Casa Azul stands two stories tall on the corner of Genesee and Oak Streets in downtown Buffalo.

Chefs Victor Para and Zina Lapi are taking Mexican food to a whole new level.

"A duel concept of having a taqueria quick service system downstairs and then upstairs, we had full dining and full bar available both lunch and dinner," Zina explained.

It is quick and it is quality. Victor and Zina said they created this concept with the nearby businesses in mind for lunch and the popular downtown nightlife for dinner and late night dining.

"We do a hybrid of authentic Mexican with a little refined twist," Zina said. "Me and Victor are both classically trained chefs. We come from different backgrounds so this is a fusion of both of our styles but then with an authentic Mexican backbone."

Victor is originally from Mexico with experience in fine dining. Zina most recently ran a food truck. What they have created in Casa Azul is a balance of both.

They have small plates with items like enchiladas and tamales but it is their individual taco menu that they are especially eager to tell you about.

"We have our standards like pastor which is pork, chicken, Carne Asada which is beef," Zina listed.
But then we also use lengua, the tongue. We do a braised goat taco. We have sweet bread, which is the thymus gland of the baby cow...which you don't see anywhere in Buffalo right now and that's been one of our best selling tacos."

They do drinks, too. They have non-alcoholic options, all made in house, like this watermelon agua fresca.

You can also belly up to the bar for a craft cocktail like a Mezcal pineapple horchata.

"If you went out, you might not see an appetizer of tongue and be like 'that's what I want to try', but it's a three dollar taco, you're like 'let me give it a shot' and you end up loving it and there you go," Zina said. "You succeeded."

Whether it is a fast lunch or a leisurely dinner, you can explore your appetite's adventurous side at Casa Azul.

The restaurant is open from 11:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. with extended hours on the weekend.