Below the Bar-ra

A review of Upper Arlington’s newest taco restaurant.


Barra, a new Mexican restaurant, has opened on Northwest Boulevard. It replaced Yabo’s Tacos, which stood for a few years.

I was thrilled when a new Mexican restaurant opened where Yabo’s once stood. With its close proximity to UAHS, it could possibly be a hotspot for students to grab a bite to eat.

With the interior design alone, Barra looked promising to be a perfect spot for students to hang out and feast on tacos. The wooden tables, the wide glass cups and the music selection created a great atmosphere. There was plenty of space and an abundance of tables even on a busy Friday night.

The menu had plenty of options with 18 tacos, appetizers, burritos, salads and a few different sides. There were also vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.

I ordered a total of three tacos and a side of the Barra potatoes. The tacos dollars were expensive compared to other restaurants, ranging from $4.50 to $6.50 each.

The food took nearly 45 minutes to arrive, but my table was gifted with free chips, queso and salsa because of the wait. The queso, although small in size, was quite good and was served with thin lightly salted chips.

I was most excited about the fried shrimp taco with Barra slaw and lime aioli, but I was underwhelmed because of the lack of flavor from the slaw and aioli combination. The aioli did provide a cool, lime flavor, but it was not too much different than simply a squirt of lime. The slaw was merely shredded lettuce, and the shrimp were barely fried, as they included a very light crust that had lacked the crunch I was hoping for.

The carnitas, a fan favorite taco highlighted on the menu, was my favorite taco. It included shredded pork, avocado, corn and feta. The pork was slightly dry but nonetheless was quality meat for the taco. I’m always a fan of feta on a taco— the soft, crumbly cheese added a nice touch on top of the pork. I also liked the avocado which was underneath the pork on the bottom of the tortilla. Although this taco was my favorite, it was nothing mind-blowing, and for $5.50, the taco doesn’t give the bang for your buck.

The shredded chicken taco included jalapenos, sour cream and cilantro. The shredded chicken was conventional. The jalapenos and sour cream didn’t go great together. The sweet and spicy jalapeno was overshadowed by the sour cream’s creamy texture, creating an odd combination.

Finally, the Barra potatoes were recommended to me by the server. I found it odd to serve potatoes at a Mexican restaurant, but I was open-minded. The potatoes indeed were an odd side to my three tacos. The Barra dust, which was the seasoning on the potatoes, was a bitter-like flavor of which I was not a fan. Even with a dollop of sour cream on the side, I couldn’t get myself to finish the plate of potatoes.

All in all, I can’t say I’d go back to Barra if I were craving any sort of Mexican food. Barra could potentially be a place to hang out with your friends and enjoy chips. With the high number of high-quality Mexican restaurants in the area, Barra fails to add to the list.