Lolita Boston

Like the famed literary temptress of the same name , the Back Bay’s newest restaurant, Lolita,  has a lot to offer. . . and a lot to learn. Let’s start with the positives. The food is fantastic. The décor is fabulous, sexy, dark, with lots of red and black, candles and red roses everywhere. Located in the subterranean space once occupied by Papparazzi, a step down into Lolita is truly like going underground. It is a far cry from its former resident,  and seemingly the perfect place for a great date night.

Lolita Boston

After a very friendly welcome, we were seated in a long, narrow area, all by ourselves next to this rusty wrought iron fence. Our initial thoughts were that we were in love with this restaurant.

Lolita Boston

Lolita Boston

Before we got our menus or anything else, our server brought a complimentary grapefruit granita which she topped with a shot of tequila. Surrounded by dry ice, the granita was quite a spectacle. We each had a bite, but the bitter grapefruit combined with tequila just wasn’t for us.

grapefruit granita

Once we had our menus, we took awhile to decide on drinks. The list at Lolita is extensive; they have over 200 tequilas, plus Sangria, cocktails, wine, and beer. Always a lover of spicy drinks, I ordered the diablo margarita, a drink that combined lunazul reposado, luxardo triplum, serrano chile, blood orange, pineapple, and strawberry. Note that Lolita serves margaritas by the glass and by the pitcher, making it a fun option for groups.

Lolita drink menu

Topped with a lime and jalapenos and rimmed with sugar and pepper, the drink was tasty but not at all spicy as I had hoped. My favorite spicy drink is a Bone at Drink, and I was expecting this to have a little bit of heat at the very least.


Prior to our meal, we were also served complimentary chips and three salsas, including a salsa crema with a hint of chipotle. Give me chips and salsa, and I am a happy girl. Give me three different salsas, and I am in love.

The chips were fresh, hot, and salty, just the way I like them. We had multiple rounds of this salsa trio; the salsa verde and salsa crema were particularly delicious. I am a fan and will return to Lolita just for chips and to try another one of their creative cocktails.

Lolita chips and salsa

Along with the chips, we received a bottle of the house made habanero and mango hot sauce. We were warned that is was spicy and to use it sparingly. It was less spicy than medium, store-bought salsa. I am a fan of super spicy foods, but even my Ireland-raised husband (where they think ketchup is spicy), thought it was just fine. Good, but not spicy.

Lolita salsa and hot sauce

The menu at Lolita has a TON of great options. As we often do, we decided to order a few things and to keep a menu in case we needed more. When I was browsing Lolita’s online menu, I was drooling over their variety of guacamoles, including one with bacon and another with lobster.

Being a spice fiend, I went with the picante with hell’s chile oil and fresh hot green chilies. It was very nice guacamole, but again, not a bit spicy. Not even with the flavor of chilies. We enjoyed it, but commented that I could have easily made something kickier at home.


Our main courses were the ancho chile chicken tacos, which claimed to come with black beans and corn but didn’t, and marisco quesadillas with shrimp & scallops, onion-poblano chile rajas & fresh salsa. The chicken was incredibly tender and flavorful, and the quesadillas were stuffed with seafood, cooked to perfection. This chef is certainly on it; we loved the food and wanted more. My only criticism of the food is that if something claims to be spicy, please bring it on. Next time, I will order extra spicy with hopes for a little more of a kick.

Now for the negatives. As I mentioned earlier, the night started out perfectly. We had nice table, strong cocktails, and chips and salsa. Unfortunately, the ambiance went downhill from there. Not long after we sat down, the only diners in our section of many tables, the hostess seated another couple RIGHT NEXT TO US, at a perpendicular table so that when the man in the couple sat down, I could barely get out of my seat.

MAJOR no no in my book. There were about 12 empty tables, and suddenly, servers couldn’t get past because we were so tightly squished together.  It would have been one thing if it was a crowded Saturday night, but on an empty Sunday? Not okay. A few minutes later, another couple was seated on the other side of us, literally making it difficult for me to get out of my chair. Understandably, we all needed to be in one section, but even staggering us a table or two apart would have been the thing to do.

On top of that, the service was just frenetic. We had a main waitress, but overall had maybe seven people running around in our section of three tables. Our food came out like gunfire, and we had finished our meal and paid in under 50 minutes. Perfect for fast food, but we felt like it was way too overbearing, claustrophobic really. I wanted to tell everyone to just go away for a few minutes.

