25 more from south of the border
An appetite sharpened by Tacos and Tequila needs more than one outlet. Here's a sampler of more places with similar flavors.
An appetite sharpened by tacos and tequila needs more than one outlet. Here's a sampler of more places with similar flavors. (The ratings shown in parentheses are awarded after full reviews with a wide sampling of dishes. Limited visits and single-dish reviews don't carry ratings.)
Alayna's Taqueria. Fat chicken-fajita tacos from a window next door to a laundromat. 2611 Manor Road, 524-0860.
Cabo Bob's. Mexican-spiced beef, pork, chicken, fish and veggie burritos and wraps along the lines of Freebirds, but not quite there yet. Pure sugar Dublin Dr Pepper on tap. 500 E. Ben White Blvd. 432-1111, www.cabobobs.com.
Casa Colombia. A homey, inexpensive place serving good arroz con pollo, corn cakes called arepas, empanadas, grilled steak with fried plantains and other Latin American dishes. 1614 E. Seventh St. 495-9425, www.casa-colombia.com. (Reviewed August 2009: 7.4 out of 10)
Chi'Lantro. This is an idea that sounds good on paper: Mexican food with a Korean streak, a kimchee-and-cilantro mix-tape. In reality, it comes off more like everyday tacos and wraps with a little sesame and ginger. The window service is friendly, the food is made fresh on a grill right there in the trailer and the price is right for a quick fill-up. Locations vary. Check daily at twitter.com/ChilantroBBQ.
Corazón at Castle Hill. The rebirth of Castle Hill Cafe, with more emphasis on south-of-the-border spicing. The Mexican grilled chicken salad stands out, with corn-and-black bean relish and guacamole. 1101 W. Fifth St. 476-0728, www.corazonatcastlehill.com. (Reviewed January 2009: 6.8 out of 10)
Cuatro's. Watermelon aguas frescas and seared ahi tuna tacos at a sports bar? Yes. But that doesn't change the sports-bar vibe, which is great on a Longhorns game day or when the European soccer games are on the big-screen. Bring your dog. 1004 W. 24th St. 243-6361, www.cuatrosaustin.com.
El Chilito. Simple tacos, done well for the right price. Favorites include savory cochinita pibil with pickled onions and tortilla-crusted fish with slaw and jalapeño aïoli. Good coffees and aguas frescas. 2219 Manor Road. 382-3797, www.elchilito.com. Also at 918 Congress Ave. 291-3120.
El Sol y La Luna. The Mexican place with the sprawling menu ranging from breakfast (world-class chilaquiles) to ceviche to caldo to tacos al pastor successfully reopened next door to Emo's in 2009 after being squeezed out of its original home on South Congress Avenue. 600 E. Sixth St. 444-7770, www.elsolylalunaaustin.com.
El Tacorrido. A perfect corrugated metal cube planted in a strip-mall parking lot. A sticky plastic jug 'chile chutney' dresses up carne guisada tacos with potatoes and bell peppers. Pickled pink onions made the shredded pork carnitas taco special. 9320 N. Lamar Blvd. 873-8602. Also at 811 Berkman Drive. 628-1034.
