El Taquito Goes Upscale

Nov 2, 2009

el-taquito-mexicano-newOkay, so a taqueria in a parking lot on the unglamorous corner of Villa and Lake isn’t actually elegant, but if you used to go to El Taquito Mexicano’s original home (as I did frequently), you’ll be impressed with the gentrification. The old place on Fair Oaks — across the street from La Estrella’s outdoor taqueria— was a cheerful little yellow building on the outside, but the interior gave new meaning to the word “dingy.” It recently closed, and the operation consolidated at this newer offshoot, which is triple the size, with comfortable booths, plenty of parking, and even a fetching little palapa table outside.

As for the food, it remains my favorite taqueria-style cooking in town. The sopes are fat and tender. The chicken used in the tacos, sopes and burritos is unspeakably succulent. The carne asada is neither fatty nor dry. The weekend menudo brings in a lot of hungry, just-possibly hung over working men. Only the carnitas, which is the drier style, has let me down.

Also note that for night owls, there is but one taco truck in central Pasadena: the El Taquito Mexicano one in the Nishikawa parking lot at 510 S. Fair Oaks. It’s open most nights until 1 or 2 a.m. (1 a.m. in sleepy Pasadena is like 5 a.m. in other cities), and it always has a crowd. It’s not quite at the level of the best in Highland Park and East L.A., but it’s damn fine anyway.

El Taquito Mexicano, 490 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena, 626.356.9411, B, L & D daily. No booze. MC, V. $

4 Responses for “El Taquito Goes Upscale”

  1. Jenny says:

    This “new” location on Lake and Villa has probably been open for about a year. They tried to name themselves “Hugo’s Tacos” originally, but I think they ran into a problem with the REAL Hugo’s Tacos. The food has not changed since they opened, so I think it’s always been El Taquito Mexicano. Before they opened the building, they existed in the parking lot as a taco truck for about another 6 months previous.

  2. Colleen Dunn Bates says:

    Right, I guess our point was more that the original little yellow place (which I loved) has closed, and it’s focused on the newer one.

  3. Deborah Thomas says:

    This may be slightly off-topic, but have you ever eaten at Mariscos La Buena Vida at 1308 Lake (just below Washington)? The place is a total dive, but the ceviche is wonderful and although I am not an authority on fish tacos, I really like theirs a lot. Everything I have tasted has been light and delicious. The last time I was there I saw an iced platter of oysters on the half-shell go by with a “cubeta” of Cervesas that made me wish I was there with a group of friends. . . .

  4. Colleen Dunn Bates says:

    A tip like that is NEVER off topic! No, I’ve never tried it, and hadn’t even noticed, even though I drive that stretch all the time. Will check it out. Thanks for the tip!



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