>> Sunday, April 17, 2011

MARIANELLA'S is closed.
106-11 71st Avenue
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 263-2008

11375 gets it's third Mexican restaurant with Marianella's Taqueria. "Great", some might argue,, sarcastic tone in hand. "We're up to our ears in Italian, Japanese and Thai. Now instead of something unique, we get more of the same, only Mexican." Ah. True, but false. Sgt. Garcia's is an actual restaurant with a more mature atmosphere... relatively. Five Boros is a cantina for twenty/thirty-somethings like me to get sloshed at at 2am when everything else is closed and you still need to get your drunk on. Marianella's is basically fast food. Cheap, Mexican, and in case you missed it the first time, cheap. It's the kind of food you get from a taco truck in Corona. So naturally, Marianella's is good. At least, in my experiences so far they have been.

There isn't any table service at Marianella's. You order off the big board and find a seat wherever you want. Turnover is pretty fast. You probably aren't going to wait more than five minutes to get through the line and they make almost everything right in front of you. Should you so desire, there is a FULL bar. Of course, you shall not desire. Almost no one will and it takes up space and it looks tacky... and weird. I mean, can anyone picture a scenario in which someone says to themselves "Man, this chicken taco would go great with a Rob Roy! Barkeep! Your finest blended Scotch, please." That said, I do think a chicken taco would go great with a Tecate.

The menu here is relatively simple, but varied. Tacos, burritos, quesadillas and your choice of a "protein". Ground beef, steak, chicken, etc. No tofu though. There are no vegetarians in Mexico. Marianella's also has a small empanada list and I've tried all of them. What can I say but that I love empanadas. My recommendation: skip them and go to Mama's Empanadas just off Queens Boulevard by the Queens Center Mall (Here's my review of the Northern Boulevard one). Curry Chicken, Ground Beef & Pea, Steak, Four Cheese are the ones you can try should you ignore my wisdom. The best one was the chicken curry followed by the cheese. Both beef options were pretty flat. Plus, they all suffered from far too much dough with far too little filling.

Everything else, though, was pretty good. I've gone twice. The first time, my friend Pike ordered a Beef Quesadilla which he thought was great. I did not try it, but I trust his word on whether or not unheathy food tastes anything less than par. My choice was a Steak Burrito, and I was mightily impressed. The set up is identical to what you would find at a Chipotle, so if you like Chipotle, you're likely to enjoy yourself here. If not, you'll at least know the system. Pick a meat, pick a rice, pick a bean, pick some veggies, maybe get some sour cream. That's it. Then they wrap it up and send you on your merry way. My second time I ordered a Shredded Chicken Hard Taco and a Ground Beef Hard Taco. As is normal for all hard tacos, they tend to crumble into tortilla chips by the time you're done.

I think that the biggest competition to Marianella's will be Pahal Zan for the lunch crowd during the day and McDonald's for the late night post-clubbers with the munchies.

Pricewise, just about everything floats around $7 or $8, plus tax and a drink. Three empanadas are $5.


Anonymous,  April 18, 2011 at 7:54 PM  

Best empanadas-- Empanada Cafe on 108th Street in Corona.

Andrew Hyatt April 18, 2011 at 11:37 PM  

This place depresses me. It's fairly expensive (I spent around $6 for an order of two tacos, then another $3 for chips & salsa), and it isn't all that great.

I thought when it said "Taqueria" that it was a normal Taqueria. As in, you can get a taco. You can't. You can get tacos in units of 2. The ability to get oddly numbered tacos is important.

They steam their tortillas for tacos as well, where any self-respecting taqueria will toast them. No onions as a topping, either. Weird.

For great tacos, just take an express train to Jackson Heights, or a bus to Corona. These are only "not bad", while also being overpriced.

sooz April 19, 2011 at 9:54 AM  

i love your blog! my bf and I live in FH and are always struggling to find a good meal. really struggling. thanks for all the info!

Anonymous,  April 19, 2011 at 4:48 PM  

This place sucks. Been there 3 weeks ago, service is bad and the food is terrible. Never going back.

Jon Parker April 19, 2011 at 5:01 PM  

Ok. So consensus is that Marianella's does not have too many fans as yet.

Anonymous,  May 18, 2011 at 8:44 PM  

Sadly, the beautiful Marianella's smells musty and moldy.

Anonymous,  June 8, 2011 at 7:18 PM  

this store just sucks they need to close down i feel sorry for the staff there the owners look like they hardly care about the store

Anonymous,  June 23, 2011 at 10:29 AM  

I like it there a lot. I have been a few times, and the food quality has definitely got better each time I went. It's a fairly new restaurant but the owners/managers are definitely taking strides to improve their product, and it will continue to improve with more time in operation. I like to consider myself somewhat of a food critic, so I've been trying different things each time. Definitely try the empenada's, so far those are my favorite thing on the menu! Also a big fan of the interior decorating - the food might be cheap but it doesn't make you feel like you're eating at a fast food restaurant what so ever! Definitely better then a regular chipotle/qdoba type establishment. Definitely returning. Good work Marianella's team!

Anonymous,  June 23, 2011 at 11:39 AM  

I love it at this restaurant. Many of my friends started up restaurants and it takes time to tweak to customer demands, although I have rarely any for this one.

The food is good...and I disagree with the post in that it adds a unique touch with a hint of Middle Eastern flavor...they offer orange rice and you can put hummus in the burritos, etc.

I like the atmosphere...very cool design...and the staff was super friendly to me. I think this restuarant will do well and I can't wait to go back.

Alex Vojdany June 23, 2011 at 11:40 AM  

I agree with the previous post. The food was great, the atmosphere was fun, the options were plentiful and the staff was friendly. And yes, I think a pina colada (a virgin one for all of you sqares) would compliment a burrito or taco.

Anonymous,  June 29, 2011 at 11:13 AM  

This place is booming! From a great atmosphere to friendly employees and I love the new Bartender she was awesome. Thanks Fresia!

Steve,  November 10, 2011 at 2:39 PM  

I agree that the best empanadas by far are at Empanada Cafe.

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