It's Tuesday at 8 p.m., and Rosy’s Taco Bar is almost packed. Couples and small groups huddle around elevated tables or seat perched at the bar, deep in conversation. With its dark, candlelit, intimate, and industrial ambiance, going to Rosy’s feels like a last minute date with an intriguing stranger. The exterior appears deceptively low–key, a plain grey building tucked at the corner of 22nd and Walnut. Meanwhile the interior is surprisingly long and spacious, boasting floor–to–ceiling windows, a fully stocked bar, and an impressive array of hot sauces displayed proudly at the entrance.
The latest installment from FCM Hospitality (owners of Concourse Dance Bar and Morgan’s Pier), Rosy’s Taco Bar opened this past September, and it feels like a cross between a neighborhood bar and a Mexican cantina.
Although happy hour, 4–6 p.m., was long over, my friend and I couldn’t help but order the house margarita and red wine sangria. The margarita came on the rocks, rim coated in a thick layer of chunky salt. One sip and we were in love. “You have to try this,” insisted my friend, shoving it across the table. Salty, sour, almost aggressively acidic with a delightfully strong kick of tequila—this margarita will make you question your allegiance to your favorite West Philly establishments. Meanwhile the sangria arrived deep scarlet, fruity, refreshing, with pops of citrus and notes of cinnamon. It took all my willpower not to slurp it down in one go.
We planned our trip to Rosy’s around one goal: tacos. Each day of the week Rosy’s offers a new daily special from $4 margaritas on Mondays to Quizzo Wednesday night to 50–cent beer on Thursdays. On Tuesdays the special is $1 tacos. However our waitress informed us that the taco special only applies to the pollo tinga (chicken), vegetales (veggie), and chorizo tacos. Further, the tacos come as a plate of 3 for $3, no mixing and matching. Slightly surprised and disappointed, we decided to go with the tacos vegetales, pollo tinga tacos and the fish tacos (even though they were not part of the deal at $13).
The tacos arrived open faced, a trio of pale corn tortillas piled high with toppings. The tacos vegetales will convince even the most die–hard carnivore. Richly textured with chunks of eggplant, corn, and beans, each bite is a hearty mouthful. A thick strip of melted cheese under the veggies holds the whole thing together. Delicate crispy fried onion curls garnish the top, giving the taco a final, satisfying crunch.
Next up, the pollo tinga tacos came smothered in shredded lettuce. Underneath the greenery, thin ribbons of chicken rubbed in chili powder tasted bland and dry in comparison to their stellar veggie counterparts. Perhaps a good layer of hot sauce could have salvaged the chicken tacos, but we were too hungry to take a breath.
The star of the show was the tacos pescados, or the fish tacos. Bright magenta strips of red cabbage covered juicy chunks of grilled cod, coated in a creamy sauce with luscious chunks of avocado.
For dessert, we ordered the churros. That was our best decision of the night. Piping hot, golden brown, with a crispy sugared exterior, the churros paired beautifully with the decadent dulche de leche and dark chocolate sauces.
I would go back to Rosy’s Taco Bar, if only for drinks and churros. Even with the special deals, Rosy’s is not cheap. The tacos were satisfying but somehow lackluster overall—the chicken tacos, in particular, failed to impress. However I’d be intrigued to try the “Boracho Brunch,” a weekend special that gives you 3 cocktails, 1 meal, and an order of churros for $30.
TL;DR: Best margs in Philly? You decide.
Location: 2220 Walnut St.
Hours: Mon–Thur: 4 p.m.–2 a.m.
Fri–Sun: 11 a.m.–2 a.m.
Here's the link for more information: https://www.restaurantji.com/pa/philadelphia/rosys-taco-bar-/