As someone who rarely eats downtown, I was pleasantly surprised by my experience at Garage Taco Bar.

When my photographer and I walked into the restaurant, we quickly realized what gives Garage Taco Bar its name. The eating area is split into a half-indoor, half-outdoor setting. Inside, tire rims line the ceiling, with the walls filled with faded brick. Outdoors, there are large green tables, with umbrellas to shield the sun’s rays. With the weather being as warm as it was, it was tough to decide where to take our seats — but it was clear that the restaurant’s decor gave it a calm, laid-back vibe that immediately makes one feel at home.

For my first course, I decided to try the street corn bowl, while Megan, the photographer, opted for the chips and pico. I’ve never been a huge fan of corn, so you can imagine my surprise when the bowl ended up being my favorite item on the menu. The combination of butter, queso and seasoning formed a creamy texture that tasted like a whole new food altogether. While the chips and pico were also a solid choice, they paled in comparison to the flavor provided by other items on the menu.

Next, I tried the vegan chorizo taco, with Megan selecting the chicken taco. Both were served in pairs of two, but the portions were so filling that both Megan and I were only able to finish one. Before diving into the taste, I do have to comment on the presentation. All courses were served together on a tray, and the colorful combination of salsa verde, lime crema and the rest of the ingredients on each taco really stood out.

I found the vegan chorizo to be delicious. The hint of lime along with the poblano and other vegetables built an explosion of flavor in each bite. Megan had the same experience with her chicken taco, particularly noting the glistening sauce, which meant there was never a dry bite. Not only were both tacos well-sized, but they were also both filled to the brim. It was clear that we were at a restaurant deserving of the word “taco” in its name.

For our third course, both Megan and I selected the sopapilla, or fried tortillas sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and honey. This was a perfect end to our meal — or at least, it would have been, if we could wait that long to try it. Each piece of tortilla had the perfect hint of sweetness — not enough to be overwhelming, but more than enough for us to find them difficult to put down. Each bite was better than the one before.

In addition to the decor was a rather calming air brought by the soft rock playing in the background. Even the group of patrons itself brought an inviting air, as the restaurant was not too full, yet a constant murmur could be heard in the background.

Lastly, but certainly not least important, was the service. Our server was quick to seat us, checked in with us regularly and never served us without a smile on her face.

By the end of our lunch, we were so full that we packed nearly half our meal. Even then, we knew that eating at home would not provide the same experience we found at Garage Taco Bar. I would recommend the restaurant to anyone — and can’t wait to come back myself.