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Taqueria Lopez in Durham?

Noticed on the "South" restaurant post that Greg Cox also wrote about Taqueria Lopez. Anybody have any recent feed back on this place?

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  1. Been there three times for lunch in the last month, twice for tacos, once for a quesadilla. Very good selection, fresh flavors, very inexpensive. What more does a lunch need? Torta next time. Trust Greg Cox's review on this one. Nice people too, and a pretty good condiments selection.

    1. I concur. I went to Lopez a couple of weeks back and I walked in the door, was greeted by the owner who shot the breeze with me for a couple of minutes about the finer points of Oaxacan cuisine. He suggested the special which was chicken in black mole. He said it was the best mole in town and I have to agree, I haven't had black mole since we left California and it was as good as any I have had. The condiment bar is excellent, with a huge pile of homemade chips and a variety of salsas. He also has a good drink bar which has unlimited refills. The horchata was very good, not too sweet, well blended. I am looking forward to trying the tamarind next time. Chowhounds definitely need to check it out, this guy is working hard and deserves to make it work. Oh, they also run the taco truck that sets up on Hillsboro in the evenings.

      1. The cabeza is probably the single finest taqueria meat I've ever had. As a perhaps unfortunate side-effect, I haven't been able to get myself to stray too far from it in the 3-4 times I've eaten there. I have tried the barbacoa & the pastor, and found them both lacking by comparison. I could eat the cabeza three times a week & be a happy happy man. I could probably eat it daily, actually, but it's fatty enough that I'd quickly be a dead man, I'm afraid.

        1. Where is this one? Sounds great.

          1 Reply
          1. re: suse

            Behind the AutoZone on Hillsborough Rd, just short of 15/501, and just around the corner from Bullocks. (Next door to the apparently now defunct Filipino restaurant, which I only ate at once, and I guess everybody else did as well.)

          2. Sweet! I now know where I'm having lunch today since it's so close to Duke. Thanks guys!

            1. Okay, so I went and had lunch there yesterday and overall came away quite happy. I had three tacos: pastor, cabeza, and something I hadn't heard of before, campechano. The pastor was a little dry, I:ve had better at several other tacquerias. First time trying cabeza so I can't compare but Ic an say it was flavorful and very rich-- I iimagine through the liberal addition of fat. My favorite was the campechano, which was a combination of chorizo and beef. Very tasty and moist without being too greasy. The tortilla felt and tasted as if they were made on the premises rather than premade store bought. The condiment bar is sparse but everything looked fresh (some condiment bars have had picadillo and cilantro that looked like they had been put out days ago). One thing I liked at the bar was a pan of tortialla chips which allowed you to make nachoes to snack on while your meal was prepared or as a side dish-- or both. Lastly, they had seven choices of agua frescas in self-serve fountains (free refills!). I tried the melon and horchata and liked both-- although I have yet to have horchata anywhere that is as good as it is at Miranda's.

              The owner is from Veracruz, which explained the relatively large selection of seafood dishes. I look forward to trying those for dinner sometime.

              1 Reply
              1. re: bbqme

                Oh man, good call on the campechano; I had some for lunch today (along with my can't-quit-it cabeza fix) and it was outstanding. Next week I guess I've got to branch out to the seafood.

              2. Hit it today for lunch. Very happy to have it so close to home. Obviously had the cabeza which was great. Had the buche (stomach) which was good but I've def had better. Also the barbacoa which was very tasty indeed. Liked the carmelized onion garnish and the green sauce reminded me of what I used to get in the SF Mission sort of creamy as if enriched with a touch of avocado. Nice garlic bite to it.

                Tamarindo agua fresca was delish as well.

                Bad news is, that shopping center is horrid and the pizza place that occupied it before him supposedly made a great pie but that wasn't enough to make him survive. I hope this guy fares better than the guys before him or his neighbors.

                1. This is my first post on Chowhound, despite having lurked around here for ages and taken many recommendations.

                  I went to Lopez last night and had the cabeza taco (excellent, as someone else pointed out), and the Seven Seafood Soup. Damn, was I not expecting what I got: a HUGE bowl piled high with all sorts of lovely creatures, from octopuses, mussels and shrimp to something huge and shrimp-like with long (10") 'arms' and pincers (anyone know what the heck that was? I'm rather curious), to crab and lobster. For those of you who like tactile food and don't mind having to decapitate and dismember your dinner before eating it, this is a wonderful treat.

                  Very highly recommended.

                  By the way, don't bother with the late-night van outlet in the gas station, the quality is nowhere near as good.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: termite

                    I've noticed langoustine on the whiteboard there, which would've been that crazy big prawn with pincers you had: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norway_l...

                    1. re: rossgrady

                      Wonder where they get langostines from?

                    2. re: termite

                      > By the way, don't bother with the late-night van outlet in the gas station, the quality is nowhere near as good.

