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Restaurant Review: Paisano in Waltham, MA

Angela: It was a humid Saturday, and myself, my boyfriend and my twin, Jackie, were on the hunt for a cheap thrill and free chips on a table. What we found was Paisano. Boasting authentic Mexican / Gautemalan cuisine and $4.99 margaritas, we took our chances and headed to the popular Waltham establishment at 233 High Street.

paisano burrito
This is what my boyfriend wanted to get which looks 100 times more delicious than what I picked for us. Except for the sour cream. (Photo courtesy

Jackie: I had first heard about this place from a co-worker. When I told her that my sister was moving to Waltham, she said we HAD to check out this Mexican restaurant. She even went as far as saying it was the best Mexican food she and her fiancé had come across, even better than any place in Boston proper. 

A: There was a cute seating area outside, but the restaurant faced a busy road and across from it a cemetery, so we opted to sit inside. A bit dated but cute, a bit musty but enticing, the restaurant certainly seemed more authentic than the hokey decor that hangs from the walls at a place like Margaritas.

J: The main thing I did enjoy about this place were the chips on the table. I mean, how often do you get free refills of warm tortilla chips at a Mexican restaurant? Oh wait… OK, well at least the salsa was not too spicy. Or sweet. Or salty. Actually, come to think of it, it had absolutely no flavor at all.

A: Jackie had dinner plans later that evening, and to be honest none of us were even really hungry, so she ordered a salad and my boyfriend and I split an entree of tacos dorados (taquitos). Why did we split an entree, you ask? Well, mostly because we really shouldn’t have been spending money that day, but also because on the menu it said “all entrees come with a side of rice and refried beans,” and that amount of food would’ve been perfect to satisfy us. While we waited for our food, we ordered the house margarita which was actually $6, and not the $4.99 that we had seen online. They were OK–a little too sweet for my taste, but I’m kind of picky about my margs.

J: I decided to have a little “cheat” and did indulge in the warm chips, but when it came to my entree I went for the salad. I figured, you can’t go wrong with a garden salad and house dressing. Boy oh boy was I wrong. When the food arrived what was laid in front of me was not a bowl of salad, it was a plate with spicy Thousand Island Dressing smothered over wilted romaine lettuce. Sure, there was the occasional black bean and tomato chunk, but it all was swimming in dressing. So much for being healthy–or satisfying.

A: I say “would’ve” because when the waitress–otherwise very nice and perfectly attentive–brought us our meals, there was no rice. There was no beans. There were four taquitos sitting atop a bed of iceberg lettuce.

(Me to the waitress, using my most friendly, trying-not-to-sound-bitchy voice): “So this comes with rice and refried beans right?”

paisano lefty problems1

(Her, almost smirking. “Fooled another one!” she was likely thinking to herself: )”No.”

J: This is where I would have demanded a menu to confirm what I knew to be true. But, this was Angela’s rodeo and who am I to interfere? Also, I assumed Angela was wrong so I wasn’t going to go down with her.

(Me, voice timid and fading, staring at my sister as I was made to feel ashamed for my gluttonous desires. I mean, I guess I didn’t need aaallll that food. This is the problem with Americans and their portion control issues. It starts right here): “Oh. Well, I’m pretty sure it was on the menu…”

“*Blink* *Blink*” The waitress silent, unwavering.

“*Looks Down* *Mumbles to self*” Me.

So, needless to say, we didn’t get the rice and beans with our meal. Luckily, I was already pretty full from all the chips we had eaten earlier, so I got over it (or not because I just devoted like 200 words to the ordeal) and took a nice chomp out of my taquito.

paisano yelp

While the outside was crunchy and delightful, the inside was dryer than the vagina of one of the dead women buried across the street. Frantic, I searched my plate for something–anything–to dip the taquito into to give it some moisture. There was nothing to be found… no salsa, no hot sauce, just a small tin of sour cream. And you know how much I hate sour cream. I mean, sure I enjoy dry chicken as much as the next person irrationally afraid of salmonella poisoning, but this was a bit much. But at that point I was too scared to ask the waitress for anything, so I wrestled the sandy poultry down my gullet and kept my mouth shut.

paisano salad
I guess you could argue that you shouldn’t order a salad in a mexican joint, but whatever.

J: While Angela was feeling humiliated by the waitress, I was being serenaded by a gaggle of screaming children. Or maybe it was just one screaming child. Hard to say, I was too focused on de-wetting my lettuce and trying to get something edible from my plate. I wished I could join in with the children and scream. Possibly run out the door in all the commotion to get out of paying. I know now that they were screaming because they were being force fed the food. They must have ordered the salad. 

A: As we exited Paisano, the place had become packed. People were arriving in droves to devour this “authentic” cuisine. We didn’t understand– were we being discriminated against because we were white? Did they have a separate menu for self-important, entitled caucasian women?

J: Maybe we went at a bad time? Who knows, the cook may have just quit and our waitress was promoted to head chef that very day. That might’ve been the reason she was so adamant about not giving Angela her sides. She just didn’t have time to cook the rice! 

A: We walked to Jackie’s car as the sky began to open up, fat raindrops falling down all around us. I let them wash over me in an effort to cleanse my soul of the terrible experience I had just endured at Paisano.

Paisano at a Glance

(5 = best, 1 = worst)

  • Prices: 3
  • Staff Friendliness: 2
  • Food Quality: 1
  • Drink Quality: 3
  • Overall Atmosphere: 2



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