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Apr 3, 2012 09:15 PM

Good Tacs in STL?

I will be visiting next week. I love good, close to authentic tacos. Where can I find them?

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  1. Try one of the establishments on Cherokee Street, like La Vallesana. Lunch, not dinner.

    1. My response is ONLY about Taco Al Pastor.

      La Tejana is a dive joint on Lindbergh. Excellent place. If you arre flying in, it is actually very near the airport.

      Also Pueblo Nuevo for the Tacos Al Pastor. The other stuff is good but the TAP is aweome.

      Also, that is OFF THE MENU at PN.

      3 Replies
      1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

        I can vouch for La Tejana. cross street is something like White Oaks Manor and there's a stoplight (Lindbergh is a divided quasi highway). there are actually 2 Tejanas in that strip mall, the one to the left is a market, the one to the right is the taqueria. I tried one each of the Carnitas the al Pastor and the Carne Asada. all were good and I can't swear to which was better. I was with my Aunt who thinks Mexican is Taco Bell and she had nothing good to say about her enchilada platter. (why do I bother? you don't go to a taqueria for that and honestly it didn't look appealing)

        friends absolutely RAVE about La Vallesana that Alan cited, not only for the tacos but also the tortas. they also have great things to say about several others on that stretch of Cherokee (names escape me) sadly I have yet to go to any of them (bucket list) although I was treated to a t/o veggie burrito from one of them and it was one of the best I've had since I left CA.

        the critic for the RFT FOTD mentioned knows his Mexican - a good source for obscure tips.

        1. re: hill food

          Which is why you need to do BOTH Hillfood!

          Actually, they are owned by the same people and they are really great folks IMO.

          Usually MWilliams, they do an outdoor pork thing on Sundays it it is nice out on the right side as HF noted. Right now it is really nice. I would try both.

          Also Hillfood, their Chorizo is something fantastic from the market on the right. They gave me a freebie link to take home and grill when I told the Mrs. I was grilling that weekend.

          Really really great and I would not even normally like a Chorizo like that . Trust me.

          1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

            FOTD well I WANT to, but you try to get friends to go to NoCo and then to South City and back to wherever we started. I WANT to I really do. (anyone reading will figure it out which door is which if they go there - and they are nice folks at either Tejana and happily re-direct one)

      2. Alan, FOTD, Hillfood - You guys have me super excited! I will try to have both places and report back. I am from Chicago, have family in CA & TX, and travel to Mexico like, every 2-3 years. I KNOW tacos LOL

        8 Replies
        1. re: mwilliams0408

          that is something interesting about STL. in the 80's VN started sprouting up and is well represented and in the late 90's and early 00's Mexican started really getting a foothold. (yeesh before then the best was Casa Gallardo)

          but somehow STL attracted some damn good cooks and entrepreneurs over the decades.

          now we need some kick-ass Salvadoreno and Filipino not served out of a truck (don't get me wrong, I have no problem with the truck, just sometimes...

          hey we need to get them all to circle the wagons like they do in Honolulu for casual "eat the street: nights. fwd that to Slay.

          1. re: hill food

            Years ago there used to be a place in St. Charles(Peters) on ironically Mexico Rd, La Tapatia that had Tacos al Pastor. When they closed all there you could find was the El______ restaurants that all had the same menus, like El Maguey.. It was like the twilight zone. It is great to have all the choices now.

            I like La Tejana too. They have put new flooring and now have menus, as of a couple of weeks ago. I love the al pastor(it does have chunks of pineapple) and carnitas. The quesadilla with carnitas(and jalapeno peppers) is great especially if well done.

            1. re: wekick

              This thread sent me to LaVillasana last night for dinner. I've always wanted to go, but never really found the right time. I've got to tell you, chips, guacamole, and a bunch of tacos on the patio were just the thing for a cool night...the stroll down Cherokee to Diana's bakery for a couple of cheese-filled and sugar-sprinkled pastry things afterward didn't hurt, either. We tried the chicken, beef cheek, asadaro, and al pastor tacos. The chicken was awfully good, though the al pastor really was the standout. I didn't really take to the beef cheek, for the same reasons that I'm not a big fan of fillet mignon...I think you sacrifice a bit much flavor for the tender texture. I'm longing to try the chorizo, but we didn't want to push the spicy too far when trying to get the kids to broaden their horizons. Best guacamole I think I've ever had, I could have eaten a gallon of it, and the staff really are very helpful and nice. I was concerned that my kids wouldn't take to a taco that wasn't packed with shredded cheese, but they were stuffing in those little chicken tacos as fast as they could. Thank you guys, for reminding me to try this place. Great patio, too. As a long-time south sider, I remember Cherokee Street in it's heyday, a-bustle with shops, and I was there for the long, slow slide into empty cruddiness, too. Good to see Cherokee come alive again.

              1. re: tonifi

                I am getting more and more excited to try this joint everyday! I will report back on it after next week. Thanks soo much for your review!

                1. re: mwilliams0408

                  Um...carne ASADA...can you tell I had a beer last night? (Really, one beer. I'm pathetic).
                  The tacos are tiny, two tortillas and a little pile of meat/onions/cilantro. Order a bunch (I think they're two dollars each) and really, don't miss the guacamole. I have a friend opening a bar just down the street, and I'm already thinking that a plate of tacos and a walk down the street to Matty's bar for a beer or two would make for a nice evening...look for more misspellings in future.

                  1. re: tonifi

                    All this talk has inspired me to head to Cherokee today for some Mexican food. I have been there before, but it's been a while, and I am looking forward to seeing what Cherokee is looking like these days.

                    1. re: ddfry3

                      dd - I almost didn't recognize Cherokee last December (but then my most vivid memories are from the 80's going to punk shows at the old Casa Loma ballroom at the night and scouring junk stores at day). it's slowly but really coming along. it sort of has the feel The Loop or So. Grand did back around then.

                      1. re: hill food

                        Wow, fabulous quesadilla, and tacos al pastor and with carne asada. I really like their flavored fruit drinks too, and great salsas. Only bone was that it wasn't super crowded inside and it took at least 10 minutes, maybe more like 15, before anyone came by to help me. The guy who finally did was great. Don't miss the guac. The inside is really quite nice, and a great patio. The area had tons of foot traffic, and parking enforcement plying their trade. It looks about as I remember it, still a little rough and ready for sure. Not sure I'd want to hang out late at night, nor park too far off Cherokee in that part of Benton Park. The part around Niche is lovely. I need to spend an afternoon exploring the antique shops, I like the vibe of Cherokee on the other side of Jefferson quite a bit more. But, best Mexican I've had since eating in the Pilsen neighborhood in Chicago, or maybe Rick Bayless' Frontera Grill. I drove by Casa Loma...looks like quite a place.