It’s on the main drag (Rt. 30), but not all that easy to notice. Located in the spot that most recently housed the Great Valley Deli (Collegeville Deli II), BuenaVista Mexican is a small, nondescript restaurant in a small, nondescript strip mall (that also houses Strawberry Bakery) along a nondescript area of Frazer. It is, however, worth finding this place, for hearty, homemade Mexican fare that stands above the more common fast-casual Mexican chains of the area.
The space is somewhat dark (during the day), and is sparsely-decorated but clean and comfortable. Only a few tables were filled, but the folks there were talking to the waitress (table-service is provided, as well as actual plates and silverware) as if they were regulars. We got take-out, but this would be a perfectly fine place to enjoy a casual lunch or dinner, and probably a good place for kids.
The lunch menu (which we chose from) is dominated by Tex-Mex favorites fajitas, enchiladas, and burritos, all available with chicken, beef, pork carnita, or veggie option, and a variety of sauces including mole and chipotle. There are also quesadillas, tacos, and a few other traditional options like tacos, sopes and flautas. For more adventurous eaters, tripe tacos are often on special. Also, “Mexican Burgers”, a fusion that mixes the torta with everyone’s favorite American sandwich. The dinner menu is expanded, featuring all of the above as well as a variety of platter options featuring chicken (mole poblano), steak (carne asada), pork, and/or veggies (chile relleno).
Our first choice was the pork enchiladas with mole sauce. The sauce was the star here — a perfect balance of sweet and spicy, rich and robust without being too thick. I can’t really comment on the authenticity of said sauce, but I can say that I ate every last drop of it. The pork carnitas appeared to be chunks of pork shoulder – not pulled as expected – and perhaps a bit dry, but when paired with the wonderful sauce, this was not an issue. The platter was served with a side of refried beans and Mexican rice. The beans were smoky, with hints of char, which created a more rich and flavorful bite than the typical canned beans. The spiced rice was somewhat pedestrian, but served as a nice foil for that sauce.
A burrito with chicken (pollo) in chipotle sauce was less successful. Like the mole, the sauce was excellent. It was subtly creamy, and persistently but not overwhelmingly spicy, with hints of smoke and sweetness. Unfortunately, the burrito filling was 2/3 rice, which was dry and bland, and the chicken was somewhat sparse. There was certainly some nice flavor here, but the abundance of rice overwhelmed it to some extent.
All in all, BuenaVista is a nice find for a quick, healthy take-out meal or a casual lunch or night out. We’ll certainly be back!
Buena Vista Mexican American Cuisine
365 Lancaster Ave.,
Hours: Mon – Thurs, 11:30 a.m.– 8 p.m.; Fri, Sat, 11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.; closed Sun
Credit Cards: Yes