Where's the best Mexican food in North Austin?
I live in the 183/Peyton Gin area. I'm minutes away from Lamar. I feel like I must be missing out on some great Mexican food in this area. My hubby and I will happily eat anywhere. We'd love to find good, homemade tortillas. Hubby loves pastor and barbacoa. I love great (and hot) salsas. Any places we should try?
I've not found good barbacoa in Austin, the best, if inconsistent, so far is La Palapa on Dessau just off I-35. Ken's Tacos makes the best barbacoa taco but I've not been there in some time. It's strange but in South San Antonio you can hardly throw a stone without hitting some little hole in the wall restaurant with great barbacoa. My favorite is La Victoria on Division just east of I-35. It's to go only however.
There's the La Michoacana market at N. Lamar & Rundberg and Taqueria Arandas at Rundberg and I-35. If you like Tex-Mex, I think the Maudie's on N Lamar is fine. There's an El Regio takeout window on Ohlen next to the Mi Tienda convenience store (just west of 183) for great chicken.
There's another thread here with some recs a little closer to town:
The best mexican food in the entire city (IMHO) is at Fonda San Miguel--north enough? Just last weekend I went to Torchy's for the first time (they have a newish taco truck on W.6th next to Woodrow's), and thought their Barbacoa quite excellent (if pricey). A few years ago I also had some good Barbacoa at Taqueria Jefe's, on North Lamar across the street from Threadgill's. I gotta say, their verde salsa is a mind-tingling thing, con mucho sabor!
I disagree with the statement that Fonda San Miguel has the best Mexican food in town, though I realize there is a range of opinion on that issue. Here are links to several threads on the subject:
As for north Austin, xeresana, here's a link to part of a thread (on two places off Parkfield between Rutland and Runberg) that might be of interest to you:
I usually don't cover north Austin, but you can search this board for "housemade" and "tortillas" or "salsas" to see what's been recommended in the past. I'll note that many of the best handmade tortillas that I've found are sold out of taco trucks rather than at upscale dining establishments.
Someone mentioned that it's hard to find good barbacoa in Austin. I haven't found that to be the case. My (east- and southeast-side) recommendations are:
best barbacoa de cabeza: La Monita
best taco-trailer barbacoa: Taquería El Rico
best barbacoa, greasy San-Antonio-corner-takeout-shop-style: Tacos Flor
**Note: Don Luis, now defunct, used to do a good version of this style.**
best barbacoa with non-Tejano, slightly-sweet spicing: La Hacienda Meat Market
There's good al pastor—cooked the traditional way, on a spit—from a cart on north Lamar (just north of 183, just south of Saigon Market). However, my favorite version in town can be found at Al Pastor on East Riverside.
La Monita sells barbacoa de borrego. I believe Twill recently reported on the version available at La Michoacana. El Moreliana should carry it, too.
I'd suggest searching for "borrego" to get more ideas. This site is a treasure trove of great chow tips. The only potential design-flaw is that you have to sift through all this data [via the "search this page" link, above] to find what sounds delicious to you. ;-)
I hope we can look forward to reading your comparison of the various versions in town as you search for your favorite.