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Feb 13, 2009 06:32 AM

Iguanas Ranas Taqueria (Middletown, CT): tasty bargain!

I stopped in for a quick bite yesterday, in need of something quick and inexpensive, yet delicious, for lunch. Tacos are $2 each--I had one chorizo (yum!) and one carnitas. They're served simply with cilantro and onions--the woman making them asked if that was OK with me--and a side of salsa--more like some sort of hot sauce in a dish, not fresh salsa with tomatoes and onions. I really enjoyed my meal and was only sorry I hadn't gone sooner. I will definitely go again soon when I have more of an appetite and try one of the tortas. It reminded me a lot of a place we ate in San Francisco's Mission district--not at all fancy, but very authentic and delicious.

Oh, and as I was also craving something sweet, I stopped in at O'Rourke's to pick up an order of their toasted soda bread with a side of homemade jam. Quite the feast altogether for $6 and change.

Iguanas Ranas Taqueria
574 Main St, Middletown, CT 06457

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  1. Hey katty...I've been wanting to stop in too, as they're down the street from my office. Do they have a takeout menu, or do you just go in and order? Can you get other toppings or is onion and cilantro it?

    2 Replies
    1. re: BiscuitBoy

      I have one of their takeout menus in my folder--believe you could do either (walk in or call): 346-8630 or 8631.

      Per the menu (and I didn't notice this yesterday), "all tacos come with lettuce & tomato OR onion & cilantro). There are literally more than a dozen options for taco fillings including al pastor (pork, pineapple, onion) and picadillo with veggies. Please let me know what you try and think if you go. Next time a chorizo torta for me for sure. Then chilaquiles.

      1. re: BiscuitBoy

        P.S. Went back today for tortas--one chorizo (guess whose!) and one grilled chicken. They were immense, very tasty and quite filling. I really love their chorizo.

        As you might know from the review in the Hartford Advocate, the kitchen is in plain sight, so you can see your meals being made. As I watched the tortas being put together, I asked about the chorizo. The guy explained they marinate the pork in guajillo and make it on site. They also make their own bread for the tortas.

      2. I went two weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon, big let down. The carnitas tacos were ok, but the beans were bland, the rice needed salt, the salsas were average and the burrito I took to go was laying in a pool of grease and poorly wrapped which made it almost impossible to eat. I was hoping for more, but for now, a burrito from Moe's is a better, tastier option IMO.

        I went to Iguanas Ranas based on a review in the Advocate. I've lived in CT for over 20 years (originally from CA) and I'm still looking for a Mexican restaurant (or take out) where I can get a green chile carnitas burrito or a decent (pinto) bean and cheese burrito...the quest continues...

        1 Reply
        1. re: aac610

          I also lived in CA for a while so I know what you are talking about. You will not find an independetly owned taco drive through here. Try one of the Margaritas chains in either East Hartford or Mystic for your burrito craving. For more authentic, upscale Mexican, Milagro in Stonington Borough is very nice. Very small, but great food.

        2. I love this place -- favorite thing is that the menu is just a suggestion -- you can negotiate with the cook for whatever you'd like -- Hipo will cook up Equadorian food if you like.

          Strongly recommend the fish tacos.

          5 Replies
          1. re: politico

            So glad to hear I was not alone on this one. I've since discovered I love their barbacoa even more than their chorizo, which is saying something, as both are terrific!

            1. re: kattyeyes

              Lingua? I didn't see it mentioned. If so, I'm on the bus.... Ooh....and a fish taco!
              This sounds authentic, which might explain the simple beans. Ask whereof they came.....

              1. re: Scargod

                Believe so, guy. Here's the Hartford Advocate article for ya. All sorts of "parts" to eat in your taco if you prefer (not just tongue, but tripe).

                1. re: kattyeyes

                  Thanks, KI's! Just wondering where they came from, as that surely influences their food.
                  Tripe: Been there, done that; Pho and Mexican dishes. Just don't care for it. For those that don't like rubbery calamari: you really won't like tripe! I'd call it crunchy-rubbery and little taste. Certainly not something to eat by itself. Tongue, or "lingua", on the other hand, can be delicious or somewhat towards boring! I would compare tongue to chicken gizzards after you remove the outer tough part.

                  1. re: Scargod

                    Ok, so on the tripas... To be honest, I didn't think their tripe was rubbery or tough at all- my mom had some too while we were there and she HATES tripe due to my depression era grandpa serving all the time when she was a kid. However, even she agreed it was delicious, tons of flavor, and because it was chopped up in the taco it was great- not chewy at all. Granted I'm no tripe expert....

                    Fish tacos... BEST.THING.EVER. Hands down, my favorite thing on the I ate (and we tried pretty much all the tacos except the tongue)

                    I'll agree with the comments about the rice. Its not terrible, but in comparison to the rest of the delicious and authentic food it is a let down. And the other lacking thing... ambiance. But Hey for a $2 taco who's complaining??

          2. Gorditas. Fantastico. I could eat them every day. I don't know why the other Mexican restaurants don't serve them. If they did they'd have a hard time beating these.
            The Salsa Verde is great with the pepper ones. What a great discovery. I tiny Mom and Pop place, a bit of the real Mexico in Middletown, CT

            1. This is the most authentic Mexican cooking I have come across in a restaurant in this immediate area and in CT so far. Yes, it's small and basic, yes it only has 5 tables and a somewhat limited menu, but the place is clean, the folks that run it are nice and friendly and the food is great!

              The food is home-made down to the black beans (that's right folks, tasty black beans, not red pinto beans) and corn flour wrap. Seasoned just right, not too much heat, just a spicy, tasty flare. The do serve beer and wine as well.
              Very enjoyable food.