Weddings, travels, and other weekend eats have gotten in the way of the ATL taco tour I started several weeks ago. I finally had the opportunity to revisit one of my favorite taco spots in the city, and El Taco was just as delicious as I remembered it to be. The restaurant is located right off of North Highland Avenue, and boasts a spacious patio, in addition to the dining and bar areas. With a larger group on a humid day, the patio option saved us a 20-minute wait.
We started with a round of salsa and guacamole, which came with an unlimited supply of tortilla chips. The tortilla chips were still warm out of the fryer, with a nice dusting of seasoned salt and a squeeze of lime. They were addicting. Having consumed more than my fair share of chips and guac, I played it safe with a two-taco dinner.
El Taco’s tacos (say that five times fast) are all served a la carte, and the menu offers 9 options, plus the bonus “chalkboard special.” Much to my excitement, the chalkboard special on this particular evening happened to be a pork belly taco – aka a no brainer.
I went with a pork belly and a smoked chicken taco, with a special request to substitute their delicious soft corn tortillas in place of flour.
The smoked chicken taco, which I’ve had before, was the perfect balance of savory and spicy. The creamy and rich flavor combination of the guacamole and “crema” cheese sauce matched perfectly to the heat of the fried jalapenos. Along with a kick, the fried jalapenos provided a nice and crunchy textural contrast. A touch of cilantro brought a hint of freshness to the smoky flavor of the chicken – overall, a solid choice.
The pork belly taco was equally as delicious, after I made one minor adjustment, that is. The pork belly itself was absolutely mouthwatering, as can be expected with any well-prepared piece of pork belly. It was drizzled with a smoky chipotle chile sauce. Together those flavors created the perfect bite – not too hot, not too mild. The only part I was not crazy about (that I did away with altogether after my second bite), was the smoked apple slaw that topped the taco off. The slaw was way too sweet, and completed masked the perfect flavor profile that the pork and chipotle sauce had going on. Sans slaw, this taco was my favorite.
All tacos aside, El Taco is just a fun place to dine with a group. The drinks are refreshing, the servers are friendly, and the hourly prize wheel spin gives everyone a little hope for the occasional freebie. Although I still have a few taco joints around town to check out before making a final decision, El Taco is the current frontrunner in the taco tour. Based on previous dining experiences, the fried chicken, steak, and veggie tacos are all worth ordering as well. Next on the list: Taqueria Del Sol, Tin Lizzy’s (another one of my favorites), Red Pepper Taqueria, suggestions welcome!