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Taco Taco

145 E. Hildebrand Ave., San Antonio, TX - (210) 822-9533
Posted By Michael Stern on 7/4/2010 9:32:00 AM
Across McCullough Avenue from the old Olmos Pharmacy (which has become a beer and wine bistro and live music venue), Taco Taco is a small cafe that serves outstanding tacos in a city with so many good ones that it is hard to stand out. As in all the good places, the tortillas are rolled out by hand and griddle cooked as breakfast and lunch are served. This means yours will be warm and fresh -- delicious to eat with no filling whatsoever.

But, oh, the barbacoa (weekends only)! It is the tenderest, most unctuous smoky beef imaginable, slowly roasted and loaded into the taco in great shredded clods that audibly ooze when bitten. No other ingredients are warranted in this taco, whereas a chicken taco revels in a layer of refritos and a sprinkle of cheese, and a potato and egg breakfast taco reaches heights when generously dolloped with the kitchen's marvelous salsa. Puffy tacos, a San Antonio passion, also are available -- the same ingredients but enveloped in a tortilla that has been fried just enough to swell and soften. And thumbs up to the specialty tacos, made on tortillas that are double-wide. The El Norteno contains sizzled chicken (or beef) with beans, slices of avocado, cheese, peppers and onions. The Fiesta is fajita-grilled chicken with chunky pico de gallo. Meals begin with excellent tortilla chips and that salsa, which I find completely impossible to stop eating until all chips are gone or the main course arrives.

Expect to wait for a table at meal time. The place is tiny and its goodness is no secret.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
El Norteno
Menudo (cup)
Barbacoa Taco
Picadillo Taco
Puffy Taco
Gordita
Fiesta Taco
Ice Tea
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Taco Taco's barbacoa sets a high standard for tenderness, juiciness, and huge beef flavor. Inside a freshly made flour tortilla with earthy character and a bit of crust from the griddle, it makes for a simple $2 dish that cannot be improved.
"Taco Taco's barbacoa sets a high standard for tenderness, juiciness, and huge beef flavor. Inside a freshly made flour tortilla with earthy character and a bit of crust from the griddle, it makes for a simple $2 dish that cannot be improved."
Michael Stern





The fiesta taco: grilled chicken with pico de gallo in an extra large tortilla.
"The fiesta taco: grilled chicken with pico de gallo in an extra large tortilla."
Michael Stern


Gordita, roughly translated as 'little fatty,' is a toasty cornmeal pocket stuffed with your choice of ingredients. Pictured here: chicken.
"Gordita, roughly translated as 'little fatty,' is a toasty cornmeal pocket stuffed with your choice of ingredients. Pictured here: chicken."
Michael Stern


Taco Taco closes at 2pm, which is about when this photo was taken. Earlier in the lunch hour, every seat was occupied and there was a line of people outside waiting for a table.
"Taco Taco closes at 2pm, which is about when this photo was taken. Earlier in the lunch hour, every seat was occupied and there was a line of people outside waiting for a table."
Michael Stern


The puffy taco, a San Antonio passion, can be greasy. Taco Taco's is all crunch and air.
"The puffy taco, a San Antonio passion, can be greasy. Taco Taco's is all crunch and air."
Michael Stern


Picadillo is spicy ground beef. Here it is pictured in a taco before getting garnished with salsa.
"Picadillo is spicy ground beef. Here it is pictured in a taco before getting garnished with salsa."
Michael Stern


Menudo, a soup of tripe and hominy, is said to cure hangovers. I don't know about that, but I do know that Taco Taco's version is delicious in a visceral sort of way. It is served with chopped raw onions and lemon wedges on the side, both of which help to balance its extreme beefiness.
"Menudo, a soup of tripe and hominy, is said to cure hangovers. I don't know about that, but I do know that Taco Taco's version is delicious in a visceral sort of way. It is served with chopped raw onions and lemon wedges on the side, both of which help to balance its extreme beefiness."
Michael Stern


As humble as an eatery can be, Taco Taco belongs at the topmost level of casual Tex-Mex restaurants in San Antonio. This picture is unusual because there is no line of people at the door, waiting to get in.
"As humble as an eatery can be, Taco Taco belongs at the topmost level of casual Tex-Mex restaurants in San Antonio. This picture is unusual because there is no line of people at the door, waiting to get in."
Michael Stern


To start the meal: a capacious tumbler of ice tea (unsweetened), chips and salsa.
"To start the meal: a capacious tumbler of ice tea (unsweetened), chips and salsa."
Michael Stern


Homemade? You bet. The food here is all from scratch. It is hypnotic to watch the tortillas rolled out with a dowel and griddle cooked behind the counter.
"Homemade? You bet. The food here is all from scratch. It is hypnotic to watch the tortillas rolled out with a dowel and griddle cooked behind the counter."
Michael Stern



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