow.

For those susceptible to guilt, know that they use Splenda to sweeten desserts, virgin olive oil for cooking and Canola for deep frying.

With a prix fixe five-course lunch from noon to 3 p.m., Karaoke Monday, Tuesday Ladies Night, strolling Mariachis Wednesdays through Sundays, and duo “Saxtalk” on Tuesday Friday and Saturday, there’s often a line just to get in.

But patience is a virtue, and it’s rewarded at Tequila Sunrise.


34-37 Bell Boulevard

Bayside, N.Y. 11361

Phone: 718-631-0377

Web site:

Open every day: Sunday through Thursday noon to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday noon to 1 a.m.

Entertainment: Monday Karaoke 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Tuesday Ladies Night with Saxtalk, 8 p.m. to midnight; Wednesday through Sunday, Mariachi Band; Friday and Saturday, Saxtalk, 10 p.m. to closing.

All major cards accepted.

Transportation: Q13, Q31 bus; small valet parking lot adjacent.

Available for catering and parties.

Tequila Sunrise

34-37 Bell Boulevard

Bayside, NY