After all of the rushing around and the constant asking if we were done, we were just ready to go. As we waited for our check, we were brought a giant, blue ball of cotton candy. It couldn’t have been more out of place in the atmosphere of the restaurant. Olive oil dark chocolate truffles, yes. Cotton candy? Not so much. Plus, since we didn’t order it, I wondered if it was something that multiple tables touched before we did? Probably not, but it was just so weird that I couldn’t go near it. Cotton candy is a trend that needs to die this very second.

My conclusion at the end of this very long post? Lolita has it going on, food-wise. It is only two weeks old and has some things to work out, but we will definitely be giving it another chance. There are far too many things on the menu that we need to try.

Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar on Urbanspoon

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Tags: Boston, Food, Lolita, margarita, restaurant, salsa, tequila

  1. Megan’s avatar

    I had such a different experience! I agree with you on the lack of spice though… I thought it was because I had a cold, but maybe nothing was all that spicy. The grapefruit granita we had was sweet, and I LOVED the cotton candy (maybe a play on Lolita being a child?). Our service was slow — not in a bad way — just nicely paced, and the only thing that annoyed me is we kept feeling like the waitress wanted us to order more. We were seated at the table right at the top of the stairs… there aren’t really any tables close to it, so that was nice. My review will be up some time next week.

    I’ll definitely go get chips and guac with you any time!


  2. Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers’s avatar

    Sounds like a fascinating and unique place… Hopefully the pieces will all fall together better on your next visit!


  3. Daisy’s avatar

    Great review! I loved reading your take, positives and negatives. What is with the heat and spice claim to fame and not delivering?! ah well. that drink looks awesome but I, like you, would be totally craving a kick. I’m glad to hear you want to go back. I definitely need to try it out.


  4. Justin’s avatar

    Nice review, I’m always on the lookout for good mexican food and am now interested in giving this place a shot.


  5. Janel’s avatar

    The cucumber drink had a little kick, but nothing spicy enough – I agree. And though I didn’t eat there, I found it was so dark in some parts of the restaurant! Seriously I felt like an old lady walking to the bathroom not being able to see my way (or maybe the cocktails really are that strong???). Otherwise – loved it! Anywhere with chips, salsa and guac at the ready is good in my book.


  6. Judy’s avatar

    I am often disappointed in the level of spice/heat when dining out. Found a great hot curry at my favorite food truck and then the next time the heat was gone. The owner/chef said too many people complained about the heat. I guess we’re in the minority in our desire for true spicy.


  7. Michelle’s avatar

    I definitely agree with you on the heat level. I found the spicy guacamole and the hot sauce also lacking in heat. I thought that the cotton candy was charming though. :-)


  8. Emily’s avatar

    Great to read your review since I went the night before you. I agree 100% on the spice factor. We were a little bummed. But the chips, guac and entrees were great. Our service was slow – my only real complaint. It was a Saturday night but not crazy busy so not sure where I waitress went. Oh, also I felt like the drinks were weak but I guess that’s not a deal breaker. I’m looking forward to going back!


    1. traveleatlove’s avatar

      And our drinks were super strong! Hopefully all of the inconsistencies are just a sign of newness. It would be the perfect place for a blogger get together!


    2. ashleigh’s avatar

      “Cotton candy is a trend that needs to die this very second.” LOL!! Great review! I have never heard of Lolita before, and now I’d like to check it out for chips and drinks. Margaritas by the pitcher? Sign me up :)

      I do hate feeling rushed though! A date night dinner should last more than 50 minutes. I also hate, hate, hate being seated on top of other people especially in an empty restaurant.


    3. MelissaNibbles’s avatar

      Thanks for your honest review. That seating issue happens to me a lot in Boston for some reason. I don’t know if they do it to make it easier on the server or what, but it really bugs me. I like privacy when I go out, well as much as you can get when you go out to eat.
      I love the decor there. It looks seedy and dirty. haha!


    4. alicia’s avatar

      I absolutely love your reviews Meghan. They’re so frank and honest and they cover the good and the bad…I have come to trust your restaurant suggestions above all!

      Hopefully Lolita just needs to work out some kinks. It sounds like they have some great things going for them that hopefully just need a little finessing. I’d love to check it out next time I’m in town. Pitchers of marg’s sound amazing.


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