Where you can find authentic Yucatán flavors north of the border
Habanero’s Taco Co. is charming, welcoming and warm. Walls are splashed with bright hues, and the restaurant is reminiscent of the colorful, casual places in Mexico diners visit while on vacation.
Make no mistake — this is not a Tex-Mex destination. The Seabrook restaurant serves authentic southern Mexican fare hailing from the Yucatán, which sits at the end of Mexico’s curling peninsula. After the arrival of conquistadors, the area’s traditional Mayan cuisine absorbed influences from the Caribbean, Europe and the Middle East. Today, trademark flavors include earthy annatto, citrus, habaneros and pickled onions.
The taco menu is filled with Yucatán flavor bombs, notably the signature cochinita (pork) Pibil Taco. Pulled pork is first marinated in bitter orange and annatto, then wrapped in banana leaves and slow roasted. The flavorful pibil arrives cradled in corn tortillas and garnished with vibrant fuchsia brined red onions marinated in lime.
Every tasty bite of the spiced pork pastor is sweet and savory. This taco is composed of pork loin, marinated in pineapple juice, accompanied by sautéed onions and topped with fresh onions, cilantro and more pineapple. Don’t neglect trying the Lengua à la Mexicana taco. Slivers of tongue meat are braised in spices, tomatoes, onions and bell peppers until they are incredibly soft and tender. The taco is finished with cilantro and chopped white onion for crunch.
Aside from tacos, Habanero’s offers banana leaf-wrapped tamales, fresh tortas and combination dinners. An enticing menu offering almost a dozen vegetarian options is available for diners who don’t eat meat.
To round out a meal, an order of choripapas is a satisfying side dish. This sharable platter of thick cut potato hash is sautéed with chorizo, tomato, onions and bell peppers before a liberal sprinkling of queso fresco. A trio of hot sauces at every table allows patrons to dial up the heat of their dish.
While diners will find a variety of fountain drinks, Jarritos brand Mexican soda and iced tea on the menu, they won’t find beer, wine or alcohol. But taking your own adult beverages to the restaurant is welcomed. Habanero’s does offer a selection of traditional aguas frescas. These “fresh waters” are lighter drinks made by adding a small amount of fresh fruit juice and sugar to water. In the Yucatán, the most popular of these is horchata, a drink made from rice, almonds, cinnamon and sugar. Habanero’s horchata is sweet and refreshing — basically dessert in a cup.
Habanero’s Taco Co. brings the flavors of the Yucatán to Texas. This locally owned restaurant delivers on the promise of incredibly tasty tacos.
Habanero’s Taco Co.
1908 Hialeah Drive, Seabrook