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Jul 26, 2011 10:53 PM

Tacos! Tacos! & More Tacos!

In light of Le Taqueria opening their second location recently, I realize there are a lot of places offering Tacos in the Downtown area. So in the past 10 days I went on a taco run to see how the tacos stacked up.

Location 1: Salsa & Agave (no pics) All tacos came with white onions and Cilantro.
I had the Carne Asada (grilled beef), Lengua (beef tongue), Pollo (chicken) & Carnitas (Soft Pork)
-I liked the leugua & carnitas

Location 2: Le Taqueria on Hastings (Visit #1)
I had the De Lengua (beef tongue), Pollo Con Mole (chicken), Pescado (grilled white fish) & Carnitas (Soft Pork)
- I made a mistake and loaded each taco up with free pickled vegies, well as you can guess everything tasted like pickles. However, out of this batch I only liked the beef tongue which was about the same as Salsa & Agave.

I figured I picked the wrong fillings so I went back for a 2nd visit and had:
Asada (grilled beef), De Cachette (beef cheeks), Al Pastor (Pork) & the Special which was Lamb
I laid off the condiments and I enjoyed all 4. The Asada is better here than Salsa & Agave, you can taste that the beef was grilled.

Location 3: Cartel Taco - All tacos came with white onions and Cilantro.
Got both the pork & rib eye and I was not a big fan of the Korean Tacos. Like the pork more than the beef which I thought was overcooked. I thought I would love it but not sure if it was the execution or the flavour combination that i did not enjoy.

I have Ursu and Tacofino on my radar but I need a break from Tacos. Is there any where else that serves Tacos in the Downtown area? I have been to Chronic Tacos on broadway as well.

I think I maybe a traditional taco kinda of personal and not into the "Taco Bell/Time" type taco or Fusion Taco.

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  1. For taco places off the top of my head: Don Guacamole's and Calli -- both in the West End, so not exactly downtown, but hopefully close enough. Also, Los Tacos in Gastown (I've never been and am not sure if they've opened yet). Enjoy!

    Don Guacamole Restaurant
    1333 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6E, CA

    1. You could also try Lolitas on Davie. I was there a while ago and it was quite tasty.

      1. Sadly for picky me, I haven't found any places that do tacos that really make me happy yet (still have to try more of the food carts though). There is a place opening this fall at 164 West Hastings that might be worth the candle -- Los Tacos Cafe a couple blocks east of original La Taq. Maybe too fast foody though? Their fb page has one picture of flautas but also pix of croissants and sliced apples (!).

        1. I would avoid Ursu. It's like foodcourt Korean meets Taco Time.

          1. Thanks All! I guess I should add that I've been doing this on my lunch break so Don Guacamole is too far away. Los Tacos Cafes is definately on my radar.

            The other comment I should add was I was a little disappointed in how the Tongue and Cheek were prepared. I like my Tongue and Cheek grilled, with just salt & pepper, so it retains that "snappy" texture and IMHO it might make a good taco filling. Nothing against the braised method and it was tasty, just personal preference.

            Grayelf what are the criteria you are using to judge Tacos?

            I've never been to Mexico, so I'm just going by the following rules of thumb:
            -Everything must be fresh in particular the cilantro, white onion & taco shell
            -Taco shell must not just be a vessel for the filling, it has to have a nice texture and its flavour adds to the overall flavour
            -Fillings must taste like what they are suppose, ie For Grilled Beef, it must taste like the beef has been grilled
            -Flavours combination are pleasant and tasty

            Don Guacamole Restaurant
            1333 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6E, CA

            4 Replies
            1. re: moyenchow

              The lengua at La Taqueria I find "too braised" and actually quite bland. I'd prefer a more seasoned grilled version ..... yes it wouldn't be as tender but I'd risk that for a more tangible, "snappy" texture, as you said :-)

              1. re: LotusRapper

                I guess in my food world I envisioned a grilled beef tongue/cheek from Zakkushi with onion filling in a nice soft corn taco shell; with cilantro and little chunks of orange.

                Although this is definately in fusion territory and not sure how it would work out as I thought I would like the Korean tacos but did not.

              2. re: moyenchow

                What you said, moyen, plus the tortillas can't be leathery due to over reheating. But my biggest whinge is the tendency to "stew" all the meats here. I prefer a much drier meat, especially in al pastor, which should be cut straight off the hunk of rotating animal, like for a donair. Plus I've yet to find a really outstanding selection of salsas, or even one really great one. I'm hard to please for sure.

                1. re: grayelf

                  Al Pastor here usually comes from a roasting oven instead of a shwarma spit (a gift to Mexico from migrant Lebanese). The carnitas here is more like pulled pork rather than the fried pork lard-y confit goodness you'll see points south. (La Taqueria seems to be the only one I have tried here that use the requisite amount of fat).