Taqueria Playa Tropical: Gluten Free Mexican in the Heart of New West


Mexican food is one of the few things I enjoy that doesn’t have to be heavily modified to be gluten free. Corn tortillas, fresh salsa, roasted meat, refried beans, and heaps of cheese are all spectacularly delicious, and naturally gluten free. Lucky for me (and the rest of New West’s gluten free population), some of the best Mexican food New West has to offer is served up right on Sixth Street, at Taqueria Playa Tropical. You can sip on a margarita, nibble the complimentary tortilla chips, and enjoy fresh, authentic Mexican cuisine.

Gluten Free Options at Taqueria Playa Tropical:

The tacos: I love tacos! They’re basically the perfect food. Everything delicious all wrapped up into a Mexican masterpiece you can hold in your hand. Taqueria Playa Tropical uses corn tortillas when making their tacos, so they’re gluten free. The tacos are $2.50 each, and they offer a wide variety of flavours. If you’re not sure about an ingredient, it’s a good idea to check with the server. If you’re hungry, top off your meal with traditional rice and refried beans.

The enchiladas: Your choice of chicken, shrimp, or vegetarian fillings are wrapped in corn tortillas and drenched with salsa, melted cheese, and sour cream. Flanked by rice and refried beans, the enchilada platter is sure to satisfy the hungriest of gluten free food lovers.

The fajitas: Filled with chicken, steak, or shrimp, served up sizzling, and accompanied by corn tortillas, the fajitas are a gluten free mainstay at Taqueria Playa Tropical.

The pollo asado: If you’re in the mood for a fresh chicken dish, the pollo asado is right up your alley. Grilled chicken, pico de gallo, guacamole, and refried beans are served with three corn tortillas.

The carne asada: Got a carnivorous craving? Why not try the 8 oz sirloin steak, surrounded by piles of rice and beans. It’s all gluten free, so dig in!

The nachos: I’m a self-described “nacho monster,” and the nachos at Taqueria Playa Tropical are some of the most unique I’ve ever encountered. Handfuls of cheese, guacamole, and refried beans make it rich, but the fresh lettuce and tomatoes combine with the crunch of the chips to make it feel like a light, refreshing meal.

The chips and salsa: Each table is served a complimentary basket of chips, accompanied by two different kinds of salsa. The red salsa is fresh and sweet, and the green salsa packs a punch!

What to Watch Out For:

The burritos: The burritos are made with flour tortillas, so they’re not gluten free. The monster burrito is approximately the size of a small baby, so it’s probably a good thing that I can’t order it.

The quesadillas: Taqueria Playa Tropical offers a variety of different quesadillas, but they’re made with flour tortillas.

The tortas: Tortas are toasted buns served with your choice of filling. Unfortunately, the buns are not gluten free.

The crispy corn tortillas: I’ve been unable to confirm whether the crispy corn tortillas used in the tostadas are gluten free, so proceed with caution.

The Service:

Let me start by saying that I love Taqueria Playa Tropical. I do. The servers are perfectly friendly and polite, and are obviously trying their best, but they often seem overwhelmed. It’s a pretty big restaurant, and it feels like there are just not enough servers to keep up. Sometimes the food comes before the drinks, sometimes one person at the table eats while another waits, and sometimes it takes a very long time for the bill to come. That being said, the food is good, and the service is always friendly. I’ll definitely be back for more!

The Restaurant:

The restaurant itself is a funky, casual space. TVs on the wall show sports and Spanish-language shows. On weekend evenings, there’s live music. Since it’s often filled to capacity on weekends, they don’t take reservations during this time. If there’s a line when you arrive, just write your name on the seating list by the door, and you’ll be called when your table is ready. Taqueria Playa Tropical is located in the vibrant Uptown neighbourhood in New West. There’s street parking available, but if you prefer to take transit, the 106 bus runs right up Sixth.

The Verdict:

Taqueria Playa Tropical is a great place to get fresh, authentic gluten free Mexican food. I recommend planning for a bit of a delay in the service, just in case. The worst that can happen is that your food arrives earlier than you expected!

Happy taco devouring!


If this is your business and your gluten free options have changed, please let me know! My goal is to provide the most up to date information on New Westminster’s gluten free choices.


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