Those seeking all the bells and whistles—vibrant wall paint, elaborate tapestries, technicolor margaritas, mariachi bands—will probably head elsewhere. But we tend to be driven by cravings for food, for crispy browned bits of succulent beef cheeks sprinkled with cilantro and lime, for juicy tender chicken poking out from beneath a corn tortilla smothered in sour cream. And that’s why you’re more likely to find us here.
Indeed, at this quintessential hole-in-the-wall, fluorescent light assertively bounces off white walls adorned with little more than a single sombrero and a couple of Mayan calendars. But nobody’s paying attention to the decor; the real focus is on snagging one of the few tables. It’s a feat worth waiting in a very long line for—but even in its busiest moments, El Amigo offers a close-knit, no-stress vibe.
Skeptics’ fears will soon be tamed once a friendly server plops down some salsa, a multicolored mix that thankfully looks nothing like red tomato sauce and instead yields fresh zing and serious spice. And at $2.50, ordering a stone pot of El Amigo’s chunky guacamole is a no-brainer.
Peeking at adjacent tables, you might be tempted to forego the sprawling menu’s endless array of options in favor of a plate of Tacos Especiales—and with the simple presentation, eye-catching piles of meat, and fresh chewy tortillas that never break with a giant bite, you wouldn’t be disappointed.
But bear in mind that El Amigo could be the place to fall in love with a new Mexican dish: thin strips of browned, salty Carne Asada you can fold into one of said tortillas, or Chicken Enchiladas graced with a layer of green sauce beneath crunchy salad toppings. Rice and refried beans served alongside both are just simple and salty enough to act as a palate cleanser, scarfed between savory bites of meat dishes that shock you with their endless depth of flavor. That’s what it’s all about, right?
No booze here, but it’s the perfect food to wash down with a cerveza at home.
Don’t overlook the non-alcoholic libations, though; they’re just as authentic as the food—jugos naturales, aguas frescas, and licuados galore!
The secret to the Tacos al Pastor? Pork mixed with chili, a bit of orange juice, and bay leaves.
Channeling your middle school Spanish, you might wonder whose “cabeza” will be in your taco. It’s beef (just the cheeks).
Tastes of Taqueria El Amigo
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