Great Lunch Plates: Nachos and Chicken Caesar Salad at the Tavern Downtown

I know, some of you may be shocked. The Tavern Downtown?! And yes, I normally I consider the entire stretch of bars/clubs around 20th & Market to be “frat row central” — as I like to put it. However, the Tavern has a really nice, quiet, open rooftop patio if you decide to venture there for lunch (and the misters are great during the summer). It’s hardly the packed, thumping, V-neck T-shirt and mini-dress filled place it can be at night — as you can see on the right below.

These two photos courtesy of the Tavern Downtown website

The Tavern is also both the University of Miami bar and the San Francisco 49ers bar — so it’s pretty much my 2nd home during football season.

And Monday through Friday, 3pm – 7pm, you get buy-1-get-1-free house wine, well drinks, and all draft beer.

What may surprise you, is that the food here is actually quite good. It’s always great for a burger and a beer (I personally love that they have Alaskan Amber in bottles), but I also have 2 favorite plates here that I think are pretty unique:

1) The Tavern Nachos

Guys, they’re pre-portioned! And melted! Every little nacho has the perfect amount of chicken, refried beans, melted pepper jack cheese, and a jalapeño on top. You can also get this with ground beef instead of chicken, but I really like the chicken. You can also get them vegetarian, but then what’s the point? (The guacamole you need to order separately, but it’s worth it.)

Who else do you know that does this? No really, cause if you know, tell me. Normally you eat the few nachos on top that have all the good stuff on them, and then you’re digging for the last tiny bit of meat with the 100 nachos you have left over.

Best. Nachos. Ever.

2) The Chicken Caesar Salad

So I don’t know if the photo does it justice. Hell, I don’t even know if that’s home-made Caesar dressing or something out of a bottle (I’m betting the latter). But I have to be honest, this is my favorite Caesar salad in town — and has been for awhile. They take an entire head of romaine, split it in half, and grill it. And they give you a very generous amount of shaved Parmesan and Caesar dressing (you don’t have to use it all if you don’t want). And then one of my favorite parts: you can choose between chicken breast and chicken thigh. And if you’re any kind of foodie or home chef worth your salt, you know the chicken thigh is where all the juiciness and flavor is at! I can’t believe more places don’t do this.

And yes, I don’t know where the hell the croutons are at… normally they have them on there. I should have said something, but I was too excited for the rest of it. Surprise.