Garibaldi Mexican Bistro has earned a cult following at its original location at 3298 South Broadway with its unique menu of Mexico City-inspired dishes. And now owner Jesus Cruz has opened the door of his second Garibaldi, at 1043 Broadway, in the former home of Quijote's.
Cruz says he'll be operating in soft-opening mode for the next couple of weeks as he dials in the hours and finishes installing his bar and beer taps. So while you won't be able to get an alcoholic beverage with your tacos yet, come August 15, Garibaldi will have its grand opening and will begin pouring beer, Mexican wine, margaritas and other cocktails. Of note on the drinks roster will be a house beer made by The Brew on Broadway, a neighbor of the original taqueria in downtown Englewood.
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And while tacos are certainly a big part of the menu at both Garibaldi locations, there's far more to explore — much of which can't be found anywhere else in Denver. Not the least of such options are the quekas: forearm-sized quesadillas made on fresh corn tortillas and stuffed with your choice of three fillings. First, there's chicharrón prensada, slow-cooked pork that's shredded and doused in guajillo sauce; Cruz explains that in Mexico City, the meat is often pressed into blocks that can be sliced and fried, or the meat is served loose in the sauce (which is how Garibaldi does it). Then there's chicharrón in chile verde, which is the more familiar fried pork rind that has been softened in a spicy salsa. For vegetarians, there's a queka filled with nopales (prickly-pear cactus paddle) and cheese.
Nopales make several prominent appearances at Garibaldi, especially on the "Menu Azteca," which relies on many pre-Hispanic ingredients. The nopales rellenos are whole, stuffed cactus paddles coated in an egg-white batter and fried, while the nopales huaraches are similar to typical huaraches made on thick, oval corn tortillas, only with a whole nopal replacing the tortilla.
Garibaldi makes all of its tortillas, including the blue corn tortillas found in the tacos azules, Aztec enchiladas and papadzules — potato tacos with grilled onions, poblanos, queso Oaxaca and a choice of meat. Other hard-to-find specialties are Oaxacan-style tlayudas (almost like a Mexican pizza made on thin, oversized corn tortillas), pambazos (salsa-soaked bolillo rolls filled with potato and chorizo) and mixiotes (slow-cooked pork or chicken in a rich sauce). Street food like carne asada fries, tortas, tacos dorados and imposing hamburguesas are further proof of Mexico City roots.
While hours are still being set, Garibaldi is currently open for standard lunch and dinner times every day but Sunday, and Cruz says he'll soon be adding morning and weekend late-night hours. The restaurant has a front room with an order counter when you walk in the door, and a dining room with full service if you plan to sit down and eat. With the many clubs and bars in the neighborhood, Cruz says he hopes to offer a fun late-night menu from the the takeout side of the restaurant on Friday and Saturday nights.