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Casa Villa in Stamford: Best Tacos I know

Jim Leff Jun 26, 2011 03:10 PM

Casa Villa, on a wonderful little pan-Latino stretch of West Main Street, and not far from the good-not-great taco truck, makes the best tacos I've had in America in the past five years. Their stuff would even be considered good down in Mexico. It's attributable to a wonderfully talented, caring grill man who takes considerable pride. I went through every meat, and each was exemplary. The tongue, fwiw, is fantastic starter tongue if you've never had it before. If I had to pick one favorite, it'd be the chicharron, but, really, all were fantastic.

I haven't worked through anything else on the menu yet, aside from some fantastic sweet potatoes in honey with cinnamon ("camotes en miel") that were a special which deserves to be watched for and pounced upon. See photo.

I hear the owners have a larger, shinier branch (this one's a barebones hole-in-wall), but both my intuition and reports indicate it's not as good.

I haven't finished my research on this block, but I will say that Guatemalan Panaderia Chapina 210 West main makes perfectly ordinary looking pan dulce that's unusual both for its Guatemalan touch and for overall excellence.

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Casa Villa Restaurant
182 W Main St, Stamford, CT 06902

 
 
  1. v
    vinouspleasure Jul 23, 2011 08:59 PM

    we ate there today and while the tacos were very good, I'd be hard pressed to call them the best I've had in the US. Are they making their own tortillas? Not sure, but I'd guess not. Forced to pick, I'd prefer a couple of taco joints in queens and super rica in santa barbara to casa villa. Of course, casa villa is a lot closer than either of those places...but then abuelos is closer still and I'm not sure it's worth the ride from where we live.

    1. adamclyde Jul 9, 2011 07:07 PM

      Glad I stumbled on this one while reminiscing over the old hood...

      Ahh, Casa Villa. I probably went there 50 times in my years in Stamford. Can't remember what it was called when I first went back in 2000, then they changed the name to Favi's then finally to Casa Villa in 2004-ish. For me it always bordered on very good to great, but was so wildly inconsistent that I just never knew which taco I'd get on a particular night. For a while they were overshadowed by a fantastic place just up the road (can't remember the name, but it is in the place that (I think) is now Omar's Peruvian next door to panaderia chapinas). But after that place closed Casa Villa got a bit better. At least by relative measures.

      I hope it's gotten more consistent. Seems it has. Their menu changes every year too it seems (though since they reopened after a car went through their front window, it seemed to stabilize). Seems I'll have to give it another go if I ever get back there.

      How long has the east side location been around? I don't remember it from before I left last year.

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      Casa Villa Restaurant
      182 W Main St, Stamford, CT 06902

      2 Replies
      1. re: adamclyde
        s
        stamfoodie Jul 11, 2011 12:56 PM

        Hey Adamclyde. We've missed you. You're probably wondering about the lack of traffic from your "old hood". Well since you moved, a host of once regulars like Jfood and Amanda to name a couple no longer post, probably as result of a redistricting of the old tri-state.

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/767579

        But to answer your question, the new Casa Villa has been around since March. Here's a review and pix

        http://www.ctbites.com/home/2011/4/10...

        1. re: stamfoodie
          j
          Johnct Jul 23, 2011 02:07 PM

          I think we all miss the old Tri-state board - very few posts these days for the area.

      2. s
        SteveSCT Jul 1, 2011 09:27 AM

        I had a repeat visit to the new (East Side) Casa Villa yesterday. I had lengua, cecina and chicken tacos, and all were excellent. I have always slightly preferred Los Gemelos in Port Chester over Casa Villa, but the gap is basically closed. An important advantage of the new location (in the former Myrna's space) is that gets spousal approval. My wife always (inaccurately) viewed the West Main location as sketchy, but she appreciated the decor, service, and parking at the new spot. I appreciated that the food quality was essentially identical to the original. So far it appears to be a valuable addition to their burgeoning enterprise.

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        Casa Villa Restaurant
        182 W Main St, Stamford, CT 06902

        1 Reply
        1. re: SteveSCT
          i
          Ima Foodie Jul 4, 2011 12:32 PM

          Tried the East side location for the first time and will definitely be back. Excellent tacos, margaritas with fresh juice (I detest mixes), nice atmosphere, great service.

        2. l
          LorenV Jun 27, 2011 09:07 AM

          Good-not-great taco truck? Surely you're not talking about El Charito? If so...

          3 Replies
          1. re: LorenV
            Jim Leff Jun 27, 2011 01:36 PM

            Everything's relative. I'm a long time fan of the El Charrito truck. In my lifetime Mexican food experience (which includes lots of eating around Mexico, as well as in Mexican nabes in cities like Chicago, El Paso, and Harlem), it's pretty good. For Connecticut, I'd previously have called it fantastic. But Casa Villa's tacos, right there in CT, would rate highly anywhere. The only local place that's come close is Tortilleria Los Gamelos (in Portchester) ten years ago (due for a check up, but they were off their peak the last couple visits).

            No idea if the Casa Villa chef is new (there's been some upheaval, I'd suppose, with their other branch opening). But he's absolutely ace. So.....if you want to put El Charrito in proper perspective, hit Casa Villa and order four or five tacos with all different meats (they don't mind). You'll see what I mean!

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            Casa Villa Restaurant
            182 W Main St, Stamford, CT 06902

            1. re: Jim Leff
              steve h. Jun 27, 2011 02:15 PM

              Howdy Jim,
              It's good to see you posting on the Outer Borough /Tristate Board.
              Casa Villa is now on my radar. I'll give it a shot next week.
              Thanks.

              1. re: Jim Leff
                l
                LorenV Jun 28, 2011 04:56 AM

                I've been to both Casa Villas and I agree they're superb (you should definitely give the new spot a shot). On par with El Charrito across the board I would say. Agree on Los Gemelos too, although I prefer Bar Taco for "lighter" and less eclectic choices (wife isn't big on tongue, brain, stomach, etc..).

                It's great seeing so many excellent places like these in the Stamford area. Wish a few of them would expand to Stratford (where I live)!

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                Casa Villa Restaurant
                182 W Main St, Stamford, CT 06902

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