Garrido's. It's hard to pick a favorite taco at David Garrido's tony little taqueria at the 360 Condominiums tower. The little tortillas are fresh and soft, and they play equally well with fried oysters and mahi mahi with bacon. But the rib-eye taco is a true cut of steak, marbled with fat, full of salt, smoke and the psychosomatic hint of the coffee in its marinade. 360 Nueces St. 320-8226, www.garridosaustin.com. (Reviewed August 2009: 7.0 out of 10)
Habana SoCo. On Saturdays and Sundays, this is the place to be for a Cuban-style brunch with pork chops, fried plantains, tropical fruit and custom-brewed beer. 2728 S. Congress Ave. 443-4253, www.habana.com. (Reviewed February 2009: 7.8 out of 10)
Hecho en Mexico. Oaxacan-style mole dishes such as Mancha Manteles with pork and a deep red sauce rich with the harvest perfume of cinnamon, sweet potato, pineapple and plantains. 6001 W. William Cannon Drive, No. 301. 301-0058, www.hechoenmexico-restaurant.com. (Reviewed July 2009: 6.1 out of 10)
Izzoz Tacos. One-time steakhouse chef John Galindo runs one of the best taco trailers in the city. But as good as his tacos with fried avocado or braised pork and pineapple are, the Lone Star beef torta is even better. Galindo stuffs a flaky roll with pull-apart meat simmered in Lone Star beer, then tops it with bright cilantro-lime aïoli and a slaw of pickled cabbage and red onion. Then he brings it on home with a fistful of hand-cut fries suffused with salt and garlic. 1207 S. First St. 326-4996, www.izzoztacos.com.
Joe's Bakery & Coffee Shop. More than 70 years of breakfast tacos, good coffee, better pastries and Tex-Mex standards in a family-style diner. 2305 E. Seventh St. 472-0017, www.joesbakery. com.
Porfirio's Tacos. A temple of salsa verde worship and a blue-collar favorite for simple meat, egg and bean tacos at low prices. 1512-B Holly St. 476- 5030.
Rosie's Tamale House. This family-owned spot used to be in the boonies. Now it's just west of the Hill Country Galleria. The area has changed, but Rosie's hasn't. My favorite Velveeta-style Tex-Mex, fajitas and taco salads with stewed chicken. The regulars know to bring their own beer. 13436 W. Texas 71. 263-5245.
Rosita's Al Pastor. Trust your instincts and the name on the trailer. Day or night, some of the best al pastor tacos in town: pork that's aromatic, cheap, crunchy and tender at the same time. 1911 E. Riverside Drive.
The Screaming Goat. The building that once housed Austin's most romantic restaurant now hosts an awfully tasteful taco shack. I developed a crush on the Goat's crispy fried ground beef flautas drowned ('ahogadas') in a thin red sauce alive with tomato, salt and spice. Part crispy taco, part messy cheese enchilada, part fortifying tortilla soup, all in one bowl. Garlicky green sauce is an option, but the red says everything you need to know about the Goat. Screams it, in fact. 900 W. 10th St. 477-4628, www.thescreaminggoat.com. (Reviewed April 2009: 7.1 out of 10)
Taqueria Chapala. Fried barbacoa tacos here are like three of those Jack in the Box tacos, which I like, only filled with shredded, slightly gamey beef. Such is barbacoa. I wanted three more after that. Each taco is wrapped in two corn tortillas then deep-fried, 'dorados' style. Served with sweet grilled onions, chopped onions and cilantro and a sinus-clearing grilled jalapeño pepper. 2101 E. Cesar Chavez St. 320-0308.
Taqueria Valle de Bravo. The free tortilla chips come with beans, not just a bowl of salsa. Go right for the quesadillas fritas, an order of five fried tacos filled with chicken, tomatoes, onions, cabbage and sour cream, dusted with tangy white cheese. 7110-C Cameron Ro ad, 323-9578.
Taquerias Arandas No. 5. Say it with me: 'Plato combinado con fajita y al pastor.' I've ordered it in the morning, at noon and into the groggy late night, and it's always the same: smoking hot ribbons of thin beef and charry orange cubes of pork with avocado salad, rice and refried beans. 2448 S. First St. 2448 S. Firs t St. 707-0887.
Verde's Mexican Parrilla. Insanely popular bar and grill with friendly service and a backyard lawn like a football field for the kids. From the menu: a chipotle-grilled pork chop, a deep-fried chile relleno with chicken and a housemade appetizer sampler with stuffed jalapeños, fish tacos, fajita nachos, quesadillas and guacamole. 16018 Hamilton Pool Road. 263-0500, www.verdesmexican.com. (Reviewed April 2009: 8.0 out of 10)