Taqueria Orale: Amazing
I've tried searching for the best tacos/burritos/tortas in the region, and noticed its a very common question. As a native San Diegan, I NEED to find the answer to this. I've tried the usual hyped suspects: El Charrito, San Vicente, Taqueria Poblano. The best I've found is not mentioned anywhere. Orale Taqueria on Richmond Highway in Alexandria (Fairfax County). Some may know where Taco Jaliso is, Orale is right across the street, almost down to Fort Belvoir. Their barbacoa was amazing, and their carnitas were excellent. Not sure how it stays in business as there is ZERO signage anywhere, and it is hidden in a breezeway of a run down Food Lion center, completely invisible from the roads. Just to keep it brief (I just posted a complete review on DC Sewer after eating there again today), they have like 10 meats to choose from to put in your torta, burrito or taco. I eat here everytime I have business at Belvoir, and it makes the trip wonderful every time. People that love TECC need to try Orale. The barbacoa is SO flavorful and wonderful in a burrito or torta. I hold it in as high a regard as I do El Charrito's goat taco.
To update the orginal post, the restaurant has changed names as has the grocery store. The restaurant is now called El Buen Gusto and the grocery store is a Safeway. It is still tucked inside the breezeway of the shopping center but there is a sign.
The barbacoa taco was pretty tasty but the food was pretty bland. I guess that is why they provided four kinds of salsa - 2 green (spicy and not spicy), 1 red, and 1 fresco.
Photos of the tortas may bring me back - because they look pretty ridic-licous! But I'm going to stick to Taco Jalisco for my burritos.
Finally got the opportunity to check out these two places in deep south Alexandria: Taquerias Guadalajara and Orale.
As you go south, the first place from DC is Guadalajara. We took the suggestion of ordering the huaraches topped with birria. We were in heaven. The kind of food every Chowhound wishes was around the corner. There's a topping bar so you can add radishes, whole marinated jalapenos, onions, and a couple of sauces. The huaraches are messy, and I poured on the sauces and bit into the peppers. For a moment I felt transported to Texas, Mexico, anywhere very far from Washington, DC. The bionico desert had banana, mango, and apple. This was a simple, not too sweet dessert that got better the more you ate. Also, the menu here is interesting and contains some dishes involving chicken, shrimp, and steak in addition to soup, stews, sopes, quesadillas, and tacos.
Orale was a different matter. The barbacoa taco was finely shredded meat - of what kind I don't know because it was buried in a pasty red sauce. Served very hot and fresh, it was good, but not better. Also tried the buche (throat?) which was fairly tasteless, and the carne asada which was better than average.
There are 20-30 mexican (not salvadoran) places between the beltway and woodbridge on Rt. 1 S, certainly some gems among them. The low rents in woodbridge and lorton are very attractive to the Mexican immigrants. I like Tacos Guadalajara which is in a dumpy strip mall just before the Walmart (driving south). They make their huaraches to order; they form the masa and deep fry, most other places use premade tortillas. The birria is the best meat they have IMO, and they also have pastor, carnera, etc. A unique product on their menu is "el bionico," supposedly a popular dessert in Jalisco, it is mango and banana pieces soaked in a sweet cream.