                      Hmm ... had lunch at Lopez a number of times, and every time, the van has been parked out in front, empty, like it belongs there. Maybe they stock it with day-olds and leftovers?

                      1. Stopped by Taqueria Lopez today, mainly because I was bored. I like the tacos but didn't find them amazing. The free chips are nice, but I think I still prefer the overall quality of something like Super Taqueria. The jalapeno-onion salad-pickle-thing is rather addicitve.

                        I had a pork belly taco; it was fine but a bit dry and not meaty enough. Also had the beef/chorizo hybrid that was really good.

                        Refrescos were nice, but I like the ones at Xiloa more.

                        Tried the fish soup and I wasn't a big fan at all. For one, the broth just wasn't very tasty. Secondly it's just a medium-sized fish of unknown origin sitting in the not very good broth. The skin gets kind of slimy after sitting in the broth and the fish is too big to fit in the bowl so the head and and tail kind of stick out. Lots of bones made it hard to navigate in the context of all that broth. I wouldn't order it again. Might go back for the tacos, as it's just a couple minutes from my apartment.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: BryanZ

                          Try their camarones de mojo de ajo, which is shrimp with garlic mojo. That is a specialty dish of the Veracruz region and Isuspect them being for there they would do a good job with it.

                        2. just went to Taqueria Lopez for dinner. this is by far the best mexican/tex-mex restaurant in the triangle. all the food is made fresh daily (including the fantastic tortillas). the 7 seafood soup was amazing, and the tacos were really good, too. i was really surprised by the quality of the meat, as well. the owner was talking with us and mentioned that the food truck at the shell station on hillsborough is also owned by them. it's open late at night on the weekends.

                          1. Adding location link...

                            Taqueria Lopez
                            3438 Hillsborough Rd, Durham, NC 27705

                            1. I went up there with a friend this weekend. We are in search of the taquerias that Gourmet Magazine mentioned but we haven't been to yet. (BTW, does anyone know anything about the author of that article?)

                              They had some things that were prepared a lot differently than other places I've tried them. I'm guessing that they were prepared in the style of Veracruz, where the owners are from. Their chorizo was probably the best I've had in the states (or maybe ever), but they ran out before we could have more than one taco of it. I also really liked their chicharron in salsa rojo. It's something that I almost never order and usually don't like, so that was a pleasant surprise. Contrary to the opinion here, their cabeza de res (my regular favorite) was unremarkable and a bit dry, and their pozole was good but not great. They were out of the carnitas which the reviewer recommended. The reviewer didn't like their mole, and neither did I but my daughter thought it was passable. I probably won't make a trip back, but if I did I'd try the caldo siete mares mentioned above. It looked great, but it would have to be something special to be better than Fiesta Grill's.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Graig

                                Have you tried Los Comales? That's one of the tacquerias mentioned inteh Gourmet article and my fave of the bunch.

                                1. re: Graig

                                  Colman Andrews is a food writer with deep credentials. He was at Saveur for a long time and recently moved to Gourmet. That article put Durham on the foodie radar way beyond the local area. Regarding the taquerias, my favorite so far is Los Comales but I need to try them all.

                                2. Went there for lunch today and it was great. Three tacos: pastor, babacoa, and campechano. All moist and very tasty. Awesome fresh made tortillas. Good condiments. They have definitely spiffed the place up with table service and menus since the last time I was there. It looks like they are the first of the taquerias mentioned in the Gourmet article that is trying to cultivate customers beyond their hispanic base. The crowd today was about half anglo and half hispanic.

                                  1. I sought out Taqueria Lopez yesterday for an early dinner. I wasn't feeling adventurous so I had the chorizo quesadilla. The owner came by to explain about the tortilla buffet, for want of a better word. It's a good way to start the meal. The various salsas I tried were excellent. I tried the nopales with onions, and a thin red salsa. I think it was the latter that had the heat which I enjoyed.

                                    Pity about the quesadilla though. The tortillas were definitely homemade. Kind of spongy but light but I don't think chorizo should be as salty as it was. It was incredibly salty. I was going to ask the owner about this. If it weren't for the salt overload, the quesadilla would have been excellent. The salad garnish had some squirts of crema on it. Nice touch.

                                    The overall experience won't put me off returning. One quesadilla and a trip to the tortilla bar was plenty for me. Next time, I'm going for lengua. I may try an agua fresca even though they don't look homemade (I saw female staff pouring huge jugs of the drinks into the individual cooler machine thingies).

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Chow Penguin

                                      I ate there on Friday and really enjoyed myself. I had three tacos, one chorizo, one asada, and one barbacoa. The barbacoa was my favorite, then the chorizo,the asada was a bit dry. I opted for a Mexican Coke in a glass bottle. I had never had one, so I had to see what all the fuss about. I want more! I appreciated the condiment/salad bar. I must note it was spotless when I was there.